This entry builds on what Something the Dog Said and rossl wrote in their own entries. Before I get to the meat of my own text, I just want to summarize what each of the previous entries state. Starting any political party, or building an existing one, is going to be a lot of hard work and progressives are going to face an uphill battle regardless of what we do. If we’re going to break away from the Democrats, however, it’s worth the effort; there are parties such as the Progressives (currently in Vermont and Washington) and the Greens, among others, that have made substantial progress at local and state levels.
That’s the short version of what Something’s and rossl’s entries have to say. I highly recommend reading them both in full. Now, on to my own contribution to this subject. Because I want to provide a real-world context to the topic at hand, I’m going to pick an existing political party (The Progressives), though feel free to substitute your own. I’m going to lay out some first steps that can be taken to get the ball rolling.
One more thing before I begin: know WHY you are forming a new political party, know what your goals are, and have realistic expectations about what you hope to accomplish. Don’t hold any illusions. Unless either the Democrats or the Republicans implode, chances are you’re not going to replace one of them on the national stage. At most, and if you do things right, you’ll force the Democrats to shift back to the left. That’s it. If a new political party does rise to prominence, great, but that is only icing on the proverbial cake. All you’ll want to do is force one of the major parties to experience an ideological shift to the political left. Expect at least a generation to pass before you get this result. It was twenty years between the 1912 election, when Theodore Roosevelt led the Progressive Party and split the presidential election three ways (thus handing it to Democrat Woodrow Wilson) and that of 1932 when Franklin Delano Roosevelt led the New Dealers to power. It was another generation before the Republicans built their party back up to the point where they could begin taking back political power in government. Finally, don’t let the progressive movement become subservient to your party – make the party subservient to the progressive movement. David Sirota explains why far better than I can, so I’ll let his words do it.
And now, without further adieu…