Tag: Third Party

Quit Drinking the Poison

From a distant vantage point on a blog far, far away, an epic traveler through cyberspace who likes to mock and ridicule “purists” posted a story about a land where cynicism and hypocrisy are completely unknown, a land where for some bizarre reason, idealism is honored and respected . . .  

Every year in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land all of the sprites and elves and woodland creatures gather together to pick the Rainbow Sunshine Queen. Everyone is there: the Lollipop Guild, the Star-Twinkle Toddlers, the Sparkly Unicorns, the Cookie Baking Apple-cheeked Grandmothers, the Fluffy Bunny Bund, the Rumbly-Tumbly Pupperoos, the Snowflake Princesses, the Baby Duckies All-In-A-Row, the Laughing Babies, and the Dykes on Bikes. They have a big picnic with cupcakes and gumdrops and pudding pops, stopping only to cast their votes by throwing Magic Wishing Rocks into the Well of Laughter, Comity, and Good Intentions. Afterward they spend the rest of the night dancing and singing and waving glow sticks until dawn when they tumble sleepy-eyed into beds made of the purest and whitest goose down where they dream of angels and clouds of spun sugar.

With immense satisfaction, that blogger informed “purists” that they don’t live in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land, he told them they need to grow the fuck up.    

I have news for Tbogg.  We grew up long ago.  We know where we live.  

This is where we live  . . .

In 2009, one out of five U.S. households didn’t have enough money to buy food.  In households with children, this number rose to 24 percent, as the hunger rate among U.S. citizens has now reached an all-time high.  Over 50 million people need to use food stamps to eat, and a stunning 50 percent of U.S. children will use food stamps to eat at some point in their childhoods.  Approximately 20,000 people are added to this total every day.  

1.4 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2009, a 32 percent increase from 2008. Americans have lost $5 trillion from their pensions and savings since the economic crisis began and $13 trillion in the value of their homes.  Personal debt has risen from 65 percent of income in 1980 to 125 percent today.  Over five million U.S. families have already lost their homes, in total 13 million U.S. families are expected to lose their home by 2014.

And what are these Americans being told?   Keep drinking that Two-Party-System Kool Aid, that’s what they’re being told.   By the politicians.  By the corporate media.  By the “progressive” leaders of the Netroots.   That’s their solution.  Keep drinking that Two-Party-System Kool Aid.  

Thinking beyond the two party system

I’m not going to pull any punches here.  I detest the two party system.  I believe that it undermines representative government.  It makes our government more responsive to corporations than to citizens.  It decreases the chances of progress and it results in many good ideas being shut out of the national political debate.

This piece was written as part of GreenChange Blog Action Day.  Learn more here.

Former Green Party candidate to challenge Mass. gov. Deval Patrick as a Democrat

Grace Ross, who ran in 2006 as the Green Party’s candidate for governor of Massachusetts, is now running in the Democratic primary for the same office, against incumbent governor Deval Patrick.  “I wasn’t planning to run again,” stated Ross, “but things got worse.  Things got worse for regular people.”

Enough waiting. Let’s rebuild the Progressive Party of the United States.

At what point do progressives stop being Democrats’ whipped dogs and start acting like a movement capable of putting the Dems in their proper place as the party of the people?  David Sirota wrote today about Obama’s latest call to increase war spending beyond its already ludicrous proportions.

How many of the extreme right-wing and criminal policies of Bush-Cheney has Obama adopted?  How many of those extreme right-wing policies has he exceeded?  Last month, knowledge that Obama has gone a step further than Bush, authorizing the executive branch to murder American citizens on the flimsiest of rationales.  This sh__ has GOT to end.

Interesting proposal to congressional progressives to form a new party!

