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I work within the Democratic Party, not necessarily to kill it, but to greatly diminish its power, for five important reasons.

1)    Political monopolies are as destructive in the USA as they are anywhere else.  We grew up understanding that the problem with places like Russia and China is that they have a single party, which affords too little political expression and choice.  Do not get lost in whatever else may be wrong with those governments. The point here is that we recognize that political diversity is important and, in a world with many different types of governance, we were left comparing ourselves to two of the most restrictive.  Our two major parties are far closer, in providing political diversity, to Russia and China, than we are to most of the democratic governments in the world. The two party system is not defined by our constitution, it is an artifact of it. The only way to correct this mistake is to work from within the parties.  

2)    While our government was created with checks and balances to avoid conflicts of interest and outright corruption, over time those checks and balances have been circumvented and corrupted by both parties. Both parties attempt to hide from culpability.  

...I am forced to be a Democrat rather than a Republican because I believe that we are morally and patriotically obliged to provide, at the very least, a social safety net.  But this should not keep me from understanding that politicians are reelected, not for what they do for the country, but for the largess that they bring back to their districts. This routine has created a bloated inefficient government. Republicans spend voraciously and stupidly and tell the lie that they are conservative. Democrats suspend critical judgment about wise spending, not because of compassion for all, but because they profit hugely from large government spending.  The corruption of the American government is not conspiratorial; it is structural.  Design should always be to an appropriate scale our government is one of sprawl.

3)    One of the major casualties of our political monopoly is the environment.  Much of the largess that our representatives bring back to their districts is environmentally destructive and our most progressive political leaders, in order to get reelected, end up capitulating to large corporations with support for “clean” coal, deep water drilling and so much more.  Even some of our brightest pendants on the left fall into, not just justification, but support for the most egregious environmental devastation. Rachel Maddow, who I have a lot of respect for, stands before Hoover dam as an example of the great things that our government can do.  Hoover Dam that steals water from the Colorado River - that now never makes it to the Sea of Cortez - to provide neon lights for Las Vegas and orange trees grown in the desert. This is at the cost of unbelievable habitat and environmental devastation.

4)    Uncontrolled political spending exacerbates the two party system’s inherent lack of political diversity. This, more so than anything else, has kept us a plutocracy.  This is not the fault of the Citizens United decision. That was simply undeniable punctuation.  Long before Citizens United political spending had made money more powerful than the democratic franchise. We have a long history of political power being distributed to the wealthy. Both parties have had brief periods of combating this natural tendency.  Both Teddy Roosevelt’s Republican Party and Franklin Roosevelt’s Democratic Party helped stem the tide.  Now we are overwhelmed with a surge of political money. And how much effort do you suppose that the Democratic Party, who also profit from this flood of money, are going to put into stemming the flow?  Despite populist outrage, have you noticed a real effort from the Democratic Party to reverse Citizens United or create publically financed elections that would stop the purchasing of political power?

5)    Clearly we would benefit from and expansion of political parties.  But this is not going to come from Ross Perot, the Green Party or the Tea Party.  It can only happen if structural changes are granted from within the existing political structure.  The Democratic and Republican Parties are about as likely to create those kinds of changes as Wal-Mart is to subsidize Target. These changes are going to have to be forced from within both parties by people who understand the need to reduce the influence of the party that they currently support.  This is not an easy sell. But what is the alternative?

There are many other reasons to work from within the existing parties to create latitude for expanded political diversity.  Our current political monoculture is unsustainable and likely to collapse if unreformed.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Although what you say is interesting (4+ / 0-)

    I don't think this is the right place for it. This site is to promote and improve the Democratic Party, not to weaken it.

    Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

    by MrAnon on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:23:58 AM PST

  •  our electoral system (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn

    creates 2 major parties.  It takes something like a proportional representation system for a multiparty system to thrive.  Otherwise, 3rd parties are mostly condemned to also-ran status.

