It’s been a long time since an organized force between the two major parties both had an opening as gigantic as the chasm between them now is currently, and had as many reasons to divest themselves from the major options we have and coalesce around something new.
The Reform Party was the most recent, but really the most recent that posed a significant threat (this may have been the case with the Reform Party had Ross Perot not let his ego get in the way of the nomination of Richard Lamm in 1996) was over a hundred years ago, with Theodore Roosevelt and the so called progressive movement (not to be confused with how the word progressive is used today, which now means merely a certain type of liberal who doesn’t want to be called such).
After a strong showing by former president Teddy Roosevelt, under the banner of the progressive Bull Moose Party, both parties smartly adopted many of the positions of the progressives, and the need for a separate party dissolved. Herein lies the rub.
Many on the left and right (and some in the middle who buy into this garbage) are fond of pretending they are being witty and well read when they regurgitate that they know third parties don’t have a chance because they have such a bad track record in United States history. But they are seeing the forest for the trees in this shallow assessment.
The few times where third parties did have a large effect, or in the case of the Republican party actually usurp the Whigs, was when neither party was listening to a large portion of the American electorate. This unmet demand sat dormant for years, and built as neither party met that demand… until it started to organize, eventually achieving critical mass and making waves.
This is the case now. Both parties are ignoring a giant portion of the electorate, and not only that… they are moving farther from it each and every year. While you between a third to half (depending on how you define it) of the American electorate are centrist or moderate, those elected into the House, Senate and White House are overwhelmingly liberal and conservative, or more extreme. Both parties have been pushing out their moderates, both rank and file and electeds, and are now leaving a greater gap between them than probably any time since the formation of the Republican party.
As I oft say… now is our time. While the left and right can slow us down, it’s up to us to organize an opposition. It’ll happen as soon as we start making it happen.