We’ve always thought that American politics was essentially about a two-party system; Republicans and Democrats. The others, which ones they were, had been relegated to such obscurity that no one noticed, their supporters were few and their presence was a disruption to the Democratic system.
There have always been numerous Parties on the political landscape. Prior to their being outlawed in the U.S., the Communist Party had a presence and a forum, much the same as the American Nazi Party was an acknowledged political party prior to World War 2.
More than that – one of the things about a Free and Open Press was the concept of Equal Time, which had been around since 1934 when the Federal Communications Commission mandated that Radio (and later TV) stations give equal time to “representatives of opposing viewpoints” in order to express views other than the acknowledged ones. In this case, the points of view of the Republican and Democratic Party candidates.
This address by Eric Hass, Socialist Labor Party Candidate for President in 1956 was given on November 3, 1956, just before the election. Hass was the Socialist Labor Party candidate in 1952, 1956, 1960 and finally in 1964.
There has been a lot of confusion between The Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time – The Fairness Doctrine was established in 1949 as giving equal time for representatives of opposing viewpoints, usually over a controversial subject. Equal Time is used for political candidates from parties, such as The Socialist Labor Party, to give their views. Equal Time is still around (more or less) – while The Fairness Doctrine was eliminated in 1987 as part of the de-regulation process taking place since the Nixon Administration in the early 1970s.
If you’ve never heard Eric Hass before, and were wondering what other political parties were doing – here’s one example.
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