11 Oct 2010

“The Rise of an Emboldened Third Force in Our Politics”

While I don’t understand the fetish that commentators have about trying to read between the lines of things that General David Petraeus, the Boston Phoenix has an interesting post a few days back on something I’ve mentioned several times on here… the likely defection by more moderates in elected office running as independents in coming years.

The low hanging fruit are apparent. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are where most people start, and with Maine’s history of electing independents, I find it hard to explain why they wouldn’t run as independents. They’d be free from the pressures of making concessions to their party’s more extreme elements, and have full liberty to campaign directly to the core of the electorate that has been keeping them in office all of these years.

With luck we’ll also get candidates like Scott Brown, certainly someone who will be attacked by purist elements of the GOP when he runs for reelection in a few years. We’d be just as lucky to have someone like Evan Bayh jump ship and run for governor in Indiana as an independent… and while those two are in the same paragraph… wouldn’t they make for a nice team of moderates, one way or the other, on the same presidential ticket some day?

The Center certain is Rising indeed.

Read more at the Boston Phoenix…

Author Details
After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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5 thoughts on ““The Rise of an Emboldened Third Force in Our Politics””

  1. Very interesting point. I think the party system is currently too strong to really see a rise of Independent candidates. They have to pick a "side" if they want to be on committees once in Washington. That is also what hurts the third parties. It will be interesting to see how the frustration plays out after the November elections. I think that the traditional spectrum of right and left is faulty and many of all political persuasions are pretty tired of the government not listening and spending like crazy. The two parties in some areas (such as spending) are becoming indistinguishable.

    I truly believe that it's not just the center that is rising, it is the majority of Americans who are tired of the same ole same ole in Washington.

  2. There already is a rise… some site counted twice as many independents running for office this cycle as compared to the last few, but it just hasn't hit critical mass, nor coalesced into a movement. Right now it is a groundswell… it could dissipate, it could become a sort of Tea Party group that never forms a political party, or it could become like Nick Clegg's Lib Dem's in Britain.

    They can use their willingness to switch from one caucus to the other in the Senate to get as much power as others, just like Lieberman has done… even though I think he's a terrible Senator.

    The two parties are indistinguishable? Seriously? Come on now… they both spend too much, but do it in radically different ways.

    I don't think its 'just' the center either. With approval ratings for both parties so low… you could take all the moderates and centrist and still need tens of millions more to get that result, so people within their own parties must also be ticked. That just makes it more likely that groups outside the two major party umbrellas will be able to grow 🙂

  3. The problem with independent candidates right now is that given our two-party stranglehold on voting, any legitimate third-party challenge ends up tracking in single digits, and even if the candidate did garner 20+ percent, they still probably wouldn't win.

    There needs to be some type of change in our election process so we can get away from choosing the evil of two lessors. A case in point is Maine's current gubernatorial race. This year, a vote for the independents (there are three) essentially guarantees that the far right candidate, supported by the tea party brigade, wins. While Maine has elected two independent candidates for governor over the past 35 years, and the state regularly finds independents, and even a Green Party candidates running for office, something like Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) would be perfect way to ensure the viability of candidates other than Republicans and Democrats, (or Republicrats and Demicans). Given that Maine has a small population, it could serve as a great pilot for voting reform. It would be appropriate, given that our state motto, Dirigo, means "I lead." We could lead the country out of our current political morass.

    1. IRV is something I would love to see… but I disagree that its impossible to in the mean time. Ultimately the biggest impediment to ending the domination of the far left and right is organizing ourselves in the center. They're going to do everything they can to stop us. Until we organize ourselves, whether it be a party, non party organizations or both, they're just going to continue to trample us.

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