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Keep Third-Party Candidates

The Opinion page article "What if Congress Is the Kingmaker?," June 2, is deeply disturbing. Although it is an objective discussion of the process for electing both the president and the vice president should no ticket receive a majority of electoral votes in November, it concludes that the uncertainties of that process indicate voters should avoid voting for a candidate who is not supported by one of the two major political parties.

To suggest that voting for a third-party or independent candidate might "produce a presidency of questionable legitimacy," is a scare tactic of the most insidious order; it questions the legitimacy of a process established in our Constitution, simply because we do not have recent experience with it.

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Even more reprehensible is the damage this line of thinking does to our democratic principles by excluding from consideration as a legitimate presidential contender anyone who is not endorsed by either the Democrats or the Republicans.

This will tend to stifle evolutionary development of governmental policies. It will perpetuate business (and politics) as usual by guaranteeing that no "outsider" will be able to gain enough of a power base to force reassessment of current thinking about governance.

Indeed, it may even lead to violent revolution when the majority of people can no longer tolerate being disenfranchised because a third-party candidate is excluded, de facto, from any reasonable possibility of success. James K. Johnston, Oak Harbor, Wash.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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