Washington Post Columnist Calls for Centrist Third Party Movement

From Matt Miller at the Washington Post via Third Party and Independent Daily:

I’m a Clinton White House alum who had hoped President Obama could usher in the debate we need. It’s hardly all his fault that we’re not there, but I’m convinced the parties’ interest groups and “thought police” make real progress impossible without a new force that shakes things up. Democrats and Republicans care first and foremost about winning elections, a task that bears no necessary relationship to actually solving our major problems. Having our two-party duopoly control the terms of debate may have sufficed when America was the world’s dominant economy, with little competition. But those days are gone. The challenges we face are serious. People know our current arrangements aren’t up to them.

Anecdotal evidence: Speaking to 400 professionals of all stripes in California the other day, I asked who would be seriously interested in a third major political party. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Nearly every hand shot up. Something’s afoot and it’s not just about the Tea Party. The radical center is ready to rise.

Although these types of calls for a third party of the center are nothing new, over at Irregular Times Jim Cook links pieces like this and a recent similar effort by Thomas Friedman at NY Times with the Americans Elect project (previously known as Unity12 and Unity08):

… I was sure that one of the organizations to which Friedman refers is Americans Elect, a DC Beltway corporation formed with the aim of nominating and electing its very own presidential ticket in 2012. The declaration would fit so well with the style of the group (the former Unity12, and before that Unity08) to cultivate private relationships with media figures that result in promotional press pieces.

There’s also been some recent speculation that a billionaire such as Donald Trump or Michael Bloomberg may have something to do with this.

62 thoughts on “Washington Post Columnist Calls for Centrist Third Party Movement

  1. Ross

    Ugh. These calls for a “centrist” third party are really disgusting – they’re based on the idea that “centrism” is a real thing and not just a misguided disillusionment with politics that embraces the false left/right spectrum that only serves to divide people and keep them from thinking, or it’s a false idea that if you’re somehow not “right” (ie, Republican) and “left” (ie, Democrat) you’re automatically right and in the “center.”

    We DO need a third party movement and more general movement that transcends traditional ideas of left and right. But these “centrist” movements so far seem like political elitists trying to project their wrong-headed ideas into the political arena.

  2. Single Winner Districts = Neanderthal Attractor

    Great idea…they can start searching now;
    http://www.GoNott.com

    The Eighth US Parliament
    8/6/2008 to 8/5/2012
    http://www.usparliament.org/basic.htm

    Prime Ministers:
    Gail Lightfoot [Libertarian], Ralph Hoffmann [Democratic-Republican], and Mary J. Ruwart [Libertarian]

    Secretaries:
    James Ogle [Free Parliamentary] and David Olkkola [Democratic]

    100 Elected Members of the Parliament (MPs)

    Libertarian Party – 22 Members of Parliament (MPs)
    Gail Lightfoot, Michael Badnarik, Mary J. Ruwart, Starchild, Ned Roscoe, Richard Winger, Gary Nolan, Cory Nott, Lawrence Samuels, Kristi Stone, Doug Tuma, Aaron Starr, Gabriella Douglas, Mark Hinkle, William J. Wagoner, Dwight Bailey, Richard Vinable, Aarde Atheian, Alex Plewniak, Howard Stern, Bob Barr, Zachary Scott Gordon [American Libertarian]

    Parties with One Seat – 16 MPs
    Vanessa Morley [Defender of the Republic], Darryl W. Perry [Boston Tea], Pat Buchanan [Reform], Orion Karl Daley [Balanced], Noam Chomsky [New], Mike Bogatirev [Environmentalist], Michale Treeplanter [Co-Operative], Michael Davis [Natural Law], David Frey [Socialist USA/California], Mark P. Steele [Discordian], Eric Charles [Orwellian], Michael Looney [Houseless], Eric Stevenson [Pizza], Lloyd Llewellen [Flying Saucer], John Coffey [Unity08] and Mike Banon [Skateboard]

    Green Party – 14 MPs
    Winona Laduke, David Cobb, Medea Benjamin, Mike Nelson, Susan Estes, Kevin Clark [Green/Libertarian], Patrick Purcell, Thomas Leavitt, Mike Rogers, Tad Robinson, Michael Grazian, Gary Swing, Brett Johnsen, Dinah Coffman

    Democratic Party – 9 MPs
    Dennis Kucinich, PRAVDA McCroskey, David Olkkola, Al Gore, Barbara Boxer, John Edwards, Jerry Brown, Victor Cantu, Ralph Hoffmann [Democratic-Republican]

