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Author Topic: A New Political Party Is Needed  (Read 6867 times)
statusquobuster
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« on: November 13, 2008, 10:45:18 am »
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A New Political Party Is Needed

Joel S. Hirschhorn

Set aside any Obama euphoria you feel.  The other important news is that third-party presidential candidates had a miserable showing this year, totaling just over one percent of the grand total with 1.5 million votes nationwide, compared to some 123 million votes for Barack Obama and John McCain.

It couldn’t be clearer that Americans are not willing to voice their political discontent by voting for third-party presidential candidates.  The two-party duopoly and plutocracy is completely dominant.  The US lacks the political competition that exists in other western democracies.  Without real political competition there is insufficient political choice.

A key problem is that for many years, third parties have not offered presidential candidates that capture the attention and commitment of even a modest fraction of Americans, unlike Ross Perot (8.4 percent in 1996 and 18.9 percent in 1992), and John Anderson (6.6 percent in 1980).

This year, among the four most significant third-party presidential candidates, Ralph Nader without a national party did the best with 685,426 votes or 0.54 percent of the grand total (a little better than in 2004 with 0.4 percent but much worse than in 2000 running as a Green Party candidate with 2.7 percent).  He was followed by Bob Barr the Libertarian Party candidate with 503,981 votes or 0.4 percent of the total (typical of all Libertarian candidates in recent elections, including Ron Paul in 1988), followed by Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party with just 181,266 votes or 0.1 percent, and then Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party with only 148,546 votes or 0.1 percent.

In the primaries Ron Paul had earned enormous public support and before the general election he urged his supporters to vote for one of the four main third-party presidential candidates.  However, it does not appear that they did so in significant numbers.  Recently, Paul commented about the Obama victory: “the candidate demanding ‘change’ won the election.  It mattered not that the change offered was no change at all, only a change in the engineer of a runaway train.”

Showing the problem of ballot access, engineered by the two major parties, is that there were only 15 states where all four were on the ballot.  In all but one, Nader received more votes than the other three third-party candidates.  In four states only one of the four candidates was on the ballot; in one state none of them were (Oklahoma).

Nader’s best state was California with 81,434 votes, as it was for McKinney’s with 28,624 votes.  Baldwin was not on the ballot there.  Alan Keyes received 30,787 votes in California.  Barr’s best state was Texas with 56,398 votes.  None of the other three were on the ballot there.  In his home state of Georgia where he had been a Representative Barr received 28,420 votes (and none of the other three were on the ballot).  Baldwin’s best state was Michigan with 14, 973 votes.  Nader was not on the ballot there.

In round numbers, Barack Obama raised $639 million or about $10 per vote, and John McCain raised $360 million or $6 per vote, compared to Ralph Nader with $4 million and $6 per vote, Bob Barr with about $1 million or $2 per vote, and Cynthia McKinney with only about $118,000 or less than $1 per vote.  Money matters, but the ability of the two-party duopoly to keep third-party presidential candidates out of nationally televised debates matters more for media attention, money and votes.

It must also be noted that there were countless congressional races with third-party and independent candidates, but none were able to win office, with only a very few reaching the 20 percent level.  That third-party candidates can win local government offices means little because political party affiliation at that level is overshadowed by personal qualifications.

I say that current third-party activists should admit defeat, shut down their unsuccessful parties, and move on.  Unlike so much of American history, current third-parties no longer play a significant role in American politics or even in affecting public policies.  They have shown their inability to matter.

We need a new, vibrant political party that could bring many millions of American dissidents, progressives and conservatives, and especially chronic non-voters, together behind a relatively simple party platform focused on structural, government system reforms (not merely political change).  Examples include: replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote for president, restoring the balance between Congress and the presidency, eliminating the corrupting influence of special interest money from politics, preventing the president to use signing statements to nullify laws passed by Congress. 

What would unite people is a shared priority for revitalizing American democracy.  It should position itself as a populist alternative and opponent to the two-party plutocracy.  It should define itself as against the corporate and other special interests on the left and right that use money to corrupt our political system.  Possible names: Patriotic Party, United Party or National Party.  With Thomas Jefferson as its spiritual founder it should seek the political revolution he said was needed periodically.

Here is what helps.  Despite considerable enthusiasm for Barack Obama, there is widespread unhappiness with both the Democratic and Republican Parties.  One indication is that so voters register as independents.  Plus there has always been a chorus of negative views about the two-party system.  In one pragmatic sense this is the ideal time to create a new party.  Why?  Because of the incredible loss of stature of the Republican Party.  Why not envision a new party that could replace the Republican Party on the national stage and provide a sharp alternative to the Democratic Party?  In other words, we don’t need a new third party as much as we need a new major party.

[Joel S. Hirschhorn can be reached through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.]
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IDS Judicial Overlord PiT
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2008, 10:59:07 am »
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     Sure, but good luck getting one to succeed with the Republicrats controlling the flow of money in the country.
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2008, 05:39:29 pm »
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Until a political part emerges that isn't cram packed full of ideological purists and crazies emerges, they will not be taken seriously. Cynthia McKinney? I rest my case. The last great third party was the socialists of the 30s. Those days are dead and gone and so are third party politics for the time being.
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2008, 05:39:59 pm »
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Until a political part emerges that isn't cram packed full of ideological purists and crazies emerges, they will not be taken seriously. Cynthia McKinney? I rest my case. The last great third party was the socialists of the 30s. Those days are dead and gone and so are third party politics for the time being.

