Follow up on a previous Post – “America Needs a Three Party System”
Wanted: A billionaire to provide a long-lasting legacy, a hundred-year plan to fund a national Third Party that has a commitment to run government from the middle of the bell-curve of public opinion and Congressional authority. A hundred-year plan that will provide at least two generations growing up learning about a centrist party where congressional candidates of character have signed a pledge with their Party and their constituents to maintain a moderate stance, to listen, and represent their constituencies by voting their conscience. A party where extremists or those with political issue agendas are encouraged to join another party. A Party with the resources to enforce members to follow their written pledge to keep an open mind and represent without personal issues-based agendas.
The principle objective is to create a viable Third Party that voters can believe in, that is not flash-in-the-pan, and will be there for future election cycles. A party that can consistently get ten to twenty percent of their candidates elected to Congress and at times more. Introducing moderate legislation or as a swing vote to advance other good legislation, the Party over time should find acceptance as a mainstream party. I think this is one cause that any benefactor or donor might proudly put their name behind. A hundred-year legacy of inspiring lives.
Congress originally started with one party. Later, with opposing ideas and viewpoints two parties emerged and for many years that seemed to work. Today, with the speed of modern communications, social media, electronic surveys and electronic voting, we now see competing degrees of opposing ideas and viewpoints. A third, more moderate party would support positive change.
Why have Third Parties failed? There are several reasons. Flash-in-the-pan candidates like Ross Perot who ran as an Independent, and Pat Buchanan who ran for the Reform Party in 2000 were perhaps just too far outside the box for many people, and even if they weren’t, others knew that without a mainstream party behind them they probably wouldn’t be able to deliver what they promised. The Reform Party is actually not a party. It is a Political Action Committee; a PAC that supports a centrist position helping Independents as well as some Republicans and Democrats they believe have something to offer. The Libertarian Party has a history of moving around the political spectrum and at the moment classify themselves in the middle between Republicans and Democrats. Their website says Americans should be free to purse their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to others. They seem to be pro-everything, pro-small government, pro-gun rights, pro-drug legalization, pro-choice, pro-anti-welfare, pro-anti-income tax and so on. Do you see the inconsistencies here? They seem to be everywhere, even toward the outside edges of both parties, simultaneously. They are certainly not in the middle.
For a mainstream party to survive and remain viable, it must be in the sweet-spot for voters. Extremists or issue focused parties will always have their constituents, but they will not enjoy broad support and will always fall on one side of the bell-curve or the other. If you look at the big picture, moderate voters are clustered toward the middle of the bell-curve, with Republicans on one side next to Democrats on the other. At the very top of the bell-curve you can expect the non-affiliated moderates who often support the moderate views of either party, depending on the issue being considered. If we were to start a truly moderate party we would capture that segment immediately, and over time with the pendulum of political interests swinging back and forth, we should expect to garner an ever-changing group of moderates from one party or the other to vote for us.
The only other important aspect for a mainstream party to survive and remain viable is that it must have a message, a principle for which it stands. A moderate party may not have the narrow focus of a Tea Party faction or the broad social issues of a Green Party, but a moderate-neutral party that believes in the efficient running of government, that a President run an open and transparent government for the people and Congress, and the primary tools for change should stay under the purview of Congress, is a strong valid principle. Further, that the Party be diligent to run party candidates who follow the same philosophy, and that if change is required that it come from a moderate position. Should an issue candidate run under the umbrella of the Party banner to gain a personal benefit, that he be exposed and the Party should spend money to remove him as a member and to run another candidate against him in that district. These are valid principles that moderate Republican and Democrat voters can get behind.
Winning the Presidency and the need to change the electoral college etc. should not be a primary focus. The objective is to get a working third party, and at some point, an apple-pie kind of man/woman running for the top spot will look more attractive than the other two candidates and will win outright. Otherwise if a winning candidate fails to get sufficient electoral votes, then let Congress make the selection. Ultimately rules will change.
Any Moderate-Neutral Party nominees’ platform should simply be to operate an efficient and responsive government. Honest government. And that starts with Congressional elections. We need balanced voices in the House and the Senate, and with that mantra things will change. We should spend equal time on the importance of Congress so voters will more clearly understand their responsibility, finding that voting for Congress is equally important as voting for President. Many Presidential terms might even find a good man/woman voted into office from other parties, that look kindly on the power and ethics of this hypothetical moderate party.
Current breakdown in the 115th Congress as of March 1, 2017:
House of Representatives: All Republicans or Democrats. No Independents or other Party affiliations.
Senate; 52 Republican, 46 Democrat, 2 Independent.
There are zero third party representatives in the House or Senate.
A long-term commitment takes significant money to fund a national political organization. Scheduling appropriate state filings, helping grass-roots organizations stay focused, maintaining regular meetings with organization officials and candidates, are all necessary to ensure a successful, strategic impact on our democratic system. But it should be more fun than simply contributing to NPR!
Individually or as a group, some of you billionaires have the desire and ability to make a long-term commitment happen. Warren, Bill, Oprah, and others, you have a passion to help others be in a position to help the next generation. Inspire lives; be remembered …make political history.
The Level Playing Field.