LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Parties maintain political stranglehold

As a Libertarian, I was intrigued to read the article “Va. GOP finds hope in polling for Goode” (Web, Sept. 23). The most entertaining part was the quote from Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Virginia Democrat, who said: “I think it’s part and parcel of a shameful philosophy that has somehow taken over the party of Lincoln. What’s the harm in letting people [get] on the ballot?”

But Mr. Connolly’s own Democratic Party did the same thing to Ralph Nader in 2004. Democrats used a peculiarity in Pennsylvania election law to force the invalidation of Mr. Nader’s petitions and to get a court to require him to pay the Democratic Party’s attorneys almost $100,000 in legal fees just for the “crime” of attempting to defend his petitions. Mr. Connolly’s party warred also against the Greens nationwide in 2004 and 2008.

What the Democrats did to Mr. Nader in Pennsylvania inspired Republican Party attorneys in Virginia. They challenged (unsuccessfully) the 2012 petitions for Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode and called for the adoption in Virginia of the mafialike challenge system.

The corruption goes all the way to the top: Barack Obama’s first election to public office was the result of using claims of technical defects in the petitions of his opponents. Democrats wrote the nation’s first Soviet-style ballot-access restrictions, all intended to eliminate competition. Now the Republicans attempt to slam the door on alternative candidates.

Both Democrats and Republicans have resorted to mafia tactics to maintain their political strangleholds on the electorate. It’s a pity, too, because all they’re really accomplishing is turning the United States into a large banana republic.

MARC MONTONI

Harrisonburg, Va.

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