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Explain this to me. I really want to know.
Hundreds of thousands if not millions of voting Americans are sick and tired of the Democrats not getting anything done and the Republicans marching us to a fascist state run by the rich. They don't believe in most of what each party says because the Dems and Repubs don't mean what they say. They get madder and madder each time "our " government gives away money to Wall Street or big Oil or starts another godforsaken war somewhere to pay big bucks to the war contractors (Our "Department of Defense" is actually the "Department of Offensives"), while when something needs to be done to bail out our school systems or keep local governments from fiscally collapsing or paying for decent health care for everyone the Dems and Repubs tell us "it's not fiscally responsible."
And yet we can't "just say no" to continued support of either Dems or Republicans?

Who are these politicians we keep in office, that we give control of our lives over to? Why are they in office? They say they are there to serve the people, and I assume to maybe participate in creating some great achievement – yet here is the most momentous positive change to American society since the inception of universal public schooling and they can barely scrape up enough votes to pass a watered down version!Tell me, if this isn’t a "great achievement" for them, what are they holding out for? A really really big pork barrel project?
Any Congressperson who voted against universal health care has no purpose being in politics. If they are so STUPID and SELFISH and POWER-HUNGRY that they can’t see a momentous advance staring them in the face, somebody please tell me why they are in office? Well, because we put them there. We were the stupid idiots who chose stupid idiots to represent us. The only reason Congresspeople do things for us is to get us to re-elect them. And once elected they are superior enough to tell us what’s good for us. Pardon me -- the special interests that move in on them get to tell them what’s good for us.  Plain and simple.
The fools who voted against HCR because that's what most of their constituents called for were not doing it because because they are following the will of the people, but because they want to get re-elected – even if they shoot down HCR in the process. Well hell, why do we need a "representative" who’s going to just vote whichever way the mob decides? Might as well just go with mob rule and get rid of the middleman.
So we HAVE to do this every time? Pick between the hapless idiot or the devious idiot and put one of them in office because we "have" to vote for Dems or Repubs? Explain this to me.... we can’t form a third party and not vote for either?
I really can’t figure it out. Are we a nation of sheep? Are we afraid to upset our comfortable mindset of life? Do we have no independent compass of guidance for our actions?  Is the "new" scary?  Are we too much invested in keeping the current system going?  Is it too much trouble to change?
I don’t know. I just see and hear more and more people getting more and more pissed at what the Dems and Repubs do, and nothing happening to change anything. Keep voting Dem, or Repub, or Dem, or Repub ... what was that definition of insanity?
So tell me,  please ... we can’t make a major third party  because....?

Originally posted to fourthcornerman on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:31 AM PDT.


We can't start a major third party because

3%2 votes
1%1 votes
7%4 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
5%3 votes
9%5 votes
3%2 votes
1%1 votes
5%3 votes
7%4 votes
3%2 votes
50%27 votes

| 54 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    josephk, Quicklund

    "There is no radical change without blood spent"

    by fourthcornerman on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:31:30 AM PDT

    •  See Nader, Ralph. nt (17+ / 0-)

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:32:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can't build a party top down (6+ / 0-)

        Nader running for POTUS was a ridiculous exercise of either self promotion or ego gone wild

        there IS a path for developing outside of the '2 party system' -- but that requires building from the bottom up -- which means -- getting people elected at the local level ... and not moving up until You have a well established base of support at those levels

        for example ... the "green party" does nothing but waste time, energy, resources by running a POTUS candidate -- the self promotion isn't worth the cost of ending up looking ridiculous

        at the local levels -- these alternate parties would be able to streamline their message for local issues

        "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

        by josephk on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:27:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nader actually had that thru the PIRG groups (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          he had set up in each state - it was a natural transition from PIRGs to a major political party.

          I agree w others who have posted here that to really encourage a lot of parties the constitution would need to be tweaked, but I don't know that that would handle the diarist's objection. The first "coaltion" govt set up by diarist's party of choice - where they would have to make an alliance with a party version of "blue dogs" or something - would send diarist's head exploding.

          That's what I never get about the third party talk - it treats multiple party systems as a way to legislate ideological purity, when in reality it just doesn't work that way.

