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...

16 Oct 2017

quote of centrist Republican Susan Collins on why she decided to stay in the Senate
The last decade has been an unmitigated disaster for centrists and moderates on both sides. For every Angus King, Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, there has been a dozen Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz'. As the two major parties abandoned us and created a vacuum, the political center in the U.S. has been in disarray. With a fraction of a percent of the funding the two major parties have at their disposal, having to start from close to scratch, without an organizational infrastructure or army of trained staff like we used to have when we were still welcome under major party tents - even though conditions are better than ever for a centrist movement to be sparked, we're still seeing very little electoral progress. While there are miles of electoral hurdles the two major parties have put up to make it harder for independents (centrist or otherwise) to participate equally in our increasingly undemocratic democratic republic, by far the biggest thing holdi...

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.” ...

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...

22 Feb 2011

There are assuredly a whole slew of lessons to be learned from the ongoing mess in Wisconsin, but one of the bigger ones is we just can't trust either party with power anymore. Just a few short years ago we gave George W. Bush and the republican party near total control of Washington and we got record spending, a series of tax cuts we couldn't afford and a long list of foreign policy mistakes that we'll be dealing with for generations. The American people got sick of their overstep and split government for a few years, then gave the democrats a shot, with the rise of Barack Obama. It didn't take long for the Democrats to take their own version of partisan arrogance to the next level, ignoring the will of the people on legislation like the health care bill's individual mandate, overpromising ad under delivering on the stimulus and racking up deficit spending unlike anything we've seen since World War II. Give either party total control in Wa...

18 Feb 2011

A flaw in our two party system is that both the Democratic and Republican parties put their political interests, including service to special interests with money, before the public interest. That fatal weakness in the two parties shows itself from time to time. I am not alone in questioning the loyalties of the two parties - Solomon here also poses similar questions in this and other contexts. According to a CNN report, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accused president Obma of a "lack of seriousness" on fiscal issues. CNN quoted Mr. McConnell as saying "I have said repeatedly -- and I know Speaker (John) Boehner has as well -- that with regard to .... entitlements, we're waiting for presidential leadership. We know and will say again that entitlement reform will not be done except on a bipartisan basis with presidential leadership. . . . . . It doesn't have to be in public. We all understand there are some limitations to negotiatin...

23 Jan 2011

One can argue that given our current situation the two party system has some real failings, despite our advantages. There is real discontent with both parties. This suggests some sort of problem. Reasonable questions include asking how and why we got here. Although there are multiple reasons, three major factors keep coming up: Special interest money, rigid political and religious ideology and self-interest before public interest. The last one is hard to pin down. Politicians in office rarely admit they put self-interest above the public interest. However, politicians out of office occasionally do. A recent example (brought to my attention by Jeff Vanke) is comments made by former California legislative leader Willie Brown, who recently said that the the civil service system was "set up so politicians like me couldn't come in and fire the people (relatives) hired by the guy they beat and replace them with their own friends and relatives. . . ....

10 Nov 2010

(Part 3 of 3 - see post on Democrats HERE & Republicans HERE) To folks who watch politics closely, no part of the spectrum is without culpability for the fiscal situation we are in. The remaining moderates from years of ideological purification bent too far and let both parties overspend and undertax our way to where we are, and its not like moderates are invulnerable to the all too easy urge to give more and ask for less... its been a long time since we had a major politician say anything near JFK's adage that we shouldn't just selfishly look to what the government can do for us. We've had problems with debt for generations, but have managed to keep those issues relatively small... up until the last few years. For a passionate centrist like myself, it would be very easy to merely point out that the debt problems really began to skyrocket around the same time as both parties began pushing moderates out and began working their way towards their...

10 Nov 2010

(Part 2 of 3 - see post on Democrats HERE and Centrists HERE) To folks who watch politics closely, no part of the spectrum is without culpability for the fiscal situation we are in. The remaining moderates from years of ideological purification bent too far and let both parties overspend and under tax our way to where we are, and its not like moderates are invulnerable to the all too easy urge to give more and ask for less… its been a long time since we had a major politician say anything near JFK’s adage that we shouldn’t just selfishly look to what the government can do for us. Riddle me this Republicans... how can one claim that one supports family values, while acting aggressively to set up a future where your children will, not might, face taxes at levels this country has never seen, a military a fraction of its current size and grandma and grandpa have to choose between paying their rent and buying food because their social security chec...

10 Nov 2010

(Part 1 of 3 - see post on Republicans HERE and Centrists HERE) To folks who watch politics closely, no part of the spectrum is without culpability for the fiscal situation we are in. The remaining moderates from years of ideological purification bent too far and let both parties overspend and under-tax our way to where we are, and its not like moderates are invulnerable to the all too easy urge to give more and ask for less... its been a long time since we had a major politician say anything near JFK's adage that we shouldn't just selfishly look to what the government can do for us. Democrats would do well to look to that great figure for inspiration in these times. On the left, those who refuse to even consider trimming any spending from entitlement programs refuse to see that without evening out our debt situation, when (not if) the debt starts squeezing money out of spending and forcing it towards debt repayment, it is the poor, elderly an...