tender currency has been funded into gold-bearingrnbonds, thereby adding milHons to the burden of the people.rnSilver, which has been accepted as coin since therndawn of history, has been demonetized to add to the purchasingrnpower of gold by decreasing the value of all formsrnof property as well as human labor, and the supply of currencyrnis purposely abridged to fatten usurers, bankruptrnenterprise and enslave industry.rnBv 1896, the Democratic platform read:rnRecognizing that the money question is paramount to allrnothers at this time . . . demonetizing silver without thernknowledge or approval of the American people has residtedrnin the appreciation of gold and a corresponding fall inrnthe prices of commodities produced by the people; arnheavy increase in the burdens of taxation and of all debts,rnpublic and private; the enrichment of the money-lendingrnclass at home and abroad; the prostration of industry andrnimpoverishment of the people.rnEugene V. Debs stood four times for president as a Socialist;rnhe peaked in 1912 with six percent of the popular vote. Yet sornmuch of the 1912 Socialist Party platform was later adopted byrnthe Democrats that, by the time of FDR’s election in 1932,rnsome socialists declared victor)’. The 1912 platform called for arnban on child labor, a minimum wage, worker’s compensation,rnand a government pension system for the elderly. Altliough thernDemocratic Party was silent on those issues in 1912, it laterrnadopted each Socialist plank. The Socialist vote frightened tiiernDemocrats: hi 1916, Woodrow Wilson was reelected in a narrowrnrace made even closer by Socialist Allen L. Benson, whornachieved a balance of power with three percent of the vote.rnThe Socialists of the early 20th century succeeded on arnscale much greater than the Libertarians who emerged inrnthe century’s last quarter. The Libertarians have never attainedrnmore tiian one percent of the vote because they do not practicernserious politics. Today’s Greens and Reformers are at least tr’-rning. Their greatest long-term impact will most likely come afterrnNovember, if the major party that loses the race for the WdiiternHouse co-opts their issues. Until Nader entered the race, thisrnwas unlikely: George Bush or Al Gore could have won withoutrnBuchanan achieving a balance of power. Co-optation is farrnmore likely after a four-way race. If Bush wins, the Democratsrnwill feel pressure to adopt Green issues. Should Gore win, thernRepublicans will face similar pressure to co-opt Buchanan’s Reformrnmessage. By contrast, the Libertarian Party would neverrnengage in such realpolitik.rnSince Perot received one in five votes cast in the 1992 election,rnboth major parties have co-opted Reform’s message of balancedrnbudgets and campaign-finance reform. Mainstream-mediarnliberals and Beltway conservatives agree publicly on onernpoint: Perot is a (take your pick) “kook,” “nut,” or “wacko.”rnLlowever, these analysts are sleepwalking when they allow theirrnpersonal hostilit)’ toward a successful businessman (as with thernliberals) or their desire for cushy, well-paying jobs in a Republicanrnadministration (as with the conservatives) to cloud theirrnjudgment. Establishment conservatives, desperate for federalrnpositions after eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration,rnare withholding criticism of George W. Bush’s pork-barrelrnspending proposals. Many are holdovers from the first Reaganrnadministration, eager to work again for the federal government.rn”They eame to Washington to clean up the cesspool,” a wellknownrnconservative wag once observed, “but decided afterrnspending some time that it resembled more a hot tub.” Thesernconservatives have been the most vociferous critics of Perot andrnBuchanan.rnThe professional strategists who actually win elections knowrn0 ur millionaire culture is onernofthe greatest sales jobs inrnAmerican history.rnotherwise: Think of Perot every time Bill Clinton talks aboutrn”budget surpluses” or Sen. John McCain pushes “campaign-financernreform.” “Po some degree, Perot can claim victor)’: Bothrnmajor parties have co-opted Reform issues, and no other nonpoliticianrnin U.S. history who sought the presidency on a thirdpart)’rnticket received such a high percentage ofthe vote. (Whig-rnAmerican candidate Millard Fillmore in 1856 and Bull MoosernProgressive Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 achieved higher percentages,rnbut both had previously occupied the White House.)rnBuchanan’s legacy is also assured, whatever the outcome inrnNovember. Buchanan will be remembered for the damage herninflicted on President George Bush in the 1992 Republican primaries.rn(Sen. Eugene McCarthy did similar damage to LyndonrnJohnson in 1968, forcing him to withdraw from the race.)rnNor are the most important issues raised b)’ Buchanan and Naderrn—American interventionism, trade, and immigration — goingrnto disappear. Millions of Americans living outside the Beltwayrnare affected by these issues, and they are not goingrnaway—despite being ignored bv the sleepwalkers.rnBut Buchanan and Nader are operating at a severe disadvantage.rnNeither has held elective public office. The most successfulrntitird-part)’ candidates (except for Perot) held office beforernor during their candidacies: Martin Van Buren (1848),rnFillmore (1856), John C. Breckinridge and John Bell (1860),rnRoo,scvelt (1912), Robert La Follette (1924), and Wallacern(1968). No other third-parh’ candidate since 1824 has achievedrna double-digit percentage ofthe vote. Henn- Clay and WilliamrnCrawford reached double digits in 1824, but like the winner,rnJohn Quincy Adams, and the runner-up, Andrew Jackson, theyrnwere regional candidates of the now-defunet Democratic-RepublicanrnPartv’. Breckinridge was nominated by the SouthernrnDemocrats, who demanded that the Democratic Party includerna plank stating that sla’er)’ would be protected not only in thernSouth but in the U.S. territories. Breckinridge was Vice Presidentrnat the time, and he receied 18 percent ofthe vote. Bellrnwas nominated by the Constitutional Union Parh’, created inrn1859 b’ factions ofthe Whig and American (Know-Nothing)rnparties. A former U.S. senator from Tennessee who had alsornser’ed as speaker of tiic house. Bell received 12.6 percent on arnplatform tiiat emphasized preseration ofthe Union. Van Buren,rna former U.S. president, was picked by the anti-slavery FreernSoil Part)’, and received ten percent. I’he 1948 election isrnsometimes cited by pundits as an example of third-part)’ influence.rnBut States’ Rights (Dixiecrat) nominee Strom Thurmondrnreccicd only 2.4 percent, and Progressive Henry Wal-rnNOVEMBER 2000/19rnrnrn