          "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

          by grannyhelen on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:32:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  but You need to get elected (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            using the USPIRG groups as a platform for a POLITICAL party (assuming You are correct) isn't a valid political strategy -- it MAY be a valid policy strategy -- but the diarist is addressing politics

            i totally agree with You regarding the coalition -- though, i honestly don't know exactly what a coalition would look like in this country -- my problem in the idea of multiple national parties -- is that the public is so uninformed of politics and policy in this country it can barely handle two -- now the flip of this MIGHT be that so many people feel marginalized by lack of representation that a broader choice MAY bring more people AND more interest into the political and policy process

            but again ... imo ... that NEEDS to start at the local levels

            "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

            by josephk on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:44:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  See V, IR (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        josephk, phonegery

        Instant Runoff Voting would eliminate the claim, and the concern, that a third-party vote is "throwing your vote away".  I remain firmly convinced that anyone who wants to break the D-R duopoly needs to be pushing for IRV nationwide.

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:08:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't think You are completely correct (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I remain firmly convinced that anyone who wants to break the D-R duopoly needs to be pushing for IRV nationwide.

          i don't actually see how IRV leads naturally to this outcome -- in fact, i can well see it more enshrining the duopoly (and D-R leaders might do well to embrace it) ... BECAUSE of Your first:

          Instant Runoff Voting would eliminate the claim, and the concern, that a third-party vote is "throwing your vote away".

          this way, people could vote for ... say Nader (on the left) or some Tea Party candidate (on the right) and yet retain confidence that they aren't throwing the election to the candidate that they definitely don't want by presenting a tiered selection -- in this way, more people can be brought into the electoral/political process while also providing critical demographic/political data for parties

          "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

          by josephk on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:26:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't follow your logic (0+ / 0-)

            I don't see how more people voting for someone who is neither Democratic nor Republican (as their first choice) helps the Democratic and Republican parties.  I think it reduces their power, not strengthens it, by providing an alternative to the binary illusion delusion that is U.S. politics. It would certainly reduce their power over me.

            As for D-R leaders embracing it, you must have a different news source than me.  I've seen no evidence of that.  

            I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

            by tle on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:18:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Because the Run Off candidates will be D-R (0+ / 0-)

              in virtually 100% of the cases ...

              it would be few enough cases that a party candidate outside of D-R would actually advance in the runoff that it would become of significance

              again, though, i am certainly NOT a critic of IRV -- i REALLY like the concept and practice ... i just don't think that it creates (by itself) the environment of additionaly party representation ...

              -- it would allow a person like me to vote for Big L LIBERAL nee socialist peacenik Candidate (knowing full well this candidate won't be elected, but satisfied that i was able to 'vote my conscience') while ensuring that my tiered vote does NOT lead to electing the person/party that i am completely opposed to

              ... in other words ... it gives me personal satisfaction, but i don't see how the simple consequence of IRV leads necessarily to opening up the D-R duopoly ...

              or -- to use the all too often 'boogie man' around here -- Ralph Nader ... people could have voted Ralph Nader then Al Gore ... and Nader would NOT have won, but nor would Bush have either! ....

              "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

              by josephk on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:51:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  No. Nader was the wrong person. (0+ / 0-)

        Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

        by keeplaughing on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:49:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's easier to reform the Democratic party... (15+ / 0-)

    ...from within than it is to form a new party.  Get active locally - 5 years ago, I had no experience in politics, today I'm the co-chair of the elections committee on my local Democratic Town Committee and a delegate to our state convention.  Make your voice heard!

  •  Just off hand, (4+ / 0-)

    nothing would get done. period.

    Votes would almost certainly never attain a majority vote when split 3 ways.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:37:14 AM PDT

  •  What stopping it? (8+ / 0-)

    People willing to join.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:40:51 AM PDT

  •  Meh...teabaggers have similar complaints n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NewDealer, Deep Texan

    "In a serious struggle there is no worse cruelty than to be magnanimous at an inopportune time." Leon Trotsky

    by HGM MA on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:40:55 AM PDT

  •  We need.... a... Leader!!! (14+ / 0-)

    And, yes, I'm looking at you, fourthcornerman!!!!

    Tell us where to march and we'll be right behind you! Take us to the Promised Land!!!!

    My Jim Bunning is inflamed so I have been forced to use that toilet paper with the lanolin in it.

    by Bob Johnson on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:43:28 AM PDT

  •  Keep defeating the worst and electing the best (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in both current until a new Progressive Party can be declared. If the R's and Tea People can be minimized in 2010 we have a good start.

