Third Party & Independents Archives

Exclusive Interview with Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate in Connecticut Cliff Thornton: Part Two

The following is the second part in a interview with Green Party Gubernatorial candidate Cliff Thornton.

Rhodes: If elected what will you do to implement fair election laws in Connecticut? Specifically, will you push for instant runoff voting?

Thornton: Well what I would do is that in the long run, I would allow for the same things that the Democrats and Republicans get to have right now for all parties that are looking to get on the ballot, period. That plain and simple, that is it right there. It has to be a level playing field, if it is not a level playing field you’re not going to get some of the best people to come forth. Understand that many of the issues that we are now dealing with today, third party candidates are the ones putting those issues forward.

Rhodes: At the beginning of your response you said that you would allow for the same opportunities, the same things that the Democrats and Republicans get to be available to all candidates, third party candidates. We have talked about a lot so far, and a lot of people aren’t really knowledgeable as far as government and politics are concerned. Could you explain in detail what those things are?

Thornton: Well some of the things are like for instance third party candidates they have to go and collect a certain number of signatures. It depends on what office your running for if your running for local office the criteria is different you may or may not have to garner signatures. But if your running for state office than more than likely if your with a third party your going to have to go out and garner a certain number of signatures.

For example if your running in a state representative race in some districts you may have to get thirty nine hundred signatures, if your running for a Senators position you may have to get hundreds of thousands, and it differs from state to state.

So what I say to people who are going to run for office is know what the laws are. This is another thing that goes back to the other question, those types of limitations or expectations in running for these offices they need to be removed. Let’s be realistic, the parties that are in place have these laws put in place for a reason. This is a complicated issue and even I don’t know everything about it, the thing that I do know is it is unfair and we need to change these laws so that everybody has a shot at getting elected to office.

Rhodes: Could you discuss the issues which especially affect third party candidates in getting on the ballot and running for office, through your own personal experiences?

Thornton: Running on a third party ticket is like being black in this country. So I am used to being shunned because of my racial background for various reasons. First of all they don’t want us (third party candidates) to get into the debates. Because they feel that if we get into the debates than what is probably going to happen would be that they will be forced to talk about the issues.

Secondly they don’t want us to have access to the funds, they make you go out and get something like 7500 signatures just to get on the ballot, and in order to get funds for commercials or something like that the Democrats and Republicans made it where you have to get something like 265,000 votes in this election. So when you start to look at that, that is like in many respects from my perspective is like being black.

Because throughout my life, throughout the history of this country what the authorities have done is that they have created the problem and than have turned around and blamed the victims of the problem. When you look at segregation that is the same thing that happened.

When you look at the war on drugs more people think that it is a black problem as opposed to a white problem. But just looking at Connecticut alone, Connecticut has 3.5 million people, they have something like 22,000 people in prison, and seventy percent of them are either Black or Latino, with almost seventy percent of them being there for drug related charges.

This is the kicker, they are not recognizing the crisis in white America where eighty percent of the people who die from illegal drugs in this country are white. So those are some of the things that we are facing, again it’s this same old thing with the mushroom theory people are kept in the dark and fed you know what. I am trying to enlighten them.

The biggest test for me in running for governor is not that we win or lose, the biggest test for me and the Green Party is how many leaders we can produce in this process of me running for governor so if I don’t produce the leaders that I think is necessary to move this issue forward than I failed in my task, even if I win.

Rhodes: The 1998 drug provision to the Higher Education Act denies federal financial aid to people convicted of state or federal drug offenses. Moreover this is the one area of the drug war that gets no media coverage, virtually no media coverage and virtually no one even knows that this provision exists outside of students and people that work in academia. No such provision exists to deny financial aid to rapists or murderers. Since 2000, more than 180,000 students have been denied federal financial aid due to this provision, and of course this statistic does not count those who merely did not apply for financial aid due to the provision. What do you think about this drug provision?

Thornton: Well I think it should be immediately repealed, but understand that this provision only hurts the poor. Those with the wherewithal they could care less about a drug conviction on their record. So I would work to repeal this, I work closely with Students for Sensible Drug Policy,, who work on this issue and are trying to get this particular law removed from all states and the federal government.

This is a farce, this is another thing that the federal government has done to exaggerate the issue of the drug war. Understand that the governments that have been in place, or the administrations that have been in place, have tried for decades to stomp down Americans and this is one good way to do it. This No Child Left Behind is the same thing; it is just a bunch of bullshit.

And see the American people have got to wake up, what has happened in this country is that we are being treated just like mushrooms kept in the dark and you know what they feed mushrooms. So this has got to stop, and we need people like myself, like the people in the Green Party, to come forth and talk about these issues in earnest.

I am willing to bet you are not going to find any of the candidates, for the two major parties, that are running for office that are actually talking about the real issues. They are going to keep your attention on the war, and don’t get me wrong this is an issue because this thing could blow up to end everything, but what we have to do is to take back the government.

