One infrequently hears rumblings about a third party. A party that might make it or a party being started. But, few start-ups arouse the public to any appreciable degree. Seems Progressives and Socialists have had more success than others in running on 3rd party platforms. For example, the IRS and Social Security came about through efforts by those parties. Ironically, between 50-60% of the public is favorable towards a third party. So, where is the disconnect? What must a 3rd party do to answer the cause?
The list of grievances is long; no representation by the duopoly, corruption, rule by corpocracy, no real reform forthcoming, ad infinitum. Even minor reform through the political system is hard to come by. Just implementing reform of health care seems a momentous task. Not so long ago the country took pride in being an innovator in the sciences and electronics. Going forward, new technology is likely to come from a 'globalised' effort, with input from industries around the world. A call for 'clean air' or the like sends companies bailing for the unregulated and cheap labor areas of the world.
Higher on the list we find that the enormous debt racked up over the last decade ranks high on the frustration meter. Then, there is the 10-20% jobless figure that directly affects millions of middle class workers. And, housing foreclosures. Foreclosures are expected to peak in 2011.
There are so many reasons to reject the two parties in favor of a 3rd party. One has to question why voters would sit on the fence knowing the ominous effect this $14T deficit will bring to each of us. Bring to our kids and our grandkids in the form of economic hardship and lesser quality of life, freedom, leisure, etc.
There are some 55 political parties in the US looking for your vote. Some are farcical on their face. But, many seem dead earnest in pursuing better governance or in forming a 'more perfect union'. Yet, none are flourishing, girding to take the reins of power and stir our country clear of the pending disaster ahead.
I had thought that the reasons 3rd parties don't do well is that they, more often, tend to seek reform around the fringe. That is, most parties push an agenda of change but, only in the context of the existing bureaucracy. For instance, they may want to reform health care by legislating reform within the boundaries of existing laws, corpocracy, corruption and existing organization. I was so sure that this was the issue with 3rd parties that I tried to start a real centrist/populist reform party, a party with a different political attitude. But, after about three years, there is little to show for the effort.
I believed that by looking back over the history of the Republic and identifying the wrong roads taken along the way I could design a 3rd party for the 21st century. The two majors I feel that need correcting are the abolishment of Corporate Personhood law and the implementation of real Campaign Finance Reform. By establishing these two reform issues as a priority in the party agenda I believe that corporate money and special interest could be annihilated or so severely restricted that the residual influence would be negligible. IMO, until those two issues are resolved there can be no real reform of government achieved giving the heavy influence of corporate money tied to campaign financing of incumbents/candidates. You simply can't expect to grow roses in a cesspool.
To give credence to a party void of special interest I put down 4 or 5 rules giving members authority to vote to reject, or not, an elected official of that party who commits some cardinal sin such as failing to support the party agenda or some ethics related reason. The final rule prevents any change to the rules without a two-thirds vote to do so by the national membership. These rules are a strong hand of cards to turn the elected officials' attention to the voting public. With the abolishment of Corporate Personhood and implementation of real Campaign Finance reform, where all donations are collected into one kettle of funds, the parties elected representatives would look to their constituents rather than major donors, as they should.
But, no takers there. The Republic Sentry Party has gone absolutely no where. Which leads me to believe that the people want an 'established' party' replete with a couple of million members with plenty of candidates on the ballots so they may pick and choose. I believe the better party would evolve through the work of one new member at a time as opposed to a few wealthy brokers who can afford to fund a new party with all the trimmings.
It may help to look at the Egyptian revolution as an analog. The people of that nation sat on their hands through 30 years of dictatorship and hardship, with the majority currently subsiding on $2/day or less. Then, when commodity prices doubled this winter the people, and more correctly, the young people, realized this was the straw that broke the camel's back and bravely, into the streets they went. Likewise, US voters have sat back and watched 30 years of globalisation eat away their wages, housing, jobs, etc, resulting in the US becoming the world's largest debtor nation in that short time span. Commodities are rising and the worst of the great recession is still a couple of years out there. Perhaps that will bring us an 'Egyptian' moment where the fear of the unknown becomes less than the fear of the known. Perhaps there is a 3rd party in our future. And, just as surely as the Egyptians must make sure their move to Democracy is well founded, so must any effort in bringing a 3rd party to the forefront.
Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.