Residents of Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Moscow, Idaho, will be on the electoral cutting edge on Nov. 7, when they get the chance to vote for president a year early.
The CityVote presidential preference primary features a wide array of choices. Some, like Ross Perot and Bill Bradley, aren’t official candidates. One, California Gov. Pete Wilson, is already out of the race.
For Colin Powell, who may or may not be an official candidate by then, CityVote is an inaugural ballot test.
CityVote was designed to give urban areas an early voice in the presidential process. The idea sounds good in theory but experienced limited success in execution.
Some cities dropped out of the primary. Most major candidates have ignored the straw poll in favor of more traditional campaign stops in New Hampshire and Iowa. Two of three candidate forums were canceled. Spokane’s forum went on as scheduled, but drew five lesser-known would-be presidents in person and a sixth, Jesse Jackson, by phone.
The straw poll will happen as planned. Election night totals from the 18 participating cities may be hailed by the top vote-getters as a sign their campaigns are in touch with city residents. They may also be dismissed by losers as irrelevant.
Time will tell whether CityVote becomes a regular part of the quadrennial presidential chase or a one-time fling. But for voters in the three Inland Northwest cities, their presidential choices may never be greater.
The former Tennessee governor and U.S. education secretary wants to reduce and simplify the tax system, and supports a cut in the capital gains tax. Would expand foreign trade, supports both NAFTA and GATT, and would push for further agreements.
He would not allow U.S. troops to be used in missions that are not controlled by U.S. commanders, and would usually limit them to airlift, sealift and logistical support. Would only send “peacekeepers” to an area with a working cease fire, and would not send troops to any place without “a clear national interest.”
A former columnist and one-time speech writer for President Nixon, Buchanan focuses on such populist themes as immigration, foreign trade and “family values.”
He opposes NAFTA and GATT and the loan guarantees to Mexico, which he calls “the looting of America, on behalf of the New World Order.” Would cut all foreign aid before reducing Social Security payments to senior citizens. Would use the National Guard to patrol the border with Mexico for illegal immigrants. Would require Supreme Court judges to be reconfirmed every eight years, and impose eight year term limits on other federal judges. Would reverse Roe vs. Wade abortion decision and Clinton’s policy on gays in the military.
In our neck of the woods…Collins was one of two Republicans to attend Spokane’s CityVote forum)
A rancher and developer, Collins wants to abolish the income tax and the Internal Revenue Service. When people get to keep the tax money they are now paying the government, their spending would boost the economy so much it would provide jobs for many unemployed people, he says.
He would consolidate most federal government agencies into the Department of Interior, and turn all welfare spending over to the counties in block grants, to save money on administration. He would abolish the Education Department, but would have the federal government send books to schools that would help them teach phonics, mathematics and English.
The Senate majority leader and GOP front-runner stresses his experience in government after 36 years in Congress. He emphasizes a reduction of the bureaucracy, and would abolish the Education, Energy, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development departments.
He would sharply restrict welfare and affirmative action, and proposes replacing federal housing projects with a voucher system that allows the poor to seek housing in the marketplace. He supported GATT and NAFTA as ways to expand foreign trade and boost the U.S. economy. Some conservative opponents criticize his stand to allow abortion in cases of rape and incest, but he lists himself as “pro-life.” To opponents’ charges that he has compromised too many times while in Congress, Dole replies that he best understands the need to find common ground to run the country.
In the House… Dornan was once reprimanded by the House for saying Bill Clinton gave aid and comfort to the enemy)
A member of the House of Representatives from Orange County, Calif., Dornan marched with Martin Luther King Jr., and hosted a radio talk show. He worries “the American dream is disappearing,” denounces moral decay in the nation and says the federal debt is a moral issue.
Dornan supports eliminating the income tax in stages, by first imposing a flat tax and eliminating the IRS, and switching eventually to a consumption tax. To fight drug crimes, he supports “weed and seed” programs that concentrate on drug dealers while expanding job opportunities to their potential clients.