   By Bill Willers

   Dear Representatives Kucinich et al.:

   There has never been a better time for the emergence of a strong third party as a permanent entity. Objective critics of the “system” have now understood that it is rotten beyond repair. Corporate “persons” rule in this two-party setup. “Reforms” are hopelessly inadequate. It should not be necessary to elaborate. What is necessary is revolutionary transformation rather than “change” as a mere campaign buzzword.

   As it is, truly progressive members of Congress who identify themselves as democrats are eclipsed – virtual nonentities really – by the Democratic Leadership Council which long ago took its place beside the GOP in the corporate sphere. Simply consider the media effort to “disappear” presidential candidate Kucinich following his unexpected strong showing in the first ABC “debate”, going so far as to cut him out of a widely-distributed photograph of the democratic presidential hopefuls, and then barring him from a future ABC “debate”. Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are allowed exposure primarily to the extent that they appear more “centrist” and “bipartisan”.

   Past efforts at anything “independent” or third party (e.g. the Green Party) have been grassroots efforts and failures for that reason. The only way for progressives to have a voice that can be heard throughout the country would be through a recognized Progressive Party, and that would have to emerge from within Congress – from within the Progressive Caucus, as well as the Congressional Black Caucus the values of which are so similar to that of the progressives.

   If a contingent of true progressives – that might include such representatives as Kucinich, Grijalva, Lee, Conyers, Baldwin – were to hold a press conference and announce the formation of a Progressive Party with platform to match, the earth would move. There would be a rush of support from progressives, the Green Party, unions, democrats who understand the betrayal from the DLC stranglehold, minority groups, independents seeking change and even from some “moderate” Republicans. And there would surely be renewed interest from the millions who have long since turned off in disgust over the systemic rot that has by now become utterly transparent…….


I fundamentally agree, that recent efforts to form new parties have been a failure is because they were grass roots. The republicans gained prominence more quickly because they cannibalized the disintigrating whig party for candidates. Abe Lincoln was a former Whig.

Put pressure on the progressives to quit the party. Then we will get more leverage on them and they will quit dismissing us. The party will already have elected members, so they can’t claim we are fringe.

I don’t believe a grassroots movement is possible with blogs like kos, anyway. I don’t think kos is grass roots. Kos is a partisan operative and a major player. Most of that blog is dominated by professional wonks, very closely aligned to known candidates. They are netwonks not netroots.

The End of Brand Loyalty

For all the recent flurry of speculation and analysis regarding the Democratic Party’s shockingly sudden decline in power, one particular metric has never been adequately explored.  Though it is certainly demoralizing that in merely twelve months a feel-good sugar high of optimism has given way to despair, airing our grievances should quickly give way to building strategies for the times going forward.  We have learned quickly that party identification can never be taken for granted and that the American people want results, not gridlock.  2008 was seen by many (and indeed, me, for a time) as a realigning election along the same lines as 1980, but it seems that Obama’s coattails are really only his for the riding and that personal charisma and stirring rhetoric are subordinate to results in the grand scheme of things.    

Ralph Nader was right!

While it is true that our system has a winner take all voting system, which means the candidate with the most votes wins irrespective of whether they have even 50% of the vote, and it is true that by voting 3rd party the candidate you least like might win, it doesn’t mean you are not having any effect. You can still use your third party vote to purify the major party of a corrupt candidates, which can make a difference in the long run. Also if enough people vote for the third party it can replace one of the two major parties which is what happened in the 1850’s with the republicans replacing the whigs. Third parties can also win. Look at Jessie Ventura.

It is true that you can agitate to change the voting system, but you must go through politicians that were successful with the old way to get something new. Not a likely prospect in my view.

It is true that you can technically run primary challenges, and get some changes, but if those are so easy to run, why hasn’t anyone run them on a mass scale, that I believe is needed to get reall changes? In reality there are tremendous structural barriers to runnng any kind of primary fight, otherwise people would do more than talk and threaten them. This talk of running primaries has been happening for ten years, and nobody in the final analysis does them.

