Friday, November 09, 2012

Post-election musings: Is it third party time?

Most of the time, especially in the weeks leading up to a presidential election, I turn my back on discussions about third parties. But if there is a good time to talk about building a national alternative to our cumbersome two-party system, it’s now, just after the election.

Still, I would have little interest in a third party that would be primarily rooted in ideology. So, with the election now in the rear-view mirror, what about a third party that is tough on Wall Street, antiwar, but totally pro-environment?

Not traditional liberals. Not nostalgia-worshipping conservatives. This party would have no part of the culture war -- no religious fanatics onboard, please.

As a party, it would also stay out of most squabbles over immigration by simply advocating the pursuit of the most practical course, with few preconceived notions about what is proper. What we can't keep doing is ignoring laws, or selectively enforcing them.

This new party would advocate letting in more sunlight on the dark role behind-closed-doors lobbyists play in directing zillions of government dollars to benefit mammoth corporations. It would be about slashing the budgets for defense and foreign aid. It would call for ending another war the USA lost -- the drug war. 

It would also champion campaign finance reform in a big way, calling for drastic measures to reduce the role that soul-sucking, big-budget advertising plays in elections.

Of course there are individuals in both major parties who say they support some of those ideas. None of it is new. But both parties, as they are presently constituted, would have trouble with actually doing a lot of the stuff mentioned above.   

Hey, I’m not saying I would automatically support such a new political party, but I do wonder if a viable alternative organization, fashioned somewhat along those lines, may be more possible now.

Yes, as we looked forward to the wrangling of the upcoming lame-duck session in Congress, I'm wondering if a national political party that isn’t run by ideologues and old hacks could put down roots coast-to-coast, via the Internet, in 2013.


Bill Garnett said...

Excellent points - I would hope that Republicans will get the message. I once called myself a Republican, while living in Delaware. But in Virginia, even a Democrat would be considered a Republican if he lived in an actual blue state.

Unfortunately, rounding up progressives in Virginia is akin to rounding up a herd of cats. And thus we end up with the likes of Bob Marshall controlling an important committee in the Virginia legislature and holding up legislation based on his personal religious convictions.

Tom Godwin said...

Although I do agree in principle with the idea of a third party, my huge fear would be dividing the progressive vote and then losing to some crazies on the right. So, for now, we should try to work within the Democratic party to achieve those goals. Even pulling the Dems too far to the left, while appealing, could cause a loss in an election. I would submit that a slow, steady change is more effective in the long run so as not to lose the electorate.