As the Democrats and Republicans coronate their presidential nominees, dissatisfaction with the major parties is reaching a new high. If a third-party candidate with "a legitimate chance of winning" were running, 26 percent of likely voters say they'd vote for him or her, according to a recent survey by Rasmussen Research (www.portraitofamerica.com/html/poll-717.html).
The 2000 presidential race includes several alternative parties, though none seem to have that requisite chance of victory. The most prominent is Ross Perot's Reform Party (www.reformparty.org), which lost its most libertarian faction when Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura left it but still boasts enough room for both black militant Lenora Fulani and the party's presumptive nominee, Pat Buchanan (www.buchanan.org).
The anti-corporate Green Party (www.greenparties.org) is also attracting attention, with standard-bearer Ralph Nader (www.nader2000.org) outpolling Buchanan in some surveys. At press time, the Libertarian Party (www.lp.org) has not yet selected a nominee, but the odds-on favorite is financial writer Harry Browne (www.harrybrowne.org). Other options range from socialist David McReynolds (www.votesocialist.org/bio.html) to paleoconservative Howard Phillips (www.constitutionparty.org).
And don't forget your precious right to do what most Americans do: skip voting altogether. For some defenses of abstention, see www.infoshop.org/voting.html.