    Independent – 8 MPs
    Arianna Huffington, Rob Elliott, Dale Gieringer, John Anderson, Kat Penisten, Michael Moore, Casper Leitch, Ralph Nader

    Republican Party – 8 MPs
    Ron Paul, Jim Doyle, Colin Powell, John McCain, Lani Guinier, Arnold Swarzenegger, Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Peron

    Pot Party – 5 MPs
    Nate Brown, Myra Fourwinds, Sister Somayah [Pot / Nigritian Kief], Brandon Garcia, Scott Comings

    Free Parliamentary Party – 4 MPs
    Laura Booth, Marcellius Smith [Parliament], Daniel Penisten [Free Parliament] and James Ogle

    Marijuana Party – 3 MPs
    Sabrina Melicia, Kelly Russell, J. Roach

    Peace and Freedom Party – 3 MPs
    Jan Tucker, Maureen Smith, Stewart Alexander

    Comedy Central – 2 MPs
    Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart

    Info. Not Avail. – 2 MPs
    Clint Eastwood, Woody Harrelson

    Radical Revolutionary Party – 2 MPs
    Annie Garner, Jennifer Perkins

    Constitution Party – 2 MPs
    Michael Peroutka and Don J. Grundmann

    Total: 100 Members of Parliament (MPs)

    President Ron Paul [Republican]
    Vice President Gail Lightfoot [Libertarian]

  3. tiradefaction

    The calls for a new “moderate” political party are based on the false idea that the Democrats represent the “far left”, and the Republicans represent the “far right”, in traditional American senses. Neither do.

    We need more viable parties, but not mushy Lou Dobbs “Centrist” parties.

  4. Sean Scallon

    I guarantee you not of those 400 people will knock on doors for the “radical center.” And that’s why these “parties” never get off the ground.

  5. paulie Post author

    A few million $ from a Bloomberg or Trump and some big corporate media coverage might do the trick, though. They can hire people to knock on doors, too.

  6. Best We Can Do? [Lake]

    As the pre Alexandrian greeks often said [wrote?] “moderation in all things”

    ……….. as that contentious student in the back pointed out to the flustered professor, ‘Sir, that is a very extreme statement’. The class was very amused, he was not!

  7. Best We Can Do? [Lake]

    I asked who would be seriously interested in a third major political party. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Nearly every hand shot up………..

    Hey where’s the LP? Well as WONDERFUL as the philosophy might be, the execution (including ethics) is faulty faulty faulty ………….

  8. Rob

    We hear about this every few years. Remember when Paul Tsongas, Lowell Weicker, Angus King, Gary Hart and John Anderson huffed and puffed about this in 95? It does better with editorial boards and out of power politicians than it does real voters. I’m not saying there is not a market for it. Charlie Crist and even Anderson back in 1980 showed that to some extent. But it would have to be well funded–hence Bloomberg– and appeal to moderate Republicans. And come October 2012 it will be fading badly. Kind of like what happened to Anderson.

  9. Rob

    Spot on. Everyone loves the LP’s ideas….then they meet the members and candidates of the LP.

    Four decades of being completely irrelevant to American politics.

    And Wayne Root is happy to ensure that a fifth and sixth decade of irrelevancy is on the way.

  10. Solomon Kleinsmith

    I love it when people try to pretend they know the minds of centrists, or really any other part of the political spectrum that is different than theirs. I don’t know what you think, don’t pretend you know what we think.

    The demand is, there. The groundswell is occurring… groups are forming and growing all over the country… the Rise of the Center is happening now. Just a matter of when it will hit critical mass. 2012 is probably much too early unfortunately, but it’ll happen.

    Solomon Kleinsmith
    Rise of the Center

  11. Ross

    There is no political spectrum! That’s what I’m saying. And centrists apparently believe in it, according to their name. Also, I’m not saying I’m reading the mind of centrists…just the political beliefs.

  12. tiradefaction

    Politics are a lot more nuanced than “left, right, center”, and vary greatly with geographic location and culture. The spectrum, while helpful at times, is a lot more complex than is often portrayed in the US.

  13. tiradefaction

    @Ross

    Well, there *is* a spectrum, it’s just not the flat line two directional path most people are presented as such. Complexity in everything! 😉

  14. paulie Post author

    Politics are a lot more nuanced than “left, right, center”, and vary greatly with geographic location and culture. The spectrum, while helpful at times, is a lot more complex than is often portrayed in the US.

