Monday, May 15, 2006

What It Takes To Build A Viable Third Party. Part III: The Roof, Walls, And Floors

If I haven't bored the majority of you by now, there are a few more things that would be necessary to create and sustain a viable third party. But in case you haven't read them yet, here are the three posts that preceded this one:

Intro:
Then And Now, a post by my good friend Mustang of Social Sense. Which in turn, inspired these:

Part I:
The Foundation

Part II:
The Frame

Now that the foundational structure of our third party is in place, there are things that will make it functional and give it more purpose. But before I get into that, there are some things to note.

There have been more than two parties for a long time, yet, just two of them have the lion's share of the wealth and the support. Libertarians, Socialists, Communists, the Constitution Party (et al.), all have ran candidates for President. None have ever been serious contenders, maybe with the exception of Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party, in the early 1900s.

The most serious challenges have been issue-oriented and have involved a big name from within the two major parties.

Besides Perot, there have been two other fairly serious presidential campaigns that challenged the two-party system, in my lifetime. In 1968,
George Wallace and in 1980, John Anderson ran for president under third parties; with Wallace in the American Independent Party and Anderson in the National Unity Party.

Centrism was the focal point of Anderson's campaign. It failed because voters were just not that apathetic, yet. Besides that, a man named Ronald Reagan had revived a common sense approach to politics, known as conservatism. All ears were on him. After four years of liberal Presidential politics, there was a sense of apathy alright. There was double digit inflation (interest rates too), Americans were being held hostage by a terrorist state, and the American dream was fast heading for the tank. But Reagan gave a message of vision and hope. People bought into it. And as a result, Anderson's candidacy was doomed from the start.

Anderson played on the fears that the Dems were generating about Reagan, being a warmonger and would start to push buttons, asking questions later. People were not happy with Carter at all. With the exceptions of his Georgia cronies and the "pie-in-the-sky" liberals that were a distinct minority (as they are now), his popularity was low, very low. But, those pie-in-the-sky liberals played the warmonger card on Reagan and Anderson believed he could actually offer a "not Carter" candidate (one that was terribly inept as a chief executive), and a "not Reagan" candidate (one that would use reason, instead of bombs).

Centrism was not at the forefront of George Wallace's 1968 bid, though. In fact, he was further to the right than Nixon on many issues. Nixon was the centrist candidate in this one. Using a "law and order" campaign and promises of "throwing the bureaucrats' brief cases into the Potomac River", Wallace went for the hard right support and won five southern states. He was considered a fringe candidate, because of his segregationist views. He came down on the wrong side of this and other people's issues in many people's minds.

These people had no intention of starting a viable third party, they only wanted to be President. They may have used issues of the day to engineer support for their candidacies, but they gave no thought to how they would have had to deal with the system they bucked, in the process. They lacked the first two components and were content to run on a populist platform, alone.

Today, any viable third party would have to be on the right side of certain specific issues. These would be the core issues that the two major parties have danced around with no clear-cut stance or ignored altogether, for the specific purpose of maintaining power. They are the issues that are the most pressing of my lifetime. And if they are not dealt with properly, it will result in an overall deterioration of the health and well-being of this nation.

Two of the most important core issues are:

Homeland Security

This includes both domestic and foreign operations. The border is and should be at the forefront of this issue.The stand for contolled borders needs to be made firmly and surely. There are other issues of Homeland Security that have not been up to snuff, but to save time I will not go into details.

Taxation

They new party would need to be on the side of the Fair Tax. For too long, tthe federal government has been operating on an antiquated and unfair tax code. I suggest everyone read
The Fair Tax Book by Neal Boortz anf John Linder. Read it and you'll see why.

There are many other issues that I could mention, but let's suffice it to say that when looking at each and every issue, by itself; we should look at what position, is the position, that allows the individual citizen to have the most freedom possible and still maintain law and order. Any law that strips people of their freedom, needs to be looked at as a bad law. It may sound like a contradiction to make that last statement, knowing that I want stronger, smarter, and better Homeland Security. But there are ways to do that and not strip the American citizen of any freedoms.

