Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Colin Powell Can Run - and Win - in 2000 A Four-Year Plan to Galvanize the Grass Roots and Truly Change the Face of American Politics

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Colin Powell Can Run - and Win - in 2000 A Four-Year Plan to Galvanize the Grass Roots and Truly Change the Face of American Politics

Article excerpt

COLIN POWELL'S decision not to run for president in 1996 is likely a disappointment to a considerable portion of the electorate. This is understandable, given his obvious popularity during the promotional tour for his recently published autobiography. It is just this outpouring of public adoration, not to mention his respectable poll standings, that presents a clear indication that the general is going to bide his time.

If General Powell is ever to use his popularity, experience, and expertise to profoundly alter politics in this country, he will seek the White House in 2000, and do so as an independent. Here is the four-year timetable he will need to follow to win the White House:

1996-97. Join forces with the high-profile lawmakers who have decided not to run for reelection because of their frustration with the current political climate in Washington. These include former Sens. Warren Rudman and Paul Tsongas of the Concord Coalition, Sens. John Danforth and Bill Bradley, and Georgia's Sen. Sam Nunn, who last month joined these ranks.

Powell could serve as the catalyst in bringing such people together to formulate a clear political philosophy, leading to the formation of a new political party.

1997-99. These next two years would be spent building a nationwide party infrastructure, state by state, precinct by precinct. And to finance the coming campaign, money would be raised in reform-minded ways (accepting no funds from political-action committees; limiting individual contributions).

2000. For the first time in history, a third party would field serious candidates in every state legislative district and statewide race, for the House of Representatives and open US Senate seats, and, of course, for the presidency.

What would such an effort accomplish? All too many state and congressional districts are dominated by one party. The injection of a true third party - beholden to no one but the people - has the potential of transforming many predictable contests into horse races.

Even if the Powell-led third party lost the presidential race, the probable election of 20 to 30 US representatives and three to six US senators could fundamentally alter business-as-usual in Washington. …

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