Friday, October 6, 2006

A question:

Could this election cycle be the beginning of a new era of alternative political parties? The author of this article says,
"If the Democrats can’t take the Hill now, they deserve to go the way of the Whigs... the Democrats’ message is murky. In the Senate, they decry the Mexican fence, then more than half of them vote for it. They label the Iraq war as a mistake, then vote $70 billion more for it. They object to Bush’s torture bill, yet flinch at a chance to block it in the Senate... It was that kind of profound indecision on a moral issue (slavery) that led to the demise of the Whigs before the Civil War."
Indeed. I'm registered as an independent, but I end up voting democrat as the only viable opposition party against the republicans, who are by far the greater of two evils.

Maybe partisan politics is changing in America. In the time since I've been blogging and monitoring politics more closely (since about June 2004), I've seen a lot of dissatisfaction among democrats. The "Kerry betrayal" of 2004 (when Kerry conceded while there were thousands of absentee votes yet to be counted) clinched it for many of us: the democratic party, we were harshly reminded, could not be depended upon to represent the interests of Progressives - we who are proponents of human rights, civil rights, social justice, fiscal responsibility, and sensible national defense. Sure, they have done some good things, but they also put us in Korea and Vietnam and kept us there, and many of them seem to acquiesce to the repukes so often it's embarrasing.

Similarly, I have also been noting a lot of dissatisfaction among self-described "conservatives" for many months, maybe a couple of years, toward the republican party. True, most of them describe their problem by proclaiming that Bush is too liberal (I swear, they actually believe that). But nevertheless, stupid dissent is still dissent. Dissatisfaction seems to be the rule among party (ex)loyalists today.

There are lots of alternative political parties. The 21st century is still young... maybe we'll see a change in our lifetime. After all, it has happened before.


The Future Was Yesterday said...

I too, have screamed and frothed at this. The passage of the Bush torture bill, made possible by Democrats, cemented for me, what I had feared for a long time - the Democrats who were already there, were far more worried about staying there, than they were piddly matters such as morality or decency. Those are not Democats to me; they are professional crooks. No, we don't have a message anymore, because our leadership plays not to lose, instead of gambling to win.

The problem with the third parties is none, since Ross Perot energized so many, offer much that is viable in today's world. They have a few things mainstream America can sink their teeth in, then veer off on some tangent. Then there's what I call "paid for spoilers." Ralph Nader. He was begged from the highest levels to drop his campaign, since he didn't have a chance. He refused. Strangely, his plank was chopping up Democratic candidates, with an occasional mention once a month or so, of Republicans. He is the man that gave us Bush. Then there's my all time favorite welfare man, Jesse Jackson. His campaigns at various times, borrowed money heavily from the RNC. Those debts were later "forgiven." Ditto with the Jackson wanna be, Al Sharpton.

Solving this problem, imo, is a two step process. First, you have to get there. THEN you push for the 3rd and even 4th party. But a strange thing happens once "they get there." They want to stay there, and so they help squash any real opposition. The solution? Turn Washington upside down, and shake until nobody is left in the city, then restock. And that will happen about as soon as Bush says "No, I don't have time to talk about terror. I'm too busy with global warming and stem cell research."

Granny said...

I agree with almost everything the Green Party stands for but I register and vote Democrat. I will never forgive Ralph Nader of course. I think his ego got in the way of his good sense.

It's pathetic when we have to hold our collective noses and choose the lesser of two evils.

SheaNC said...

"Future" - Yeah, the spoilers do indeed throw a whole different twist into it. Ultimately, you're right that alternative parties can't really meet our needs until the "big two" no longer dominate everything. I think we should eliminate lobbying and campaign contributions entirely, and toally level the playing field.

Granny: Nader's ego may reveal that the human element will fiol us every time!

SheaNC said..., I mean "foil" us every time!

pekka said...

As an outsider, I have never been able to understand; why is it that you consider to be well served by your de facto two party system? It sure has let you down lately, hasn't it? If you will be smart and lucky enough to get a new grew to steer the ship, how long will it be when they start goofing off? Wouldn't some fundamental reforms be in order, or is this also matter of staying the course?

SheaNC said...

You're right, Pekka, our two-party system has let us down. I've always wanted more choices, and I agree taht those fundamental reforms are in order. In fact, I wish the rest of the world knew how strongly most Americans would like to give our government a total makeover.