    Tempted to HR due to:

    I work within the Democratic Party, not necessarily to kill it, but to greatly diminish its power,
    In case you missed it this is a partisan site dedicated to helping the Democratic party succeed.
  •  ??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn
    political monoculture
    the environment
    Uncontrolled political spending

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:27:42 AM PST

  •  You count funny. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jonathan Hoag, Lilyvt, Cedwyn, highacidity

    "Differences in political opinion are as unavoidable as, to a certain point, they may perhaps be necessary." George Washington

    by civil wingnut on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:30:53 AM PST

  •  Diminish the power of the Democratic Party? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, wilderness voice, emelyn

    Power is needed to effect the kinds of changes you advocate.  I believe you CAN work within the party, but I'm not sure that diminishing its power is the way to go about it.

    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

    by winsock on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:40:07 AM PST

    •  I do not support (0+ / 0-)

      Unilateral efforts.  This has to happen from both sides.  There seems to be fairly common acknowledgment from both sides that the two party system is inherently problematic in many ways.

    •  How (0+ / 0-)

      are you going to create expanded political expression if you do not work from within the Parties.  The only effect that third parties can have at this point is harming the major party that they are most similar to. This is a disincentive to political diversity.  How can liberals possibly support a restriction of political expresion?

      •  I don't and I didn't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn

        I did not suggest that you shouldn't work within the party (or parties) -- to the contrary.  And I also did not suggest any restriction of political expression.  Where do you get this?

        Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

        by winsock on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:58:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How do you (0+ / 0-)

          create expanded political expression if you do not diminish the current political monopoly i.e. weaken the Democratic Party?

          •  The Democratic Party (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wilderness voice, Terrapin

            is not as monolithic as you make it out to be.

            Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

            by winsock on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:34:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm afraid that I do not follow (0+ / 0-)

              There are exactly two major parties they are each exactly that monolithic.

              •  monolithic (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                winsock

              •  Each party (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wilderness voice

                is comprised of diverse individuals, who further comprise varied interest groups.  It's very much a patchwork quilt.  And politics is all a balancing act.  You may as well claim that the entire country is monolithic.  And it is, in some sense, as we are a union.  But there are countless parts making up the whole of the country, just as there are countless parts which make up the Democratic Party.

                Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

                by winsock on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:56:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You are almost (0+ / 0-)

                  on to the point that I am making.  There are many parts.... and they are all averaged.  Just look at countries that have multiple parties; they are have a far more rigorous dialog of ideas and less of an averaging of ideas.  our system inspires mediocrity.  Increased diversity in political systems, as in biosystems, encourages variability and inovation.

                  •  Ideas are "averaged" (0+ / 0-)

                    regardless of whether they come from within the framework of an existing political party or not.  I fail to see how your ideas would have greater merit or influence coming from elsewhere.

                    But fine, start your own independent interest group.  You can attempt to affiliate yourself with an existing party or not.  I'm not sure where you're going with this, but good luck, I guess.

                    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

                    by winsock on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 11:25:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  For those who want to limit this line of thinking (0+ / 0-)

    I am a life long Democrat, I work and I contribute.  There are many like me, we should not be silenced because our idea is for a smaller less powerful party.  One thing that the party needs is an ability to be somewhat self examining.  While currently, when I look at the green party platform, it much better represents my ideas, maybe your too, I do understand that I am forced by pragmatism to work in the Democratic Party.  Forcing Democrats to support the party as corporation perspective is likely to have the result of pushing the left out of the party, which will have the result of strengthening the Republican Party. This is a valid perspective for a Democrat to have and as such there is a very real sense in which it strengthens the party.

    •  aaahhhh yes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chmood, winsock, wilderness voice

      step 1:  diminish the dem party's power

      step 2:  ???

      step 3:  a strengthened dem party!

      Forcing Democrats to support the party as corporation perspective is likely to have the result of pushing the left out of the party, which will have the result of strengthening the Republican Party.
      and intentionally weakening the dem party won't have that result?

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

      by Cedwyn on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:47:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not if (0+ / 0-)

        There is a similar movement from the right, which there is.

        •  Yeah, the right has a movement -- further to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice, Cedwyn

          the right. The Tea Party isn't trying to make Republicans saner, they're trying to make them crazier by the second. At somepoint they might explode, fracture the party in two, and we'll see blue dogs and "centrist" Democrats work with the remnants of the old Republican party. But until that happens holding the Democrats together, and accountable to progressives, is the only game to play. Unless you've got some meaningful way to fix the "winner take all" voting mechanism in this country.