In fact, I cannot think of how the government has stripped me of any freedom, since 9-11. I haven't been subject to anything, unusual. My rights have not been violated. If they want to listen in on my conversations and be bored to tears, the only reason I would be mad, is because they would be wasting my tax dollars. I am zero threat.


The truth is they aren't. They are listening to al-Qaida.

So after all of this, is it possible to start a viable third party? Yes. Is it probable? No.

Money is the biggest factor I have left out, in this entire rant. It takes a lot of money to even get a voice. And to get money, you need a voice that is already established enough in the current system. Someone that has an established machine that can make things happen right away. Someone that can jumpstart it, if you will. Beyond Tom Tancredo, there are not very many people that can carry a sufficient number of big donors, because those donors are the special interests that don't want the system changed, to begin with. Did you know that many special interest groups and individual donors will often give to both campaigns in a race? They play both sides angainst each other and no matter who wins, they can say they gave and hopefully gain favor.

Like I said, this is not to be considered exhaustive in any way, nor should it be considered to be textbook material, a thesis, or even a high school term paper. What I hope it will do, is show some more insight into the makings of a successful third party and how the deck is stacked against it. Unless, it is done right and a few breaks are caught along the way, the odds aren't good.


The End

6 comments:

A.C. said...

I think there is probably room for 2 extra parties. The Green party, if they can paint their party as more than just enviro-nuts. The only reason Al Gore is getting mentioned as a possible 08 candidate is because he's been hitting on global warming 24/7. If the democrats won't play that card, the Greens could.

Libertarians will never win anything--people see them as too cold even if they're closer to the founders than most parties. A think a reasonable mix, like you say--stronger on defense than the dems but less apt to favor big business will be a winner. Even though Bush ran as a compassionate conservative, people will more accept that same platform under a name other than republican, I think.

LASunsett said...

AC,

Libertarians will never win anything--people see them as too cold even if they're closer to the founders than most parties.

Libertarians have a fringe element to them. And quite frankly, they are bit on the scary side. There are many that believe the federal government has no right to intervene in much of anything. This faction does not support Homeland Security measures, even in the least intrusive form. Many are outright paranoid and are anarchists, too.

But there are many like Neal Boortz that are grounded and sensible. That's about where I stand.

ms. miami said...

lasunsett- you're right about the money issue. as long as we maintain a 'first-past-the-post' electoral system, only two parties can be viable and it takes great effort to displace either of them.

regarding the tax issue, let me just say that this is a very anglo-saxon view that is prominent here, but not really elsewhere in the world. i think that as our demographics change and other mentalities vie with the anglo-saxon model, this view may not hold out in the long term (albeit, perhaps really long term)

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

regarding the tax issue, let me just say that this is a very anglo-saxon view that is prominent here, but not really elsewhere in the world. i think that as our demographics change and other mentalities vie with the anglo-saxon model, this view may not hold out in the long term (albeit, perhaps really long term)

If you really want the rich to pay their fair share of taxes, a consumption tax is the best way to ensure it. Otherwise, there are many that own great capital, show no income, and therefore pay no taxes. With the Fair tax, you buy, you pay. No exceptions.

Not only that. Every foreigner in this country visiting or living here, legal or illegal, will pay. No exceptions.

With the exception of local or state income taxes, as well as retirements and healthcare deductions, you get what you gross. No more withholding, at least by the feds. The state can opt to do this too and eliminate income taxes and property taxes.

Read that book, when you get the chance. It's an easy read and you can sit and read it in an afternoon, if you do not have any interruptions. A couple of days, if you (like me) are constantly getting interrupted.

And, it's now in paperback. ;)

BabyHair said...

The Working Families Party in New York seems to be getting noticed particularly by the Democrats. I read an interesting article about them in the May 2006 issue of The American Prospect magazine.

BabyHair said...

The Working Families Party in New York has been making some noise. I read an interesting article about them in the May 2006 issue of The American Prospect magazine.