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but what kind?
Published on July 13, 2007 By Sean Conners aka SConn1 In Politics
A new poll came out today that showed that 58% of Americans now believe that our political system needs a 3rd party. That is up from 40% just a few years ago. Today, CNN did a poll asking if America needs a 3rd party and Jack Cafferty reported that no one, and I mean no one, wrote in and said "everything is just fine."

I think it is safe to say that a majority of Americans would prefer it if the 2 major parties did not have such a stranglehold on our national politics, and in many areas of the country, our state and local ones as well. And where some independents, Libertarians and a few Green party members have had some limited successes at the local level, at the national level, politics outside any of the 2 major party affiliations is non-existant.

Even the handful of independent Congressional members have always had to caucus with one party or another once they arrive in Washington. Meaning they must sacrifice at least a portion of their independence and freedom from the 2 party duopoly from their 1st day on the job.

And even the most successful of the current "3rd parties" have never had any real success on the national level, sans the Reform Party's brief moment in the sun in the 1992 election. And this is for many reasons. But in the end, none of them generally offer enough of a plural message to appeal to a very wide audience.

So, if a 3rd party is to emerge, what kind would it be? Would it come from the left or right? Would it be more "centrist," which seems to be the en vogue political term of the season. Will it depend on what kind of candidates the big 2 parties offer the American people come next spring?

But more importantly, what kind of party would make you consider signing on, or at least give them a look? Are there prominent national figures or politicians you would like to see endorse such a party before you would look at it? Or do you think that the politicians will more likely follow the people in a lemming like, poll chasing fashion that has become all too typical.

If a 3rd party is to seriously compete on a national level, it will have to be well financed. As much as I dislike money in politics, the reality is, that without proper financial backing, a 3rd party would be a waste of time in the current landscape.

And I also believe that if a 3rd party is to have a prayer, it must exist beyond a Presidential campaign. It must have candidates promoting the party via smaller races. And that is where I believe people with some name recognition will help to save some money. Candidates with name recognition will allow them to spend less on their own campaign as well as spend time promoting a national ticket. And even if the Presidential campaign is unsuccessful in 2008, perhaps some Congressmen / women and other offices will be filled by the new party. Whatever platform and ideals the party is founded on, they must be ones that are built to last and not built on a purely political reactionary agenda.

Simply put, the party must be designed beyond just running show of a Presidential campaign.

To answer another of the questions I submitted above...I believe the party must be "centrist" in nature. And not because the 2 major parties have created an atmosphere where some claim only candidates who can appeal to the fringes can win. But because that's where most Americans simply are. Of course that won't appeal to the fringes, but the new party shouldn't fret over that at all. The lefties can stay with the democrats and the righties with the republicans.

Will anything happen? Who knows. There is the Unity 08 movemment, which seems to be gaining some momentum. But that won't be taken seriously as long as it's just an internet show of activists trying to push a fringe candidate on a larger audience depite the fringe message. Guys like Ralph Nader, Al Sharpton and the other usual band of loudmouth fringies won't cut it. And I expect by the time they hold their all too late "virtual convention" next summer, guys who might be able to make a substantial impact like Mike Bloomberg will have already made their choice and have their own machine up and running or no run at all.

And if Bloomberg runs as an independent, while it may have some impact on the 2 party duopoly in the short run, the 2 machines will still be entrenched with no opposition in a relatively short time. That's why, after much thought, it is my belief that it is people like him that need to be at the forefront of any serious 3rd party movement. And if he, or someone like him, with political and actual capital to invest need to take the lead in any serious 3rd party campaign. Not running a simple independent campaign, but beginning a real and legitimate 3rd party movement would be a call of Patriotism. And if someone like Bloomberg wants to be our President, answering such a call would be a great 1st step in showing he is worthy of holding the office of President.

on Jul 13, 2007
You pose some very good issues about a third party. There is little doubt that more and more Americans are disenchanted with the GOP and the Democrats. Both parties have chosen to support policies to the extreme and that simply creates the atmosphere you see today in Washington.

No party is willing to look at the issues facing our country. The GOP simply ignores the deficit and will not address the fact that a solution to that issue which is essential to resolve many other needs such as Social Security, Medicare and healthcare must come from better enforcement of existing tax laws and restoring the lost revenue from the Tax cuts to the wealthy. The Democrats start talking about adding new spending on education and health care before the agree on how to pay for what we are currently spending.

The practical problem I see is that if a viable third party was to be formed and able to elect members to Congress, how ANY legislation would get passed. It is hard with just two parties to affect cloture and get a bill out of the Senate. The only way that could happen is if the third party were to join with either the GOP or the democrats. That would also be the case if an independent were elected President. How would the policies of an independent president be passed into law or how would a presidential veto be overridden?

Could an independent be elected President? Maybe. Can a third party operate within our political system? I doubt it!
on Jul 14, 2007
Can a third party operate within our political system? I doubt it!

i think one could. but it would have to come on the scene like the reform party did in the early 90's. fast and with a lot of resources to actually compete. then they need to learn from the mistakes made don't throw a loon like ross up for president and another loon in the form of fake wrestler jesse "the body" ventura up for governor.

and they need to think long term, past 1 or 2 elections.
on Jul 14, 2007

You date yourself by only including 1992.  Forget not 1980.  John Anderson?

There is a lot of truth in your contentions, but the problem is with impotence.  The ones that are active, do not want to waste their vote (a truism in the short term, but then a necessity in the long term for a third party). And the rest dont give a damn (a symptom of a content society unfortunately) to vote at all.

on Jul 14, 2007
Forget not 1980. John Anderson

i've talked about john anderson before,,,but he was an independent if i remember correctly, wasn't he?
on Jul 14, 2007
i've talked about john anderson before,,,but he was an independent if i remember correctly, wasn't he?

True, but then that is where all 3rd parties originate. He was actually just a flash in the pan. Carter was (then) not a real liberal, and Reagan was a true conservative. John was just another in the the same vein, with less of a message, and no base. So that election, philosophically, was between 3 center to center right candidates.

Had he been around in say 2000, he would have done much better.
on Jul 14, 2007
Had he been around in say 2000, he would have done much better.

possibly,,,he seemed like a decent enough guy, which has gotten much rarer, lol.
on Jul 14, 2007
which has gotten much rarer, lol.

There are any?
on Jul 14, 2007
If a third party developed in Congress it would have to be able to side with either the GOP or Democrats depending on the issue. For example on energy if the third party came down on the side of establishing a government directed plan that used tax incentives and disincentives as well as require higher gas mileage we could see some movement. That would most likely mean the 3rd party would have to side with the Democrats. If the issue was abortion, a third party might require more restrictions on abortion and side with the GOP. If the issue were to balance the budget they would most likely need to side with the Democratic position and include both spending cuts and increased taxes on upper income Americans. If the issue were immigradton they would need to side with the conservatives.
on Jul 15, 2007
i think you are right on most of that col.