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...

29 May 2011

coffee party not for centrists and moderates
(originally published at a now-closed moderate blog, where I wrote for a time before launching the precursor to this site) For some centrists and moderates, the development of the new 'Coffee Party USA' organization seemed like a godsend in response to the more extreme elements in the Tea Party movement. At first, I thought that this could be the grassroots movement I’d been waiting for – one that actually included centrist independents and moderates along with non-extreme liberals in a big tent, and actively worked across ideological divides to look for common ground, rather than partisan gain.In short, I was wrong. In short, after spending hundreds of hours on the group, I was wrong. I helped start, and ultimately ran, the Nebraska (and local Omaha) chapter of the Coffee Party, and given my skill set also helped upgrade sections of the national website. I was later recruited to work on a few ad hoc subcommittees that were trying to build ...

11 May 2011

centrist pundit John Avlon being interviewed by Solomon Kleinsmith in 2012
Solomon interviewing centrist pundit John Avlon at the 2012 conventions. There aren't too many strident centrists in the world of political punditry. Some mislabel those who strive toward journalistic integrity as being centrist, but that's just being nonpartisan. To be clear, I'm not criticizing being nonpartisan - we need genuine journalism much more than we need centrist punditry, but when I see things like this it heartens me: In April, CNN.com was up over last year with 1.45 billion global page views and 100.2 million global video views due in large part to CNN’s coverage of the Royal Wedding (see full numbers below) and CNN.com’s Opinion section. CNN.com Opinion had its best month ever with 18.9 million global page views, 61% higher than last year.  The top five writers in the Opinion section for April were CNN contributor LZ Granderson, CNN senior political analysts Gloria Borger, best-selling author Bob Greene, senior political colum...

09 May 2011

The Pew Center for the People and the Press has done one its Political Typology Surveys that they do every few years.  This time around, one of the things they found was that more and more people are becoming Independent.  There’s nothing surprising about that, but what is surprising is that the center in American politics is not a monolithic group: With the economy still struggling and the nation involved in multiple military operations overseas, the public’s political mood is fractious. In this environment, many political attitudes have become more doctrinaire at both ends of the ideological spectrum, a polarization that reflects the current atmosphere in Washington. Yet at the same time, a growing number of Americans are choosing not to identify with either political party, and the center of the political spectrum is increasingly diverse. Rather than being moderate, many of these independents hold extremely strong ideological positions on iss...

09 May 2011

In a political party system where many view the Center as a mere blend between two purer ideologies of conservatism and progressivism, political independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York often has something creative to say. Elected in a city of greater diversity, wealth and population than many US states and several countries, he’s someone that’s perhaps worth listening to. Yet is he actually creative? On last week's broadcast of NBC’s Meet the Press, Mr. Mayor did not disappoint. In a roundtable segment in which he was accompanied by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Obama Adviser David Axelrod and moderator David Gregory, he touched upon a number of topics with a degree of freedom we don’t often see from our two well known – and all too well defined – major political parties. He displayed agility of one comfortable with his thought process and willing to share it in a tone of centrist legitimacy. It was a thought process less defined by...

20 Apr 2011

I run across a lot of these... short little letters to the editor expressing disappointment in the lack of connection with mainstream voters that the ideologues in control of the two major parties have with constituents - both at the state and local level. This part from one in the Arizona Daily Sun stuck out to me: Unfortunately, I see little opportunity for betterment with the current state of mind of the majority of legislators. Not only have they chafed at voter-mandated health care for the impoverished but other voter mandates such as "First Things First," which funds early childhood development; increased sales tax to prevent cuts to education (which they cut anyway). It is more than apparent that our governor and the majority of the Legislature are out of touch with the reality and the challenges of our state. Recently, Gallup conducted a study of the most conservative states. Arizona ranked 28th. Which means that our centrist citizens...

01 Apr 2011

I don't usually pay much attention to when partisans whine about media bias, as it usually is blown out of proportion and mostly just complaining that the media doesn't bend to their ideology, but this actually seems fair. Pajamas Media is one of the conservative sites I read. I usually disagree with the stances their writers take, but they have a handful of bloggers who post there that aren't extreme, and this bit from a post about how the media talks about latinos in relation to the two major parties, is pretty spot on, I think. Here's a taste: ...where the discussion really got interesting was when I made the point that Democrats were not in the clear either. President Obama’s support among Latinos is, I said, “a mile wide and an inch deep” in part because he hasn’t delivered on immigration reform as promised. In fact, his surrogates such as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano actually go around the country bragging about how many...

01 Apr 2011

Found via Damon Eris at Poli-Tea You've got to read this great op-ed from the Houston Chronicle, about how the "Great middle of America has no place to call home". Here's a taste: But if you believe both that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned and that the federal government needs to balance its budget, you have no political home in today's bifurcated partisan political landscape. I do not think that I am alone in feeling disaffected in the current bipolar political dynamic. ...it seems likely that the current dissatisfaction with the contemporary political landscape so dominated by bipolar extremism will find some form of expression. Whether that takes the form of the rise of a third party, more independent candidates or a repositioning of one of the two dominant parties, I cannot predict. But the great middle of America has time and again served as ballast for our ship of state, keeping her from listing too far to port or starboard. T...

19 Mar 2011

My main and essentially only interest in politics is arguing for a new political party to replace one or both of the Democratic and Republican parties. In my opinion, something better is possible but it is unlikely to come from either party. The nature of the two political parties is human nature: Who has real power and influence in the Democratic and Republican parties? Outsiders and newcomers? Life-long insiders, hard core partisan ideologues and major campaign contributors? Neutral and objective analysts? People like you? Common sense argues the real influence is with the money and life-long, partisan insiders. The money probably carries the most weight just ahead of (or tied with) the politician's penchant to put re-election above the public interest. Why shouldn't outsiders or newcomers with no money but a good idea get a fair hearing? There are at least three good reasons: First, ordinary outsiders don't have money. Like it or not, Ame...

16 Mar 2011

I have daily news alert emails for things related to independents, centrists and moderates, and I run across posts like this almost every day, but this one sticks out because Wisconsin has been in the news and I liked the quote that I modified a bit for the headline here. This comes from an op-ed in the Wisconsin State Journal, decrying the hyper-partisan nature of Washington these days, and why this is harming our country: What America needs more of are politicians willing to find compromise on workable solutions in the middle. America needs more politicians thinking long term, far past the next election. "For those who have come of age in today's hyperpartisan Congress - with its near-parliamentary levels of party discipline on floor votes, jagged ideological confrontations, and dominant role for leadership - it's easy to forget how different the institution looks as recently as the early 1980s," the National Journal wrote. It's time to ...