Is It Time for a Third Party?

In a comment to the news that Hillary pulled a Bush in New Hampshire, Suebird writes:

I sincerely hope that either Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel runs on a Third Party ticket, IMHO this may be the first election year in over a century when a Third Party is actually viable.

I think she’s got a point.

With the GOP hijacked by authoritarian, anti-democratic, corporate sockpuppets and the Democrats apparently permanently under the thumb of a cynical minority – the DLC/Blue Dog Alliance of conservative Dems – it begins more and more to look as if Ralph Nader was right all along: there’s a difference between the parties but it’s the difference between Dumb and Dumber.

Maybe it’s coming up on time for the great majority of the public angry about the wholesale refusal of the Democratic Congress to end the war and the blatant corruption in both camps to consider throwing our weight behind a real alternative.

It seems to me that we only have two choices:

  1. That we do the hard, slogging, door-to-door work of building a grass-roots movement to take control of the Democratic party away from the conservative minority currently running it and make it more responsive to the populist center, or
  2. That we do the hard, slogging, door-to-door work of building a grass-roots Third Party movement that will present a legitimate alternative to both right-wing parties

Neither of those options is easy or quick. and both will be bucking the full force of the corporations that control both parties and currently have everything their own way. If a counter-movement ever became a real threat, they wouldn’t hesitate to use every means at their disposal to shut it down.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

  1. The DLC/BD hold on the party isn’t as unbreakable as it appears. There’s a good deal of grumbling under the surface, especially from local Dems but from the nationals as well, that Democrats have been forcefully pushed away and prevented from supporting their traditional base with anything but lip service and the occasional legislative bone. A concerted attempt to take over the local Dem apparatus and demand accountability wouldn’t be all that difficult to pull off (as Michael Moore has been saying for years, in most places you could bring 10 friends to a local Democratic party meeting and wind up owning it) even a marginal success would likely scare (or, to put a better spin on it, motivate) the national party to change its tactics. (Dean seems to be working on this from the DNC already, so some support might very well be readily available at the national level.)
  2. Historically, this works. For instance, Democrats became the party of the working man, immigrants, women, and the rest of the dispossessed in the 30’s because of the threat from populist parties after WW I. If we had not had Eugene Debs making noise on the left, we would most likely never have had FDR.

The third option, of course, is to do both.

IAC, it’s becoming quite clear to me that something has got to be done – and soon. We’re running out of time. The Dems will almost certainly win the presidency (assuming that Cheney doesn’t declare martial law and cancel the election) and if the new pres is either Clinton (a long-time leader of the DLC) or Obama (a creature of the DLC/BD Alliance), we’re sunk. Things will get worse instead of better.

We need a populist party as an antidote to the poison of the current system. Populism works. If we don’t get a populist vaccine injected into the body politic before the corporate aristocracy completes its takeover, we can kiss our Constitution good-bye.

6 Responses to “Is It Time for a Third Party?”

  1. Sorry man, won’t happen.

  2. Mick Arran says:

    That’s what I’m afraid of.

  3. I wouldn’t be so certain. What is required to make something like this happen is one of two things; 1) MONEY or 2) overwhelming popular support. Sadly number two often times comes from number one but that does not mean it is impossible.

  4. Macswain says:

    Baby steps, We can’t afford another third party fiasco like 2000 until the Republican party is no longer a threat.

  5. No, and I can research this later, but what I think has to happen before a new party is able to be born is for one of the existing parties to completely and totally fail (politically), or for it to experience such a deep and unfixable rift that it splits in two.

    While both the GOP and the Democratic party both have their poles, even now the attraction of the epicenters of ideology within fail to be strong enough to rip either party apart.

    Should this change, however, I would not look towards the Democratic party which has, at least in recent years, always had a kind of amorphous quality to it, but instead the Republican party. There is the greatest potential for a propogation considering that layered upon a rigid conservative ideology is a fault line that separates pro-war conservatives and anti-war conservatives.

    This is further evidenced by the popularity of Ron Paul.

    So if, and this is a BIG if (as in not likely to happen at all), there were to be a break resulting in a viable third party, it would most likely exist within the GOP where you would see the Republican party that has been hijacked by corperate, social, and neo-conservatism with the more libertarian and traditional conservatives.

    But that’s my take, and it’s still not likely to happen.

  6. Also, and here’s just a little thing here, while I’m unapologetically liberal, one thing that should be understand is that I actually don’t like my politicians to be that way. I would much more rather have someone closer to the center than to the left, or at least the perceived center… but that’s a conversation for another day.

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