08 Apr 2018

Owl looking askew - for post on Modern Whig Party and national centrist party stategy
I don't talk about this much because, well - I don't see the point in beating a horse that is not only dead, but has been dead for nearly 170 years, as the Whig Party has been. But one of the Modern Whig Party's most active proponents asked, and it tied in with in a guest post by Mike Wallach a couple weeks back, that I promised I'd respond to, so here we are. -SK Not Critiquing the Right-Leaning to Centrist Modern Whig Party I'll preface this by pointing out that I'm not critiquing the Modern Whigs here, or the center-right in general, but rather just responding to a question and another blog post. Do I have strategic constructive criticism for the Modern Whig Party organization? Sure, and maybe I'll get into that some other time, but this conversation is about a big picture idea - namely: Where a centrist party wants to pitch it's political tent on the American political spectrum, and why. I initially had the question in question (that's ...

14 Feb 2018

Partisan Realignment and Third Parties
It's Third Party Season! With the 2018 mid-terms and 2020 presidential elections far enough in the future that candidates are not yet locked in, third party hopes spring eternal in the centrist breast. A hope that there just might be a viable alternative to the usual Republican and Democratic choices they find so disheartening. A hope that it might be different this time. And you know what? It just might be ... Thesis: In the United States, third parties always fail. But, on rare occasions in our history, with the right conditions, a New Party can successfully gut, destroy and replace one of the two major parties. This could be that time. Here are two steps necessary to make a New Party a Major Party: Step One: Do not call your New Party a "Third Party." Calling it a "Third Party" guarantees failure.  History tells us that U.S. Third Parties always fail. Meaning they: Do not fulfill the political objectives of their supporters. Never bec...

02 Jul 2011

In his latest piece at The Daily Beast, John Avlon mulls whether it is finally time for a major centrist third party to emerge: Independence Day came a few days early this year, as columnist and author Tom Friedman declared his support for a third party at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “We need a third party. I am for a third party,” Friedman said to applause. “We are trapped in a corrupt duopoly.” ... Expressing disappointment with President Obama, dismay with what passes for Republican policy debates, and frustration with the culture of hyper-partisanship in Washington, Friedman sees a reckoning coming, pushed by new technology. “One thing about the Internet and the hyperconnected world—it has flattened every hierarchy in the world from The New York Times to the banking industry. It’s flattened every hierarchy in the world except the two-party system, and that will not remain. That is a prediction that I will make.” ...

13 May 2011

As frustration builds with many (should I say, most?) voters, the call for a third party gets stronger.  With hypocrisy, corruption, and empty headed thinking abounding with both Republican and Democratic parties, the idea of a third party absent these qualities seems alluring. Is this real or simply a mirage? The odds against a third party winning a US national election are staggering.  Individual State requirements work to restrain any national candidacy.  Given today’s campaign financing expenditures, where would the money come from to support a third party. Some simplistically suggest the individual voter will abandon the major parties and flock to the third party with votes and money.   And, if your name is Bloomberg, why worry. Pundits say that President Obama will spend over $1 billion on his reelection. A third party candidate will be lost at sea. So is that it for third party power? I do not think so.    A third party candida...

23 Mar 2011

The marketplace of ideas concept has been around for a long time. In a democracy, it means that competing ideas are free to compete for influence over policy based on their merits compared to competing ideas. Politicians and other political folks occasionally mention it as something they do or should support. In theory, it sounds like a good idea and useful tool to inform society about competing political policies. Does it really exist?: Is American politics dominated by a fair and honest competition between competing ideas and political policies? Is the competition fair and honest when special interest money behind a special interest idea in competition with a better idea with no money behind it? Free speech experts think about these things and they seem to think that money can affect the outcome. If that is true, then special interest money can get its second best idea elevated to law and policy while the best idea is discarded. Is that a a ...

13 Mar 2011

The post I quote and link to below is one of the better outlines of why we need a third, centrist, option to the two party duopolistic system we have now that I've come across recently. Here's a taste, from Chris Rickert at the Wisconsin State Journal: "...state house and senate and Congressional district races — our two major parties long ago agreed that carving up the electorate by party affiliation was preferable to democracy. Yes, the party in power seeks to give itself an advantage every 10 years when Census results are released and districts are re-drawn. But by and large, there is a bipartisan understanding that some areas lean Democrat, some Republican — and it's better to pack like-minded voters into noncompetitive districts and save one's considerable resources for battles in a dwindling number of competitive ones. More than collective bargaining rights, human rights, corporate rights or any other right, two-party hegemony and a bro...

21 Jan 2011

Options for new political parties Recent polling data suggests that neither the Democrats or Republicans are appealing to most Americans. The number of independents is slowly increasing. Party affiliation stands at 31% Democrat (dropping and tied with their all time low), 29% Republican (holding steady and 1% above their all time low) and 38% independent (increasing and tied with their all time high). Folks like Solomon Kleinsmith, here at Rise of the Center Uniters.org, see it as a trend of moderates away from the left and right extremes that dominate the two parties. That interpretation sounds reasonable. Moderate options If moderates are discontented and leaving the two parties, then what are their options? For people who are more comfortable with conservative ideology, they have the Republican, Libertarian, Boston Tea Party and other conservative third party options. Liberals have the Democratic, Green, Socialist and other parties. Reli...

29 Dec 2010

To a non-ideologue, none of the established political parties out there are appealing. They have their ideology, entrenched interests and a few other flaws, e.g. political donors asking for what they want. For a pragmatic realist, the ideal political centrist party might look something like this: Pragmatic and grounded in reality because ideology distorts reality, limits creative thinking and usually delivers failure, which is what we have lots of at the moment. Strong enough to reject special interest money and "campaign contributions". Committed to find and implement policies, when it can be done, based on honest cost-benefit analysis using unspun data (not using the vacuous smoke and mirrors normally used by special interests, including the Democratic and Republican parties, labor unions, business interests and all the rest). Committed to shrewd and intelligent use of government to foster America's economic global competitiveness...

14 Dec 2010

I'm sure many of you wont be watching the entire livecast of the No Labels launch, but the issue of a third major party forming between the current two came up several times. A National Journal article summed up some of the comment on the subject, and related things, by Joe Scarborough, David Gergen and a few others. A sample: MSNBC host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough said it's "inevitable" that third-party candidates will start winning -- if the major parties continue to fail to tackle the national debt and energy independence. "The practical barriers to a national third party are so substantial,'' disagreed outgoing Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.). "More likely, one of the two existing parties will get it.'' Asked to rate the partisanship in Washington on a scale of 1 to 10, Republican political analyst David Gergen pegged it at 15. He said the spirit of the World War II generation, that we are Americans first and par...

05 Dec 2010

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 separat...