  •  Multiple parties seem to work in other countries (0+ / 0-)

    The shifting coalitions formed of necessity to make a ruling majority keep the governments closely adjusted to public sentiment. In our either-or system repeated ideas and mistakes get so ingrained they become the status quo. And one side can gain power by pushing huge propaganda campaigns claiming the other party is doing all sorts of bad things.
    Two party system perhaps worked best in an  agrarian, non-electronic society, but we're seeing the very worst of what it can be today.

    "There is no radical change without blood spent"

    by fourthcornerman on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:53:22 AM PDT

    •  Much as I"d like to agree with you... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dauphin, condorcet, Deep Texan
      - because I live in the UK and it would be a Very Good Thing if the Liberal Democrats - the largest of the 'third parties' - were to gain enough seats even to force the other two parties to take them seriously...

      it's not going to happen unless we have proportional voting. And even then, it depends on the kind of proportional voting.

      You have to change the electoral system first, and while it keeps those in power.... in power, they're not going to change it.  Think turkeys, thanksgiving, voting for.

      'The behavior of any bureaucratic organisation can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.' Robert Conquest

      by Airmid on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:56:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If people really, really, really wanted a (5+ / 0-)

      multiple party system that's what they would have - there is nothing unconstitutional about third, or even fourth, parties.

      Why don't you tell us why the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party, the Reform Party, the Whig Party, the Liberal Republicans or any of these other parties haven't (or hadn't) made that big of an impact?

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:57:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Look, there IS a viable strategy to form one. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...but starting as a national party is a recipe for failure and fringe status.

    The secret is switchers: any new party that hopes to maintain a semblance of credibility needs to bring aboard people considered credible by the other parties.  The easiest way to find them is to look for people who've already been elected to other parties.  Pick a city that's solidly behind one party, left or right, and then --beg, cajole, pressure, promise, whatever it takes--get an elected official within that city to commit to the third party operation.  Concentrate the party's national support on that one area (the Libertarian one-state strategy was even too ambitious: had they started with one city in South Carolina, built up their bench, established their credibility, then they'd have had a shot).

    Switching-based party building can work on an individual level (one race in one city) or on a national level (see: how every Israeli political party since 1970 has formed and grown).

    There are two risks attendant.  First, you risk tying the party to a single personality.  If I say "Green Party" the first thing people think of is "Ralph Nader."  For good or ill, that's the connection that's made.  But if they'd gotten Bob Barr to change parties while he was still in Congress, or if the Greens had gotten McKinney to flip in the mid-90s, then a much greater Atlanta-based 3rd party push (just to pick a metropolitan area as an example) would have been possible.  Actually, Atlanta would be a great pick for a 3rd party movement: the right-wingers have pseudo-libertarian Neal Boortz and Bob Barr to lead them; the Left has McKinney and any number of disgruntled also-rans who were kept from higher office by the state Democratic Party; both sides have extra-party infrastructure that's more ideological than partisan (the Left has a very strong network of black churches inside the city; the Right has the Fair Taxers); and neither side faces real competition in its strongholds (no Democrat is going to win in Cherokee or Cobb in the near future; no Republican is going to win in Dekalb or South Fulton).

    The other problem is partisan strategy: the goal can't be to field a candidate in every race, every time, right from the start.  Rather, the strategy would need to target specific, isolated campaigns in targeted races, where either the incumbent is viewed with apathy by the voters or where s/he can be convinced to switch to the new party.  This allows all a 3rd party's resources to be targeted to a specific campaign and a single market.

    But if you want a national shift, that's not in the cards, at least not in the immediate future, and not without a national popular vote for President (which would encourage regional candidacies and force multi-party strategic negotiations).

    My 1/50th of a buck.

    "When those windmills start to chop people up, tilting at them may not only be rational, but may become a necessity." -arodb

    by JR on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:54:52 AM PDT

  •  The Green Party already exists, and I'm joining. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MD patriot
  •  Because the world is the world... (5+ / 0-)

    and not what you want it to be.  And it's much, much bigger than you are.

    If you form a third party with a bunch of people who don't agree with either the Democrats or the Republicans, it's going to include A LOT of people who don't agree with each other either.  And if somebody from your party ever gets elected, they will turn into a politician as well--because that's what political power does to men and women.

    All of the above.  So how do you think you're going to beat them odds.

  •  The last time I voted for a third party candidate (0+ / 0-)

    was in 1980.  I voted for John Anderson.

    Ronald Reagan won the election.

  •  You can make a new major political party. (0+ / 0-)

    Just don't recruit for it here.

