ORLANDO — Fresh from a 61,000-vote showing in last week’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Florida, the colorful “Rocky” Roque De La Fuente has turned his attention to his fledgling third-party bid for the White House — a contest in which the determined political outsider hopes to find himself on the ballot in as many as twenty-five states in November.
“I understand that the odds of me winning the presidency are remote,” said the wealthy real estate developer in eagerly resuming his presidential candidacy late last week. “However,” he quickly added, “there is a crisis in our country that will continue to go unaddressed if someone doesn’t stand up and say something about it.”
De La Fuente’s words sort of reminds one of the late Eugene McCarthy, the low-key and modest poet-politician from Minnesota who famously risked his political career by courageously standing up alone in 1968 — and something remarkable happened.
Unlike the tragic war in Vietnam, which needlessly and unforgivably wiped out a vital part of an entire generation of young working-class and poor Americans, the current crisis, maintains the ubiquitous Rocky — a kind of minor-party version of Donald Trump, but in an endearing and very positive way — involves the integrity of the country’s entire electoral process.
We’ve reached a point, explained De La Fuente, where the American people don’t have “a legitimate choice” when it comes to candidates, and where there is no guarantee that one’s vote will even be counted, or at least counted accurately.
Despite being virtually ignored by the mainstream media, the 61-year-old businessman, who tirelessly competed against Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in more than 40 Democratic caucuses and primaries earlier this year, insists that his third-party candidacy isn’t about himself.
“It’s not about me,” said the amiable and deep-pocketed Reform Party candidate in a September 3rd press release. “It’s about the American people. The parties have stripped away the power of their vote, and I’m not going to let that continue without a fight.”
Those issues, he continued, are the same ones that he confronted during his uphill battle for the Democratic presidential nomination when he was arbitrarily denied access to the primary ballot in several states, including populous Florida. Like Sen. Bernie Sanders and many of the Vermont lawmaker’s supporters, De La Fuente was highly critical of the Debbie Wasserman Schultz-led Democratic National Committee during the primaries, accusing the party’s leadership of manipulating — or rigging — the nominating process.
While Bernie deeply disappointed many of his most ardent followers by throwing his support to the highly unpopular Democratic nominee, a warmongering creature of Wall Street whose husband saddled the country with NAFTA, virtually destroying America’s middle class, it’s more than a little refreshing that there’s at least one candidate out there still fighting for the country’s better self. After all, this is supposed to be a democracy where every vote counts and where playing by the rules should matter.
As the WikiLeaks dump of nearly 20,000 DNC emails earlier this summer revealed, Rocky was proven correct.
The entire electoral system is undeniably rigged.
The contrived nature of the system is even more abundantly clear when it comes to the discriminatory burdens placed on the nation’s minor parties and independent candidates, whether the issue is unfair ballot access laws or the arbitrary and exclusionary 15 percent polling threshold imposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) on the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Greens — or any other third-party presidential candidate, for that matter — to appear in the nationally-televised debates this autumn.
“We’re at a point where we need to restore democracy,” said the soft-spoken yet determined Reform Party candidate who, unlike most of this year’s third-party aspirants, is looking neither left or right, but forward in the tradition of John F. Kennedy’s presidency — one of the most prosperous periods in American history.
In addition to appearing on the ballot as the Reform Party’s nominee in his recently-adopted state of Florida, De La Fuente’s name will also appear on the ballot in several states as the nominee of his own recently-created American Delta Party and in some states as an independent. He is also expected to wage write-in campaigns in approximately a dozen other states where his name won’t be on the ballot in November.