The people who voted Nader in 2000 may not have helped but they didn’t hurt anything either. The war probably would have happened either way. Lieberman was Al Gore’s pick for vp. Martin Peretz was Al Gore’s mentor. Many dlcers like Gore voted for the Iraq war resolution including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and John Edwards. Obama claimed he would have voted against the resolution, but Obama has claimed to be for, or against many things, that didn’t pan out in reality, because of his commitment to dlc policies. For instance, during the campaign, Obama claimed to be against mandates and excise taxes on cadillac plans. How did that work out in reality. He claimed to be against fisa but voted for it. He claimed to oppose corporate lobbying, and the revolving door, but hired a bunch of Goldman Sachs employees to serve him in his administration. He also claimed to be against the Iraq war, but never missed an opportunity to vote for war funding.

Nader voting changed nothing, in my view, but it did offer and opportunity to vote for someone who told the truth. I so wish I hadn’t bought the lesser evil bs and wasted my vote on Gore, than Kerry and now Obama. The democrats have mislead people for far too long. Obama proves Nader was completely correct, and those of us who sympathized with Nader literally wasted 8-9 years working our butts off for democrats who hate us, and think we are idiots.

While it is true that Lieberman is a leader of these bad dems, it is not true, that lessor dems like Coakley who take money from the insurance companies, and who support mandates bare no responsibility. By only targeting the big sharks, you let little sharks like her off the hook and they continue to vote for the wrong things. You partisans claim that not giving them a 60th seat will be permission to move to the right, but they are already moving to the right so it looks like the mere act of putting right leaning dems in office is permission enough. You claim we don’t vote for Coakley we wont’ have another shot at reform for a generation, yet we are suppose to believe you will come back and improve the bill later on? Come on! We aren’t self-defeating. We are beaten down by corruption! Beating us more won’t help!

reposted from my blog http://dameocrat.blogspot.com

What to do? Let’s use the spoiler affect against corporate democrats.

This is partially a response to John Emerson’s “What is populism? III” http://openleft.com/diary/1557…

Let’s side step the issue of populism

since the groups that dislike it aren’t going to change by knowing more about it, and since, by your own admission, they have an interest in maintaining their hatred of it.  I just would like the country to be governed in everyone’s best interests and not just the interest of business.  Do the tea baggers offer this.  Nope. They are dogmatic free market fundamentalists in most cases so I am not interested in them.

I know third parties cannot do anything more than spoil, but the spoiler affect can be used strategically against bad democrats.  If the 10 percent nader affect were utilized against the worst corporatists,in 5 years, the corporatists will be exercised from the democratic party.  Let’s start something like a “strategic liberalism party” and use the spoiler affect to purge the democrats of corporatist candidates.  The problem with the greens is that they ran even against good dems like Paul Wellstone!  A “strategic liberalism party” or a “real democratic party” wouldn’t make that mistake.

Third Party Politics

There are three things that stand out when looking at the third party issue.   The first is the  obstacles preventing progress are so overwhelming they seem insurmountable.  The second is they have no chance without campaign finance reform and election rule changes.  The third is the time is more ripe for a viable third party since they were effectively throttled in the mid nineteenth century.  

I checked out a book written by Micah Sifry, titled, “Spoiling for a Fight, Third Party Politics in America” (copyright 2002), which presents and excellent overview of third party history, efforts by Ross Perot, John Anderson, Ralph Nadar, and the problems and possible solutions for third party success.


“Public opinion surveys since the 1990s consistently have shown a high level of popular support for the concept of a third party. But in spite of such support for a third party, these parties face many obstacles. The most significant is the fear among voters that if they vote for a third-party candidate, they, in effect, will be “wasting” their votes. Voters have been shown to engage in strategic voting by casting ballots for their second choice when they sense that a third-party candidate has no chance of winning.

There is evidence that third parties can have a major impact on election outcomes. For example, a third-party candidate might draw votes more votes away from the candidate of the party more closely aligned with to the position of the third-party candidate, thus enabling the other party to win the election – often without receiving a majority of the vote.”

