Saturday, May 13, 2006

What It Takes To Build A Viable Third Party. Part II: The Frame

In What It Takes To Build A Viable Third Party. Part I: The Foundation , I spoke of the need for a firm foundation. Truth, honesty, and integrity were the chief components. (There are more, but I am trying not to write a text book here)

The next thing necessary is the frame.

You have heard the saying that all politics is local? Well, the framework of any political party must begin at the grass roots level. Too many people that have tried this have focused on winning election to some executive branch (president, governor, mayor), but rarely have you seen a high-profile candidacy for legislative office, at any level. Ross Perot had a golden opportunity to do this right. But, Ross being Ross, used the grass roots support that fell into his lap, for his own selfish purposes. It was all or nothing, with him. That shows that the whole foundation was wrong to start with.

The reason Jesse Ventura failed as he did, was the framework. The two major parties made up the state legislature. He belonged to the Reform Party initially, and later switched to independent. He had no allies. Both sides of the aisle pummelled him. His foundation was sound. I felt he was honest and sincerely wanted to do the right things, for the right reasons. And although he had good intentions, he did not have the structural support in place, necessary to govern effectively. No help from Perot or his little play toy, the Reform Party, either.

Look, if a person wants to concentrate on winning an executive office at some level, they must keep this in mind. It may make a statement (and rightly so), but the likelihood that anything will get accomplished, is not very good, unless there are some allies in the legislature. It may shock people, when an office is won by a third party. But, the shock soon wears off and the day-to-day business, must at some point begin.

For a viable third party to exist and have influence there will have to be efforts to seat officials, at all three levels in government. That throws things into more of a tailspin for the two major parties, much more so than winning and holding executive office. If the two big ones are evenly divided, both will be forced to kiss up to the third party, for much needed support and votes on legislation. That puts a minority third party in an optimal position to bargain. If the American people see that third party make their stands based on principle, it may encourage and energize people to vote more of that party's candidates into more offices, as a sign of confidence.

It's a tough sell, that is for sure. But, given the right circumstances, it could work. It will take more than just the foundation and the frame.

In part three, I will elaborate further.

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