A member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Fletcher is a moderate in a mostly conservative field. He stresses education as a way to solve many of the nation’s pressing economic problems and ensure that workers can make the transition into new fields.
Rather than cutting taxes to give American workers a short-term economic boost, Fletcher proposes investing more in teaching workers new skills. He would assemble “the finest minds in the world” to help clean up the nation’s nuclear messes, and shift the war on drugs to the major drug suppliers.
Forbes is the publisher of the magazine that carries his family name. He is a strong supporter of congressional term limits and has criticized Dole for the Senate’s failure to vote on a constitutional amendment to require them.
He would replace the federal income tax with a 17 percent flat tax, and is a strong proponent of supply-side economics. A late entrant into a crowded field, Forbes has said he would spend up to $25 million of his own money on the campaign.
A two-term senator and former college professor, Gramm has promised to cut government enough to balance the federal budget in his first term as president. He opposes increased payments to welfare recipients who have additional children while on government aid.
A social conservative as well as a fiscal conservative, Gramm opposes abortion in all cases, would overturn Clinton’s policy on gays in the military and supports voluntary school prayer. He was one of the leading critics of Clinton’s health care reform proposal that was defeated last year in Congress.
A radio talk show host turned candidate, Keyes says the nation is facing a moral crisis because the government destroys families. He would abolish government welfare programs and turn such duties over to local churches and charities.
He would allow parents to use tax funds for private schools and get the federal government out of education. He would increase defense spending, but opposes the use of U.S. troops as U.N. peacekeepers. He strongly opposes GATT and the World Trade Organization that oversees the trade agreement.
A 20-year veteran of the Senate who now serves as chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Lugar says he would review every government program as he tried to cut spending and balance the budget. He would cut farm subsidies and let the market dictate what farmers plant.
He would abolish the income, capital gains, gift and inheritance taxes, replacing them with a national sales tax. That change will trigger an economic boom and increase employment, Lugar says, because it will lower the cost of American goods for export and attract new investment. Would balance the budget by 2002, begin paying down the national debt in 2003. He opposes abortion, stresses a return to “faith, family, honesty and integrity.”
The former federal prosecutor who heads a Judiciary Committee panel on terrorism is one of the few Republicans classifying himself as “pro-choice.” He talks about championing tolerance and getting government out of bedrooms as well as pocketbooks.
He supports a flat tax with deductions for mortgages and charitable contributions, and exempts interest, dividends or capital gains. He would leave health care reform to the marketplace. He would ban plea bargains with violent criminals and offer job training and education for first-time juvenile offenders. Accuses some social conservatives of waging a “holy war” over abortion and mandatory school prayer.
The governor of California, Wilson dropped out of the race in October. That happened too late for his name to be withdrawn from the CityVote ballot. He recently threw his support behind Bob Dole, and will be his California campaign chairman.
THE BALLOT’S SECOND PAGE…
In Spokane, the following names will be on a separate page of the ballot. Voters should remember, however, they can only select one candidate.
As he tries to become the first re-elected Democratic president in a half-century, Clinton is stressing a record that sounds very different than the one his opponents describe. He talks of deficit reductions in his first two years without emphasizing they were accomplished in part by tax increases. He says the federal budget can be balanced, although he has changed his mind on how many years that might take.
With a Democratic Congress in his first two years, Clinton passed some major legislation on gun control and law enforcement while reducing defense spending. His attempt to reform health care foundered in the middle of the 1994 campaigns. With a Republican Congress, he has threatened to veto many proposed spending cuts which he says benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. An Israeli-Palestinian peace accord was an early foreign policy accomplishment; Bosnia is a potential quagmire.
The 73-year-old economist calls himself an independent Democrat despite objections by the Democratic National Committee that he is not a member of the national party. Four years ago he campaigned from a jail cell, where he was serving time for tax and mail fraud; LaRouche and his supporters contend he was framed by the U.S. Justice Department.