    Good luck.

    "I know this defies the law of gravity, but you see, I never studied law." -Bugs Bunny

    by KroneckerD on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:11:15 AM PDT

  •  Your own poll answers your question. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Citizen, skohayes, TheLizardKing

    All those choices listed, and none of them is my answer:

    "Because it would be stupid, futile, and self-destructive."

  •  Because a new party on any side of (4+ / 0-)

    the spectrum would due to the voting system give the opposition dominance for a few election cycles.

    All first-past-the-post voting systems encourage two parties to dominate. If there is a left-wing and a right-wing party they will both get about 50% of the vote (give or take a few percentage points). If there are two parties on the same side of the spectrum, the leftist or the rightist votes will be divided while crossover from the other camp will be low, ensuring that the opposition cleans up.

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:14:13 AM PDT

    •  Ding, ding, ding! A Winner!!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dauphin, NewDealer

      And an answer not on the poll.

      The current voting system discourages third party candidates from running because they could spoil a victory for the lesser evil of the two major parties.

      Reform the voting system with Instant Runoff Voting or Condorcet and you give third parties a chance to compete without scaring voters with the "Nader" possibility.

      Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

      by Phoenix Rising on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:08:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Third parties from the left are bad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Citizen

    because they hurt the chances of Democrats being elected. Third parties from the right are made of awesome. The structure of our winner take all electoral system has more to do with the lack of viable 3rd parties here than anything else.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:17:47 AM PDT

  •  I don't really understand the point of these (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabienne, grannyhelen, hazzcon

    types of diaries. If you want to elevate a third party, vote for a third-party candidate. End of story.

    "[K]now that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy." -Barack Obama

    by Battle4Seattle on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:20:43 AM PDT

  •  No proportional representation is the reason (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hazzcon, condorcet, skohayes

    The reason we have two parties and can't start a third one is not for any sort of conspiratorial reason or failure of character or anything like that. It's built into our electoral system. Every democracy that does have multi parties also has proportional representation. We have instead a winner-take-all, district-based way of electing representatives to Congress. Since there can be only one winner in a House race, there is a natural benefit to combining forces into broad coalitions rather than splitting votes and going for the candidate you would really like best. If you vote (say) for the Green candidate in your district, all you will accomplish is to help the Republican candidate win. But if we had proportional representation, that would not be true, and we would have more parties represented in Congress.

    I didn't vote in your poll because, like most people who get fired up over this issue, you didn't list the real reason and are getting angry at the wrong people. If you want to give more than two parties a chance, you need to amend the Constitution so that we have proportional representation. Until that's done, two parties we will have, and there's no point in whining about it.

  •  There are plenty of third parties (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grannyhelen, skohayes

    First of all, this is a Democratic Party blog, I wouldn't expect a warm reception for the prospect of forming a third party. We don't have a two party system in this country, it's just an artifact of how we do elections. A third party splits the vote, and only serves as a spoiler. The the GOP candidate gets 40%, the Democrat gets 30%, and the hypothetical liberal party gets 30%, the Republican wins, despite 60% wanting a more liberal candidate.

    There are a lot of third parties out there, if those have failed to gain any ground what makes you think that yet another third party would do any better? The Green Party isn't focused enough on real solutions, and has too strong a tendency to focus on symbolic gestures.

    But in any case, you always come up against the problem of the split vote. If you want a viable third party, what you want is Instant Runoff Voting. It allows a viable third party, without the spoiler effect.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:27:58 AM PDT

  •  Because there are very few voters to the left of (7+ / 0-)

    One of the things I find puzzling about progressives (and I consider myself one) is that many of us wrongly believe that the vast majority of American voters think the way we do.  Most voters are extremely low information voters, and about half are conservative.  Many of the remainder are regular lunch bucket Democrats.  

    A third party to the left of the Democrats would get Kucinich/Nader levels of support -- as has been proven over and over and over again.

    A third party is much more likely to be to the right of the Democrats.

    Again, this has been proven by recent history.  The most successful third party movements in my lifetime were John Anderson (1980) and Ross Perot (1992), both of whom positioned themselves to the center of Republicans and Democrats.  One cost Jimmy Carter his presidency and the other cost George HW Bush his.

    •  Lunch-Bucket Dems Get Called TROLLS Here (0+ / 0-)


      •  Yet they are much more reliable precisely because (0+ / 0-)

        their interests are at stake, while ideologically motivated progressive voters are more likely to bolt as we've seen in the health care debate.

