NY Times op-ed celebrates third parties

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(excerpt from) The NY Times
Three’s Company
Ross Douthat / November 1, 2009

[Re: candidates Chris Daggett in NJ and Doug Hoffman in NY]

…But both men deserve the public’s gratitude. They’ve injected real substance into their races, and they’ve given voters a much more interesting choice than they would have otherwise enjoyed.

It’s a shame that this doesn’t happen more often. Gerrymandered districts, the power of incumbency and our tendency to self-segregate along ideological lines all help make American elections uncompetitive. But so does the absence of third-party entrepreneurship…

It’s at the state and local level where an independent politician or party can actually hope to get things done. (In this regard, the cranks and idealists in your local Green Party have more sense than the pundits who fantasized about a Bloomberg-for-President campaign.) And it’s at the state and local level where we could use a lot more of them…

They could provide a counterweight to the corruption associated with one-party rule, whether in solidly red states or deep-blue cities. They could get unorthodox candidates elected, and win hearings for unorthodox ideas. And they could help fulfill the promise of federalism, by organizing themselves around local particularities, rather than the national political divide…

The Internet has democratized political organizing in ways that ought to weaken the two-party duopoly. Howard Dean and Ron Paul have proved that you can fund a presidential campaign with a laptop. Where Hoffmann and Daggett have gone, others should be able to follow.

For anyone who wants to try, the time is now. This year has been a good year for independent candidates. Given the public mood these days, 2010 could be an even better one — and there will be a lot more than three offices up for grabs next fall.

13 thoughts on “NY Times op-ed celebrates third parties

  1. Kimberly Wilder Post author

    Thought this was a good piece to open up a discussion about tomorrow.

    I am discouraged. There is practically nothing worth doing in Suffolk County. Except, I do get to write-in the names of the Libertarians who were kicked off the ballot so that the Dems and Reps could cross endorse each other with no competition.

    I think that the piece by Ross Douthat has some excellent points about third parties that we could all use in future discussions.

    (Funny that he used Chris Daggett and Doug Hoffman as examples, when both are still largely in the culture of duopoly parties. I think someone said Hoffman is even registered Republican?)

    Another flaw in Douthat’s piece is that he kind of slapped in the idea that it is not good to run a third party candidate at the presidential level. His argument practically says “this is a sacred cow” in a superstitious way, that does not follow his own logic.

    Oh, well. At least he understands part of ballot access and third parties.

    Please, do tell…what is happening in your county for Election Day tomorrow????

  2. Ross Levin

    For what it’s worth, I mostly agree with the columnist. I think independents and minor partisans have a much better chance of being effective, elected, and/or respected at the state and local levels. I see the appeal of running a candidate for president, but I think (at least in the past few elections, not sure about the upcoming presidential one) there is more bad about it than good. Just my personal opinion.

    In my county, I’m encouraging my parents to vote for Maraky J. Rogers for state supreme court. She’s the only third party or indy candidate on the ballot where I live. There are about five independents running in my county for things like township supervisor or city council, just not in my town.

  3. Don Lake, late at night

    Kimberly Wilder // Nov 2, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    “Thought this was a good piece to open up a discussion about tomorrow. I am discouraged.”

    —– I was very hope ful, even as some one luke warm on Ron Paul, on the end of the horrible, horrible Bush Leage empire.

    I hate the GOP and the Dems. [Especially when they put up lack luster losers like Gore, [GOP in disguise] JoeMotion, Scary Kerry, and Mister Fidelity] John Edwards!]

    The complete collapse of the ‘Loyal Opposition’ in P2008 sooooooooooo damaged my anti Establishment Duopoly activist.

    I am discouraged also. Just my personal opinion.

  4. Robert Milnes

    I already wrote about my ballot. The only Lib or Green is Ken Kaplan, Lib. for governor. There are some Independents for governor. 1 ballot issue-Green Acres funding. What a piss poor show. Losers.

  5. d.eris

    Still, Douthat couldn’t resist poking at Green Party activists as “cranks and idealists,” even as he touts the importance of local and state level politics. The Green Party has almost 160 candidates across the country on ballots tomorrow, or so I’ve read.

  6. Dave Schwab

    “It’s at the state and local level where an independent politician or party can actually hope to get things done. (In this regard, the cranks and idealists in your local Green Party have more sense than the pundits who fantasized about a Bloomberg-for-President campaign.)”

    First off, I think it’s worth noting that the hardcore grassroots campaigning that NYC Greens have done this year almost certainly led to a mention of the Green Party in the NYT, which is a minor victory in itself. By a conservative columnist, no less.

    My favorite quote from the article was “idealists in your local Green Party have more sense than the pundits…” 🙂

    Okay, so it may be a backhanded, I’m-still-a-grumpy-conservative sort of compliment, but it’s still an acknowledgment of what the Greens have accomplished.

  7. Rich Blumenthal

    It’s also possible to try and stand for something within a party. Doug is a conservative Republican who was passed over. That’s when the Conservative Party picked him up. The conservatives of the Republican Party (like me) are his supporters. Please have a look at my website. http://shouldirun.com Thanks! Rich Blumenthal

  8. HS

    In just the past two days, the Tallahassee daily newspaper and the Panama City daily newspaper have featured Paul McKain.

    The Tallahassee columnist stated that McKain may be the 2010 Congressional version of Hoffman. The Panama City article jumped on his candidacy as viable as well. Another newspaper from last week also cited McKain as the “it” candidate for 2010 third party.

  9. Jerry Coon

    Based on the last say, 40 years and where our Country is now and what has been actually accomplished (not) it just amazes me that we traditionally vote Dem or Rep and then expect something great to occur and our America will be saved. Soon we will have a generation of people who will deny freedom because they will have never experienced freedom.
    Who is to blame? The enablers…..us….we are to blame and we are discouraged? I am running as an Independent and if I lose, I win because I stood up and will continue to stand because if I go to the grave discouraged or as a surrendering goat then I have been not worth the blood lost on the colonial battlefields of hope! We must create the vision and unite people to move them towards the possibilities of new options. People like Hoffman and Dagget were not Independents they were Republicans….Tea Party….they are Republicans. The Dems and Rep. were reversible coats, on the inside they are all red and seek to cause a people to be dependent when we are to be independent, self-reliant and examples and guardians of such. Let the real Independents and let third parties put up a fight and put in retreat the two parties who have harmed this country. 2010 Needs to be the year we stand!

  10. Don Lake, late at night

    Fact: The USA has had the look and feel of a fascist, imperial, global empire since Honolulu and 1883. It is the Democans and the Republicrats whom have restricted new ideas and new organizations and then run us off into a ditch!

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