Socialist candidate for president Lindsey visits Iowa City


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In the midst of election season, socialism is not a typical political party most voters think about. Presidential candidate and socialist Peta Lindsay wants to change that.

Lindsay, 28, came to the Pedestrian Mall on Tuesday evening to inform locals about the socialist party and her individual platform.

Lindsay told The Daily Iowan she is running not to win the election but rather to spur discussion about socialist ideas.

"People are told to change [current world situations] by voting, so they go to the polls looking for change, and they're not going to find it," Lindsay said. "So we're making the demand of what we need. We've entered a 10-point program, with our main goal to make jobs a constitutional right."

Lindsay is running alongside Yari Osorio of New York. The Party of Socialism and Liberation has a place on ballots in 13 states, including Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Part of the socialists' 10-point program involves believing jobs are a constitutional right, wanting to end all wars, and making education free. Lindsay believes the socialist ideas are a realistic goal for the United States.

"Throughout history, if you look at the movements and see all that has changed, like the civil-rights movement, women's rights, the eight-hour work day, all these people are organizing and taking the streets to get involved," she said.

Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville, believes the two dominant political parties already address some issues on the socialist party's platform.

"Both parties already hold discussion about public education, whether or not to have it," Jacoby said. "Both talk about war, whether or not to have it. [Socialist issues] are part of the platforms anyways. It's a common denominator."

There have been mixed opinions on Lindsay running with a third party, instead of running as a Democrat or Republican.

UI Associate Professor of political science Tim Hagle believes running as a third-party candidate will prevent candidates from having any chance of winning presidential elections.

"The problem with any third-party candidate is they do not have a realistic chance [of winning]," Hagle said. "They may got somewhere, even statewide, but nationally it's just not going to happen. The very best a third-party candidate could do is to be a spoiler for a candidate."

Jacoby does not believe Lindsay will win, but he still enjoys the freedom third-party candidates have to run for office.

"Part of people learning is giving people choices," he said.

Sen. Shawn Hamerlinck, R-Dixon, said elections are rarely between two dominant parties and that running with a third party is not rare.

"Each election they have a number of candidates that run; there are a number of parties that appear on the ballot," he said. "The democratic process works in a way that the two-party system is extremely rare. It's a rarity to have completely dominance with two political parties."

Lindsay and her campaign manager remain hopeful that running with the socialist party will help the American people better understand their platform and remove any stigmas typically associated with the party.

"Socialism should be popular in the United States because it is the only thing that can help with the interest of the vast majority of the working people," said John Beachan, organizing manager for the Party for Socialism and Liberation in the Midwest unit. "People need to own their own economy. In order to do that, there needs to be a different type of economic system."

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