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The Reform Party Goes High-Tech

Reform Party logo
This summer, the national political parties in the United States will hold their conventions, and one of them plans to conduct its voting from a distance. Ross Perot's Reform Party is putting together an unusual three-stage convention that will consist of:

  1. A day of nominating speeches in Long Beach, California, on August 11;
  2. A week in which party members will submit their votes for the Reform Party's presidential nominee by computer linkups, telephone, or the U.S. mail;
  3. The announcement of the party's choice in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, on August 18.

All of this is a radical departure from the way the Democratic and Republican parties conduct their quadrennial business. Instead of gathering a few thousand delegates together in one place, the Reform Party will collect votes from its 1.3 million voters, all of whom could probably never be assembled in the same place at the same time. One member, one vote is the principle -- there will be no delegates chosen in party caucuses or smoke-filled rooms; every certified Reform Party member will have his or her say in the balloting.

The televised events in California and Pennsylvania --one on each coast -- will symbolize the nationwide appeal the Reform Party expects to have, and the announcement of the chosen candidate will take place in a historically important location. Valley Forge was the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army under the leadership of General George Washington.

Is this the year for a third-party win?

No third-party candidate has ever won the U.S. presidency, but is this the year that will break that long tradition? Consider the following:

But who will be the candidate?

Ross Perot
That is the question. Will it be Mr. Perot, a man of great ambition but also a man who showed himself to be irritable and ambivalent four years ago when confronting a tough press corps? Will it be former Colorado governor Richard Lamm, who has let it be known he wouldn't mind being the Reform Party's candidate but lacks the national voter familiarity Perot enjoys? Will it be Senator Paul Simon, Perot's new co-author? General Colin Powell? Patrick Buchanan?

Stay Tuned

Magellan Logo
Let the McKinley Internet Yellow Pages and the McKinley Magellan Internet Guide help you find up-to-the-minute information about the 1996 preidential campaign. These guides will point you to great Web resources, such as the 4-star online edition of the nonpartisan political magazine George.

Posted July, 1996.
© Copyright 1996 OBS