LaRouche is forecasting a worldwide financial crisis, the worst of this century. He believes a group in England is plotting to break the United States into “micro-states” and is behind the outbreak of wars around the world. He has accused the British royal family and former President Bush of being actively involved in drug trafficking.
The two-term Democratic senator announced his retirement last summer, then hinted he would consider running for president as an independent. But he has not yet made any formal moves to enter the campaign.
Republicans, he contends, have too much faith in the market and are too critical of government; Democrats have too much faith in government and not enough in the consumer. If he runs, he said he would use his campaign to focus on the lives of people who now feel disconnected from politics. During his Senate career he has advocated tax reform and cuts in federal spending while denouncing racism and increased violence.
Independent - Libertarian Party
As an author… Browne wrote “You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis.”
The Libertarian Party’s candidate, Browne proposes a radical restructuring of the federal government to get it out of crime control, business regulation, education and housing. None of those are mentioned in the Constitution, he says. Government is bad and the federal government is the worst.
Browne would repeal the income tax, privatize many government services and balance the budget immediately, rather than by 2002 as Republicans propose. Browne doesn’t believe the government, through the Food and Drug Administration, should keep potentially life-saving medicines out of the hands of the public. The military should be large enough for defense, but should not be used for foreign interventions.
Independent - Natural Law Party
The candidate of the Natural Law Party, Hagelin espouses conflict-free politics and government policies that bring the country into harmony with natural law.
He supports health care programs that focus on prevention, boosting education by developing the inner creative genius of each student and using stress reduction to cut crime and ease urban tensions. He would push renewable energy and conservation programs and sustainable farm practices that don’t use chemical fertilizers or pesticides. He believes better nutrition at lunch, coupled with transcendental meditation sessions during the day, would boost test scores in the nation’s school. He would also severely restrict political action committees to reform campaign finance laws.
Although he ran previously for president as a Democrat, Jackson has talked about running as an independent in 1996 - if he runs. During the recent Spokane CityVote forum, he came close to entering the race but did not commit.
Jackson has criticized Clinton and congressional Republicans for budget plans that he contends hurt low-income Americans while offering tax breaks to the wealthy. Like many conservatives, he opposed GATT and NAFTA, which he contends allow large corporations to export jobs to foreign countries with cheaper labor costs.
A Texas billionaire with a populist message, Perot waged a third-party campaign for president in 1992 and hasn’t ruled out another run in 1996. But rather than running himself, he is attempting to create the Independence Party that would be on the ballot in all 50 states.
Perot was a vocal opponent of GATT and NAFTA, and repeatedly calls for the federal government to cut spending and reduce the deficit. He and his supporters in United We Stand America are strongly in favor of campaign finance reform, strict limits on lobbying and a ban on gifts to members of Congress. He has said that health reforms should be tested in individual states before being imposed on the entire nation. Perot’s supporters are considered so crucial to the 1996 election that all major Republican candidates, as well as leading Democrats and a representative for Clinton, attended the United We Stand Convention in Dallas.
Powell served George Bush and Bill Clinton as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and was the top U.S. military official during the Persian Gulf War. Although voters are frequently asked about him in political polls, Powell faces his first political test in the CityVote preference primary, where he will be listed as an independent. If he runs for president in 1996, however, he may run as a Republican. If he does, he will stand apart from most of the GOP field for stands on key issues important to social conservatives.
He favors abortion rights for women, and supports some forms of gun control. He would keep some affirmative action programs, saying that the military has benefited from such programs. He opposes organized school prayer, but could support a voluntary moment of silence for students. He reportedly turned down the position of secretary of state from Clinton, and has labelled the president’s foreign policy inconsistent.
The former Republican senator from Connecticut was considered one of the most liberal Republicans, supporting civil rights and abortion rights. He lost his seat in 1988, then won an independent race for governor in 1990 by straddling the fence on taxes. Once elected, he pushed through an income tax, coupled with a drop in the sales tax and repeal of some corporate taxes.
Weicker didn’t seek re-election in 1994, and talks occasionally about a possible third party run for president in 1996. He is not actively campaigning.
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