        And then they wonder why the party caters to the lunch bucket Democrats rather than to their ideology.

    •  Great Many of Those are HIGH Information Voters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      who are horrendously misinformed.

      The corporatists and the right have spent billions, possibly trillions, making the information environment of the country structurally insane. It takes an unusual type of person with unusual skepticism to realize that their entire nation is at information war against them, which is not a normal reasonable thought unless there are tanks or troops in the streets.

      It's correct, but it's not reasonable to expect the American population to believe truthful things.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:45:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree with your conclusion about the position (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of a third party but your reason that most voters are extremely low information voters assumes that a majority with your knowledge would vote exactly like you. This disrespects the spectrum of values (not all of which are simply economic or religious) of voters and their abilities to sort and choose among candidates.

      •  Didn't mean to imply at all (0+ / 0-)

        that people with the same information as me would vote like me.  In fact the thrust of the comment is exactly the opposite -- that most people whether they are high information or low information voters do not think like me and are conservative or centrist Democrats, not self-described progressives.

        •  Thanks for clarifying (0+ / 0-)

          I must admit that I bristle at the terms "high" or "low" information voter. What do those terms mean anyway?

          •  Low information voters (0+ / 0-)

            There are simply many, many people who vote but who don't follow politics the way any person participating in a forum like DK would.  I know many people who don't even know what the basic difference between Democrats and Republicans are -- who don't have any concept of the basic ideological differences or care what "liberal" or "conservative" mean.  But they vote.

            Then there are people who look for information only to validate their own views -- Fox News viewers, Free Republic and DemocraticUnderground types who have a lot of wrong information and think everyone simply must think the same as them.

            •  Ok, I think I get it, but (0+ / 0-)

              in my country, we elect representatives--persons, not parties nor ideologies--and give them great latitude under a constitution, to conduct the public business. We do it this way because we rely on the premise that we can re-elect or retire those representatives in 2 or 4 or 6 years if they fail our expectations.

    •  If you were a bit older (0+ / 0-)

      you would remember the likes of George Wallace and others who actually managed to win the vote in a number of southern states in a number of presidential elections in the 60's. They at one time called themselves Democrats, but because of their segregationist views split from the party.

      I guess we call them Blue Dog Democrats today

      •  Actually, I am old enough to remember Wallace (0+ / 0-)

        I guess my memory failed me because I was confusing 1968 and 1972, misremembering and thinking that his near assassination took him out of the 1968 race.  I forgot that that was 72, and that he did well in 68 as a 3rd party candidate.

        And yes, he was an exception to my generalizations because he ran to the right of a major party rather than to the center of both parties.

  •  missing an option in your poll (0+ / 0-)

    It just wouldn't work.  

    The two party system is too strong.  

  •  Christian Conservatives Understood Why Not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Citizen

    They did what Thom Hartmann and Howard Dean realized, that the answer is to take over one of the existing parties.

    That way you start off with full media access including news coverage, plus you have much of the funding of the political party.

    Don't let the tea party fool you--it's a creation of media itself, and it's voting overwhelmingly Republican. It's simply not a real party at all.

    If you have enough people to start a 3rd party then you have more than enough to take over the Democrats. But if you don't have enough to take over the Democrats, you surely won't have enough to get a 3rd party to defeat both the Democrats and Republicans.

    We need to get progressives into membership offices in the local and regional Democratic Party, and we need to get progressives elected onto school boards, town councils, and on up across the nation.

    Take over the party by staffing it from the bottom up.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:42:36 AM PDT

  •  How about.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabienne, A Citizen, stegro, HPrefugee

    ....because we tried it before and it didn't work. I am sympathetic to your thoughts on this. I voted for Nader in 2000, figuring that we could build some momentum for a third party, or at least throw a scare into the Democrats and make them move left. Neither thing happened. I'm not sure how we're supposed to accomplish this and Nader's 2000 run was the strongest lefty third party movement since Henry Wallace's run in '48. In fact, that opposite happened. The Green Party never really got off the ground, Nader was badly discredited, and the Democrats moved to the right and meekly submitted to whatever Bush wanted, despite Gore winning a plurality of the popular vote. I really think our only option is to take over the Democrats, because I can't really come up with a scenario by which we move the agenda left by starting a third party.

