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An Interview with Michael Luick-Thrams, Independent Candidate for U.S. Senate

Michael Luick-Thrams
Historian Michael Luick-Thrams

An Iowa historian, running as an independent in the race for U.S. Senate, says he sees opportunity for someone outside the two-party system in this election cycle. He says every 30 years or so cultures open up, look around, and assess what's going well and what needs to be changed. Michael Luick-Thrams says now is that moment.

"The last big shift was about 30 years ago with the Reagan revolution, the Moral Majority and Newt Gingrich's Contract with America. Things are moving at the moment that will set us in a new direction. The question is which direction, and I want to be a part of that conversation," says Luick-Thrams.

In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Luick-Thrams about his candidacy. The candidate says today's Republican and Democratic parties are not the parties of his grandparents. "Those parties are gone."

He says rather than generate change and ideas that move the nation forward, today's Democratic and Republican parties are about getting candidates elected. "It's really about power," he says. So, the two parties not that different from each other.

When asked about the pathway to a multi-party system in the U.S., Luick-Thrams says it works in other countries. He points to Germany as a flourishing economy with 6 parties in its parliament. He says he's not exactly sure of the pathway, but he knows what it isn't.

"It isn't having people voting with cynicism saying we'd really like to have a Green, a Libertarian, a poodle owners' [party], whatever it may be, but not quite doing that out of fear of 'wasting their vote'."

Katherine Perkins is IPR's Program Director for News and Talk
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River