The '10s, actually.
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2008, 09:21:52 pm »
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Until a political part emerges that isn't cram packed full of ideological purists and crazies emerges, they will not be taken seriously. Cynthia McKinney? I rest my case. The last great third party was the socialists of the 30s. Those days are dead and gone and so are third party politics for the time being.

The '10s, actually.

You're right. I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking about.
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2008, 07:13:54 pm »
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A Ron Paul spin off type party could emerge if the Republicans can't get there act togther in 2012.

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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2008, 10:06:05 pm »
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A real thing would be to have either all the third parties unite under one banner and have a Presidential ticket with both the left and right on the ticket or two alliances, one from the left and the right. And you never know about the possiblity of having a moderate alliance as well.
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2008, 11:23:46 pm »
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No, it isn't.
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2008, 01:35:15 am »
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If Third parties want to be taken seriously they need to start getting organized.  You can't elect a president if you don't have a presence in the House and the Senate.  The Green party apparently still has some hope Malik Rahim can win in the 2nd congressional district in Louisiana and that would be a start if it happens (I don't think it will). 

Small parties should start recruiting people who have respect in their communities and then ask them to run in 2010.  Once you have 5 or 6 House representatives the media will pay attention too.  You might not win a presidency, but at least you will have a voice.
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2008, 11:51:09 am »
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Until a political part emerges that isn't cram packed full of ideological purists and crazies emerges, they will not be taken seriously. Cynthia McKinney? I rest my case. The last great third party was the socialists of the 30s. Those days are dead and gone and so are third party politics for the time being.

There aren't any ideological purists and precious few 'crazies' in the Democratic Party.  That's the whole point of the party - it has no ideology, its just the wishy-washy centerish alternative to the crazy right-wing party.
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008, 12:41:37 am »
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No other party will win the presidency or either house of the legislature in our lifetimes.
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2008, 12:43:11 am »
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Join one of the major ones and try to reform it.

It's going to be much easier to get your goals accomplished inside the beast then by fighting it.
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2008, 06:12:06 pm »
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Quote
What would unite people is a shared priority for revitalizing American democracy.  It should position itself as a populist alternative and opponent to the two-party plutocracy.  It should define itself as against the corporate and other special interests on the left and right that use money to corrupt our political system.  Possible names: Patriotic Party, United Party or National Party.  With Thomas Jefferson as its spiritual founder it should seek the political revolution he said was needed periodically.

This is how most of the Greens ran for state and county offices in IL this year. However, their platform doesn't stress this. In races against one opponent this year they typically got about 20%, and less than 10% if against 2 opponents. When they concentrated their efforts two years ago on the Gov's race they got 10%.

A new party going after the same theme needs more than the theme. They need to spend money to get their message out. That means raising money, but that is difficult when they've excluded "special interests", many of which are fairly ordinary groups seeking to improve their clout by organizing.
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2008, 07:27:53 pm »
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Quote
What would unite people is a shared priority for revitalizing American democracy.  It should position itself as a populist alternative and opponent to the two-party plutocracy.  It should define itself as against the corporate and other special interests on the left and right that use money to corrupt our political system.  Possible names: Patriotic Party, United Party or National Party.  With Thomas Jefferson as its spiritual founder it should seek the political revolution he said was needed periodically.

This is how most of the Greens ran for state and county offices in IL this year. However, their platform doesn't stress this. In races against one opponent this year they typically got about 20%, and less than 10% if against 2 opponents. When they concentrated their efforts two years ago on the Gov's race they got 10%.

A new party going after the same theme needs more than the theme. They need to spend money to get their message out. That means raising money, but that is difficult when they've excluded "special interests", many of which are fairly ordinary groups seeking to improve their clout by organizing.

Realistically, the Greens got 10% in 2006 in IL because Blagojevich was already unpopular... but so was Topinka. The Maine Greens might be more instructive due to their long-term success in gubernatorial races, but they're actually quite ideologically purified (and very much a regional party of the lower coast at times; see the 2002 result).

Green %, Maine gubernatorial races:
1994: 6.39%
1998: 6.82%
2002: 9.28%
2006: 9.56%
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 07:34:53 pm by Verily »Logged
memphis
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2008, 07:31:59 pm »
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The trouble with third parties is that voting for them is a major strategic blunder. You end up helping the main party you like less. Nothing illustrates this better than Nader 2000.
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2008, 11:04:10 pm »
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A Ron Paul spin off type party could emerge if the Republicans can't get there act togther in 2012.



I disagree with Paul on a decent amount, but I'd take him over the Bushs and the McCains.  Although, if Romney can pull off a 2012 win I'd be happy.  I'd REALLY like Hagel (minus his stance on immigration).
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2008, 08:09:58 am »
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fine, ignore my love

Go away, retarded troll.
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2008, 05:49:39 pm »
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the NTP is a perfect new 3rd party
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