Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism
The Story So Far (imagine a Star Wars Scroll):
Under normal conditions, the primary political parties are representatives of distinct interest groups within the status quo. Democracy, after all, is allowing the citizens of the country to choose winners and losers among the elite, rather than having that choice performed by military might, accident of birth, or etc.
For most of its political history to the late 1800’s, the US was either dominated by one or two political parties. The (extra-constitutional) winner take all electoral college system and the winner take all nature of a state legislature selecting the state’s Senator strongly pushed in that direction.
And with business interests always falling on distinct sides of important issues of the day, that meant that political interests have long been distributed among the rival claimants for power or the natural party of government and natural party of (regional) opposition.
But alongside this was a political institution that allowed third parties to emerge and compete for influence ~ and indeed, the Great Re-Alignment from the Democrats and the Whigs to the Republicans and the Democrats occured in part thanks to the existence of third parties that were available to merge with the Anti-Slavery Whigs once they had been purged from the Whig Party. So in the late 1800’s …