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Ed Crane is the founder and president of the Cato Institute. Under his leadership, the Cato Institute has grown to become one of the nation's most prominent public policy research[…]

The Cato Institute CEO on why America needs more than two parties.

Edward Crane:  Well, I think eventually, when you have ideological forces that are strong, that are frustrated, that they will out in the long run.  It is a serious problem, the entrenchment of these two parties.  But you have 16 percent support for Congress today and 24 percent for the Republican president.  I mean, there’s a lot of dissatisfaction, and eventually something will give.  I’m convinced that if you got rid of contribution limits that you would have these two new parties.  And it’s interesting, because my friend Gene McCarthy, who passed away a couple of years ago, used to say, had the 1974 amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act been in place in 1968 when he challenged Lyndon Johnson in his own party, he would not have run.  I mean, Gene McCarthy got $100,000, six figure contributions from Stewart Mott and other wealthy liberals that allowed him to challenge Johnson and in fact, knock out a sitting president from his own party.  Gene didn’t get the nomination, but he wouldn’t have run, he said, had those $1,000 limits, which came out of the ’74 amendment, been in place then.  So I think these limits on contributions-- as long as you have full disclosure, which I’m perfectly willing to give up, even though philosophically I don’t think you should have to disclose, but okay.  I think there would market pressure to disclose.  I think people would say, “Well, where’d you get your money?”  And if you can say, “I got my money from these people because they believe what I believe, and that’s how we’re going to run this campaign,” that would be fine.  And then you’d be able to challenge the incumbents, but the way it is now, it’s almost impossible.