Are two parties enough?

Question: Are two parties enough?

Mike Gravel: No two parties aren’t enough; and you have to understand the difference between a constitutional system, which is what we have, and a parliamentary system where at any point and time if you lose the majority they can trigger elections. And with a parliamentary system there is a timeframe that they have to have an election. So I think it could be six . . . Well it depends on the country involved. But under our system . . . I’ll just tell you a little vignette, a little anecdotal. Pierre Trudeau, the Prime Minister of France . . . of Canada and myself are good friends. And I recall sitting down with him over lunch and saying, “Boy Pierre, I admire your parliamentary system.” And he said, “Mike, you’re wrong. I admire your constitutional system.” So it’s whatever works. I think that the monopoly . . . that the Republicans and Democrats have on the party . . . on the structure of government . . . There’s not one of them mentioned in the Constitution; yet they use the government to maintain their monopoly. I think that’s wrong. I’m running as a Democrat. I’ve always been proud to be a Democrat. But a lot of times I’m ashamed of the Democratic Party because I mean . . . Like with my country. I’m a patriot. I love my country; but my country’s doing wrong, I’m prepared to try to correct it and criticize it. Same thing with the Democratic Party. I become the nominee of the Democratic Party, I promise you that I will establish a level playing field for all the parties . . . the legitimate parties to participate; whether it’s the green party, the libertarian party. You name it. If you’re a viable party, then you should be able to participate on an equal basis. And there are other legal devices that you can do. It’s the way we handle the election. You know you could break up a state and say okay, if the Democrats get 20 percent, then they should have 20 percent responsiveness. If you now have other parties that have a piece of it, they should be able to have part of the participation. It would take some pretty fundamental changes, and I don’t . . . I have my thoughts on it, but here, that’s the kind of a decision that as president I would put before the American people based upon people that would be putting forth proposals in a thoughtful fashion, and we’d let the American people vote on this. This is what’s beautiful about empowering the American people. Many things I would want to do that the Congress won’t want to do. I’ll put it before the people. Now I’ll only have one vote. I’ll only have one vote. And anybody who opposes the position I might hold at that point, they can cancel my vote. But here again, the leadership that I would provide would be to help Americans sort of develop their sea legs as legislators. Because once I go on to my demise, if I can leave the empowerment in the . . . with the American people to be able to make laws, and we start it in this country, it would go around the world like wildfires. Stop and think what I’m talking about. I’m talking about changing the paradigm of human governance.


Recorded on: 10/23/07

Two parties are not enough for a healthy democracy, Mike Gravel says.

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less