    •  Greens (0+ / 0-)

      The Greens made themselves all about Nader. You can't really build a party from the top races down, it has to be built from the bottom races (school board, city council, state legislature, etc) up. And the spoiler effect always bites you.

      The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

      by A Citizen on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:52:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The system as set up wont allow it (0+ / 0-)

    We need to massively change how we hold and fund elections before a third party would be anything close to viable.

    Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

    by Whimsical on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:56:50 AM PDT

  •  Structure discourages third party (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    condorcet, NewDealer

    Structually our voting system discourages the formation of third parties. If you really want to know why start here Plurality Voting

  •  Because it's fucking stupid. (0+ / 0-)

    Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

    by Troubadour on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:20:23 AM PDT

  •  The Answer to your question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabienne, amk for obama

    There is an essential paradox in the hard realities that have to be confronted if a new party is to gain any ground.

    Those who are impatient with the process are not going to prove enduring or tough enough to go through a lifetime of sustained effort to overcome the complexities and problems associated with establishing a real party.  

    Those who are patient enough and enduring enough to confront the realities of dealing with large enough numbers of fellow humans in order to see something get accomplished will find that the Democratic Party can be "taken over" by anyone persistent enough to try.  

    A lot of the impatience with the Democratic Party that I have seen over the three decades I have been involved with politics seems to me to stem from the difference between the way things appear to the uninitiated and the way they really are.  That difference comes from the media almost entirely.  Our assumptions about what is going on and how things work don't square with reality until we have had a pretty good education in attempts to deal with other people who are pushing hard to accomplish something.  

    Why does the media do such a terrible job of reflecting the truth of how citizenship actually works?  Mainly because media education is based on an industrial, corporate ethic.  "Objectivity" means ignoring anything that comes from commitment.  One must never cross the line between the role of an observer who knows nothing really, and a committed participant who then operates from real insight.

    If you want real insight into how reality actually works and how citizens can actually operate in such a fashion as to have an impact, find someone with experience, and as many such people as possible, and talk to them yourself.

    Be the media means encountering people who have been there and done that.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:22:27 AM PDT

  •  because there is not a critical mass (0+ / 0-)

    of enough people willing to do the hard work over a long, long period of time to actually build something that can last.  You cannot build a winning party in one or even 3 election cycles.

    People who try to build a nationally viable third party are very impatient and rarely understand what it takes.

    The other main problem is that third parties are typically one issue or very narrow, too narrow to build a winning majority.  Look at Ross Perot - his was a one man crusade against NAFTA and deficits.

    Now the Greens have been at this for a long time but they could not get enough support with their platform.  I saw them once mount a strong campaign in a very liberal Congressional District.  They could not even win one Congressional District that was very liberal.

  •  I would love to see a viable, labor-based (0+ / 0-)

    third party.  But it would need to come from labor, not from the intellectual left.  

    Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

    by keeplaughing on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:52:11 AM PDT

  •  Look at the Reform Party. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Citizen, bluegrass50

    In 1996, the Perot movement had a chance to become a major political party, but Ross Perot wanted to use it as his personal fan club, thus ruining it. By 2000, the Reform party was nothing but cranks and wingnuts (on both sides of the spectrum), and that was the end of that.

    Before that they had elected dozens of state legislators and a governor.

    The Independence party of New York was taken over by a religious cult.

    It won't happen.

  •  winner takes all voting system (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Citizen

    if US had proportional representation, then there would be many more successful parties.

  •  You can, and one day some one will, but (0+ / 0-)

    The odds are in favor of the status quo.

    The Constitution we have causes a form of political gravity.  There is(are) the faction(s) that holds power. And there are the factions that do not hold power, but want to.  There can be dozens of sub-factions in each group, but in both cases the subfactions are compelled to work together.  Because why?

    Because when the factions that hold power work togetehr, they improve their odds of holding onto power.

    Because when the factions that do not hold power work together, they improve their odds of siezing power.

    One day a 3rd party will come along and replace an (Grand?) old party which has grown inept.  But since the old party will die we will be left with a two-party system anyway.

    And since one of those parties will gravitate to represent "the rich" and the otehr will gravitate to represent "the workers" ... will all that much really change but the names?

  •  Think of it as soft drink companies. You have (0+ / 0-)

    Coke and Pepsi.  Is it easier to take over one of the companies or is it easier to build a new soft drink company with its multitude of bottlers, distributors and so on from scratch?  A third party is doomed because it is easier to hijack the Dems or the Repubes instead

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