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...

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...

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 ...

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 try to highlight the work of various campaigns and organizations whose work I think are forming the foundation for bigger and better things to come for the center of the electorate as much as I can, but just because someone is a centrist, moderate or independent - that doesn't necessarily, automatically or inherently make them better. This is a problem with those who let themselves not only have their own strong opinions, but they begin to get tribal about them. This mentality can lead to people giving those who think like them much more of a long leash to do wrong before they cast doubt their direction. We shouldn't do that with any political actors. A healthy dose of skepticism needs to be present at all times. This is why I rarely bring up the subject of one of the longest running groups for independents in the country... the New York Independence Party. I think the main trailblazers are the Oregon Independent Party, and their counterp...

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...

11 Mar 2011

The latest polling numbers show that President Obama has seen a huge drop in his approval numbers over the last month, losing a solid ten points over the last thirty days or so. Why do you think this might be? I liked what The Independent Rage had to say about this from a post earlier today: But it's good to see that Majesty's completely disingenuous "march to the center" has started to ring rather hollow with my fellow Independents. Pollsters are chalking up Obama's plunge with the Independents solely to higher gas prices recently. Of course that's a factor, but the only one? Please. I'm sure the Big Collapse has had absolutely nothing to do with the utterly pathetic 2011 budget that Obama offered up recently which does truly nothing to make a significant dent in our current $14.2 Trillion Dollar National Debt, nor to the historically record-breaking and massive deficits that the 20 percenter leftists have been running up the past few years ...

08 Mar 2011

For 38 years Idaho has had an open primary system that allowed all voters to participate in the state's primary election, regardless of affiliation or lack of affiliation. No more. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill on Wednesday last week ruled that system unconstitutional. Then today, No Labels threw a yellow flag on Judge Winmill. In its self-appointed capacity as political referee, the non-partisan No Labels group was presumably acting on behalf of the 42 percent of the state's electorate that considers themselves independent. These voters will be disenfranchised by this ruling if the ruling stands. Idaho's Republican Secretary of State, Ben Ysursa, reportedly called the ruling disappointing and said no decision had yet been made on whether to appeal. The move to open primaries is building steam in other parts of the country, including in California, where Proposition 14 was passed last year instituting open primaries in that st...

06 Mar 2011

Like so many other myths that the two parties push on the American people, the myth of Massachusetts being a hard core stronghold for democrats was shattered last year, when moderate republican Scott Brown filled the empty seat opened when Ted Kennedy died. The numbers below show you how that sort of thing was much more likely than you might think. From Mass Live: ...the percent of the state’s 4 million voters not affiliated with a political party leapt from 40.6 percent of the total in 1982 to 51.9 percent in 2010. Over the same 28-year period, the percent of registered Democrats in the state fell from 45.3 percent to 36.5 percent. Republican totals also dropped from 14 percent in 1982 to 11.3 percent in 2010. Anthony L. Cignoli, a Springfield political consultant, said independents rose in numbers largely because of the failure of the major political parties to fix the nation’s social and economic difficulties. Independents will conti...

01 Mar 2011

I was actually on this call (for part of it anyway, I got a call from my sister part way through), but Eliot Cutler and Charlie Crist hosted a town hall by phone event, with over seven thousand listeners. It was pretty interesting, and I"m looking forward to doing more of them. Its good No Labels is finally doing some things like this in the evening... as I can rarely make their calls in late mornings because of work, which I'm sure is the case for a lot of people. The Kennebec Journal has a nice write up on the call: The event was arranged by No Labels, a new Washington, D.C.-based group that is seeking to foster bipartisanship, and attracted more than 7,000 listeners from Maine and across the country. Cutler and Crist took six questions -- all from Mainers -- during the call that lasted about 35 minutes. "We need everyone working together -- all the folks who feel politically disenfranchised -- we need channels of communication, places t...