Part of the problem is the inability of third parties to secure the experienced, prestigious candidates necessary for public attention.  

“There is a striking difference between the political backgrounds of major and minor party candidates. Nearly all (97.2 percent) of the 72 major party presidential nominees between 1840 and 1980 had held the post of president, vice-president, U.S. senator, congressman, governor, military general, or cabinet secretary. Less than 20 percent of the minor party candidates had attained these positions.  By now the reason for this disparity should be clear. The biases against third parties created by the single-member-district plurality system and ballot access restrictions, as well as their disadvantages in organization, resources, and media coverage, all effectively discourage qualified candidates from running under a third party label. Well-known, prestigious candidates know that a third party effort will be hopeless and can end their political careers. Only extraordinary circumstances will push established politicians (and voters) into a third party camp.”

Can you imagine if Obama had run as an independent, with enough money to present the same messages he did during his democratic campaign.   Can a third party get enough quality candidates and support that could counter the two party duopoly?

“All of these constraints, of course, are interrelated. The single-member-district plurality system discourages high caliber candidates from running outside a major party; if a weak candidate runs, he will attract few campaign resources, ensuring that most citizens will learn very little about him. This in turn reinforces the belief that the third party candidate cannot win, so citizens will not waste their votes on him. The weak electoral performance is self-perpetuating. People expect third parties to do poorly because they have always  done poorly, so only weak candidates run-and the cycle continues.

Together these barriers, handicaps, and major party strategies raise the level of effort required for a voter to cast his ballot for an independent candidate. A citizen can vote for a major party candidate with scarcely a moment’s thought or energy. But to support a third party challenger, a voter must awaken from the political slumber in which he ordinarily lies, actively seek out information on a contest whose outcome he cannot affect, reject the socialization of his political system, ignore the ridicule and abuse of his friends and neighbors, and accept the fact that when the ballots are counted, his vote will never be in the winner’s column. Such levels of energy are witnessed only rarely in American politics.”

The plutocratic two party system forced on the American people is a machine that may be too large to seriously challenge.  As Sifry stated in his conclusion, “There are no shortcuts”.  Creating a third party that can compete on the national stage and have influence on the key issues we face will take serious, long term efforts at the local and state levels resulting in elected candidates at all levels.  Without that, the corporate owned duopoly won’t be particularly concerned.  

So you want to start a new party? Here’s where to start

Seeing as how there’s been some interest on the left recently of breaking from the Democratic Party and all of its corporate ties, I figured I would clue you in to the various third party challenges to the two party system that have the highest chances of success around the nation.  This is by no means a complete list, but it’s what I could come up with from my decently extensive knowledge of modern third party politics.

Missing from the Progressive Political Eco-System – An Org’n for Completely Dissafected Democrats

(cross-posted at openleft.com)

I read a diary over the weekend (“So You Want To Form A New Party? Hmmm, Come With Me”) that, together with the comments, illustrated the dilemma facing progressives who have had it with the Democratic Party. There are, of course, good reasons for progressives to take the ‘leave it’ option, as well as good reasons to take the ‘fix it’ option. Reading the diary made me think about another element missing from the Progressive political eco-system that can deal more constructively with this dilemma.

So You Want To Form A New Party? Hmmm, Come With Me.

From time to time over the last few years there have been some of our fellow Progressives/Liberals who despair of the Democratic Party getting its act together and thus out of anger or frustration float the idea of abandoning the Democratic Party and forming a new one to the left of the Democrats. The Dog is not in favor of this, but he thinks he has not been very clear in why it is a bad idea. First off if you want to bail on the Democratic Party, don’t wait! You have a hell of a lot of work to do in order to get an agenda passed so why are you hanging around here? In the spirit of being helpful, the Dog would like to offer a bit of a run down in what it will take to get your new party up and running.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

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