It is easy to see when you look at the last eight presidential elections you see that from forty one percent to fifty two percent of the registered voters voted. This is to say nothing about the tens of millions of people in this country who have dropped out altogether. That sends a strong message to the politicians that says we can do anything we want to because the people don’t care they are not voting. So we have to understand that we didn’t stop the drug war therefore it led to the Patriot Act, and we didn’t stop the Patriot Act and now they are just doing whatever the hell they want. And I am sick and tired of being sick and tired at how many times this has happened.

Rhodes: So, let’s pretend I am a voter in Connecticut okay; explain to me why I should cast my vote for Cliff Thornton?

Thornton: Well first of all you have to understand Mr. Voter that all your life in Connecticut you have been promised a better life for you and your children, and that your children will get a better education, which you haven’t gotten. You have been promised that you would be ridded of the crime and violence associated with the drug problem, you haven’t received it.

All along you have been told that the government would not take your property, but now they are through eminent domain. And eminent domain is fine, that is the process where the government takes your property for public use such as highways, which we have got to stop with the highways, but that’s okay in certain instances, and secondly for public buildings such as a hospital or a school.

But now they use eminent domain through Governor Jodi Rell, she is taking property away from people and turning it over to business ventures, this is not going to work we cannot keep doing this. This is why you should look at me in voting, because you are at risk and what I want to do is to stop you from being at risk. By putting forth the issues and looking to get legislation in and around the things that you deem important. Just ask yourself this, are you better off now than you were six years ago?

Cliff Thornton's Official Campaign Website:

Green Party of Connecticut:

Green Party of the United States:

Posted by Richard Rhodes at August 20, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #176728
All along you have been told that the government would not take your property, but now they are through eminent domain.
Abuse of eminent domain is getting out of control … especially since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of this form of legal plunder. ( click on image ).

Also, speaking of legal plunder, I just heard Bush say in a News Conference (21-Aug-2006) that counterfeiting is a serious problem. That’s interesting, since the government and Federal Reserve are the biggest counterfeiters on the planet (printing hundreds of billions of new money each year). And, with massive, simultaneous borrowing, we can expect more massive printing of money to simply be able to pay the interest alone (over $1 billion per day!) on the debt.

Funny thing about Connecticut, that’s the state George W. Bush was born in New Haven, CT (6-Jul-1946), and he didn’t even carry that state in the last election.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 21, 2006 10:57 AM
Comment #176959

You need to check out my website and you will know why we need a third party.

Posted by: Fred at August 22, 2006 9:31 AM
Comment #176964

“But now they use eminent domain through Governor Jodi Rell, she is taking property away from people and turning it over to business ventures”

Correct me if i am wrong, but this was the City of New London taking property, not the Governor’s Office…

Posted by: Greg at August 22, 2006 10:07 AM
Comment #176987


You’re right. For most, it is getting harder to get by. It is official now. The ranks of the poor are growing, and the middle-class is shrinking, partly due to:

  • energy vulnerabilities (rising fuel and electricity bills)

  • rising inflation (and it will get worse, due to massive debt and non-stop printing presses that need more money to just barely keep up with the $1 billion per day of interest alone on the $8.5 trillion National Debt; which does not even include the $12.8 trillion of Social Security debt, $450 billion of PBGC debt, and hundreds of billions of unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Medicaid)

  • falling median incomes for 6 consecutive years

  • rising cost of healthcare

  • rising cost of education, declining quality

  • outsourcing and global pillage; increasing foreign competition

  • astronomical federal debt ($22 trillion); total fiscal and moral bankruptcy

  • non-stop money printing presses (M3 Money Supply increased $721 billion in 2005)

  • massive government borrowing and spending

  • unfunded Social Security liabilities ($12.8 trillion in debt)

  • unfunded Medicare and Medicaid liabilities

  • growing trade deficits

  • rising interest rates

  • illegal aliens costing U.S. citizens net losses of an estimated $70 billlion per year

  • growing ranks of the impoverished

  • the 1% with 40% of all wealth in the U.S. growing wealthier

  • foreclosures rising (nationwide) for the last 13 consecutive months

  • skyrocketing property taxes

  • abuse of eminent domain laws (legal plunder)

  • worsening conditions in Iraq and the middle east;

  • Government is FOR SALE; politicians are bought-and-paid-for; 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more) came from a mere 0.1% of the U.S. population;

  • … etc., etc., etc., …

It is doubtful that a third party can fix that.

Besides, there is a much easier way, that is far easier than building another party.

Of course, it is easier said than done.

Unfortunately, a lot more sheople are going to have to feel the same pain and misery that you are now experiencing, before they finally decide to do the one simple, logical, non-partisan, responsible thing they were supposed to be doing all along, always:

Posted by: d.a.n at August 22, 2006 2:46 PM
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