          To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

          by ontheleftcoast on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:02:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I for one (0+ / 0-)

            would be happy if the Republican Party split and we lost a few Blue Dogs to a more centrist Republican Party.  In order for that to be viable there have to be structural changes that have to come from within the existing parties that will inevitably diminish the power of both.

            •  Huh? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wilderness voice, Cedwyn

              We're working to push Democrats to the left and don't look now but this election we suceeded in doing just that. And it didn't take any "weakening" or "diminishing" to achieve that. It did take working and organizing that was from outside the party but you have this bizarre idea that something other than a two-party system is possible in America. It isn't. Unless you can change the election system which gives "winner take all" to even a plurality of votes we're stuck with two parties. A 45-35-20 race goes to the 45, not some coalition of the 35-20 parties. And, thus, the 20 group will realize the futility, join with either side, and "Viola!" you're back to two parties. This isn't some European parliament where meaningful third (and fourth and fifth) parties exist, this is America with all the warts of an electoral system crafted nearly a quarter of a millenium ago.

              To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

              by ontheleftcoast on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:16:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  One of The Beautiful (0+ / 0-)

                things about the American Constitution is the degree to which it was designed to be changed.  But the two party system was not written into the constitution and among the many ways that we can broaden the party structure, changing the constitution is not necessarily the most viable.

                •  The "winner take all" part is the problem (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wilderness voice

                  The Constitution doesn't even have the concept of parties in it. But it does say who gets the most votes, not a majority of the votes, is the winner, thus two parties will form as a natural response to that demand. Strictly speaking it does allow individual states freedom to choose how they run their elections. But few states are willing to adopt a system that loses them any influence at the national level. Maybe we could see some change with the NPV but I doubt it'll result in any meaningful 3rd party. You're as deluded as the Article V fanboys we get from time to time. There was one so fixated on it that he actually committed property crimes so he could effectively read his manifesto in to the court records. Don't be like that, find a way to make better Democrats, it works.

                  To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                  by ontheleftcoast on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:43:50 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

                    That is just ridiculous.  I suppose that I could talk about the things that Hitler did and then say to you, "don't be like that." Keep in mind that you are arguing against change in general not specifically.  That is the definition of conservative.

                    •  No, I'm arguing against stupid, pointless attempts (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Cedwyn

                      at change. I'd love to see a viable 3rd, 4th, etc. party in this country. It would help with the mind-numbing gridlock and blindness on issues like global warming. But you aren't proposing a workable plan to get their. So either do that or work with the existing system to make it better. That's called 'reality' not 'conservative'.

                      To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                      by ontheleftcoast on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 12:49:45 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

    •  Eh ? (3+ / 0-)
      smaller less powerful party...it strengthens the party

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:49:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is why we can't have nice things ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    ... because the moment that liberals gain the power and momentum to actually accomplish something then some small faction decides that we ought not to do it because ... um ... there is not enough resistance to it, or something?

    Honestly, dude, if you disagree we an aspect of the Democratic Party Platform then sac up and join the debate like everybody else.  Every conceivable policy position is, in fact, represented somewhere within the Democratic Party coalition so you ought to be able to find enough like-minded folks to make a go of it.  But to make yourself out to be some kind noble commando doing your necessary work behind enemy lines is the most ridiculous kind of lunacy that I have heard in days.

    Please do not be alarmed. We are about to engage... the nozzle.

    by Terrapin on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:08:20 AM PST

    •  Do you suspect (0+ / 0-)

      that everyone who has an idea that is different than yours makes themselves out to be some kind of noble commando? That almost any position can be found within the Democratic party is exactly my point.  The end result is an expressionless average.

  •  These ideas are so juvenile (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    that they hurt my head. It's more of the destroy the democrats then... magic... the money is out of politics and the world will be good and kind.

    If you want money out of politics then work for public financing of elections, that would actually do good.

  •  Not sure if troll or attention whore (0+ / 0-)

    I submit the following:

    Sisters and Brothers in the Tea Party

    I am a liberal and I am a conservative

    I am a liberal because I believe in movement toward progress as defined by fairness and equal opportunities and I honor, value and defend individual expression.  I am a conservative because I am skeptical of big spending and big government and so are you.

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