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 ...

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 ...

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...

30 Nov 2010

The United States could have an instantly strong centrist party if Blue Dog Democrats and Main Street Republicans came together in a centrist party.  This third party would ally with Democrats on some issues and Republicans on others.  The United States does not need an either-or two-party system.  The United States suffers increasingly for this system. Many of Europe's political parties were born of such party splits. Heath Shuler's recent intra-party challenge to Nancy Pelosi drew more interest than connoted by his 43 votes.  We could add to that the 28 Blue Dog losses in this year's House races.  Comparable centrist Democratic Senators who might be interested include North Dakota's Kent Conrad. Of course, there aren't many center-right Congressional Republicans any more.  But if Blue Dog Dems led the way, a few of Congress's less dogmatic Republicans might be enticed.  Thirty-eight-year-old Shuler himself, a former star quarterback, woul...

20 Nov 2010

We need a Tom Horner in every state. We spend an awful lot of time looking at the problems around us and, for those of us who have invested significant amounts of time in political endeavors, it often feels like the problems facing our country are a giant weed that we keep hacking at, but can't get to the root. It just comes back bigger and nastier two years later. Tom Horner gave it his best shot in Minnesota, running on the Independence Party line for governor last cycle. Shooting the moon like that works sometimes, but not this time. Unlike most independents though, he isn't fading back into obscurity. He's showing us what we need from our leaders... staying power and the willingness to do the thankless unseen work that gets done behind the scenes - that pave the way for people to accomplish great things later on. Instead of licking his wounds and going back to private life, he's taken a look around and seen that what really needs to be ...

06 Oct 2010

For those of you who aren't so crazy partisan to not be able to see reality, you can certainly say three things about liberal polling/stats blogger at the FiveThirtyEight Blog, which recently was bought by The New York Times. You can say he's extremely intelligent, you can say his statistical analysis is among the best of the best, and you can say that he does usually look for an angle that helps his particular viewpoint, like any partisan. So its encouraging that he, like many bloggers in the center, also sees some scenarios where a well funded centrist candidate would see some daylight between the GOP and Democrats, and have a shot at winning a presidential race. As I've said elsewhere, I think 2012 is premature (maybe sometime in the 2020's - it will take a long time to build a national centrist network of organizations), but I agree with him that a well funded roughly centrist candidate could break through given a extremist GOP candidate a...