    It’s infinite-dimensional, but selecting certain sets of dimensions is useful for modeling various forms of clustering that occur.

  15. Timothy Yung

    I will support this party if it embraces the following proposals that bipartisans should support:
    1. Ron Paul-Bernie Sanders’ Audit the Fed
    2. Ron Paul-Barney Franks’ Cut the Military Budget by 25%
    3. Ron Paul, Arlen Specter, Patrick Leahy’s restore Habeaus Corpus
    4.Ron Paul’s Bar Surveillance from being used on peaceful groups
    5. Ron Paul’s Sunlight Reading Bill
    6. Ron Paul’s Responsible Adult Pot Possession Legalizatization
    These are simple examples that both liberals and conservatives should support. I am officially deeming myself a Ron Paul centrist.

  16. tiradefaction

    @21

    I’d support that platform. Be interesting though how a candidate for president would coalesce under such a platform.

  17. Allied Central Command

    I agree with the writer, the two party system can’t compete in a world where the majority of democratic governments are of a more dynamic multi-party nature.

    Fortunately, a dynamic muti-party system in the U.S. of America has landed and elected members of several landing craft are making frontal assaults on concrete bunkers of the two-party system, which are located above and are continually spraying our bodies with molten lead and bursting bombs as we speak.

    A communication link currently exists, but we are being decimated. We are in confusion and disarray, and our numbers are being rapidly diminished.

    We consist of a center, a left wing and a right wing too.

  18. Kimberly Wilder

    Timothy,

    You can label Ron Paul a centrist because you don’t have a vagina.

    Ron Paul believes that the government can force women to go through childbirth.

    So, Ron Paul is a fascist to women.

    But, if you don’t care about the basic right a woman has to her own body, then you can call him whatever you like.

  19. pete healey

    My interest in this discussion among the elites (remember Tom Friedman raised the “centrist third party” flag just a few months ago) is that the breakdown of the two party structure continues, and they know it. I don’t care if some R’s and D’s break off and start their own party until it affects me, and it will. This “movement” might open the political space enough for “extremists” to break through, and for PR to be pushed forward as a way out. I’m all for those kinds of results.

  20. Robert Capozzi

    kw: You can label Ron Paul a centrist because you don’t have a vagina…. So, Ron Paul is a fascist to women [for being pro life].

    me: Stipulating that I happen to be pro choice, but these are outrageous charges.

    What would you call pro-life women? If anything, I meet more pro-life females than males; regardless of my experience, can we agree that a large percentage of pro lifers are female?

    Are you implying that females can be pro life and be IN bounds but males — because of their gender — are necessarily out of bounds (“fascist”)?

    I’d hope that reasonable people can agree that when life begins and when it should be protected is a matter that is open for discussion. Or do you believe that anyone who is pro-life is fascist and that that position does not deserve respect?

  21. Robert Capozzi

    Fiscally conservative, socially liberal…hmm, is there an existing 3rd party that fits that description?

    The LP could fill that void. Or we could continue on the sectarian “educationist” path….

  22. Allied Central Command

    Paulie, Bloomberg [Independent] and Giuliani [Republican] are not Libertarians. Furthermore they were not elected, they are not females, and they are not team players.

    If you’re looking for a Libertarian who is “Fiscally conservative, socially liberal” you need not look any further than Allied Central Command. MP Cory Nott [Libertarian] fits that description perfectly, as a self described “fiscal conservative and social liberal”.

    A female/Nott for President!
    Palin/Nott [Republican/Libertarian]
    A female #1, Nott #2!

    Our new programmer Jim Fox is a good prospect too…

    A female/Fox for President!

    Paulie, you seem to want to dance around on Normandy Beach while under fire, and you are of little help to Allied Central Command.

    More than 2500 known casualties, and you’re trying to grasp for straws… Bloomberg [Independent] and Giuliani [Republican] … you’ve wasted so much time, when we’ve thrown you a weapon, but your arms didn’t bother to catch it.

    Paulie, your arms are hanging by your side when you should be working diligently as a team player.

    I’ve tried to get you working with our team…and we have about twenty programmers working on this project being headed up by Reverend Penguin Man, but you pretend we don’t exist.

    How do you expect me to keep feeding you information. That’s why I’ve cut you off, you can’t handle teamwork. You’ve just messed things up for the team as a whole.

    http://www.usparliament.org/potparty.htm

  23. Elaine Comstock-Leirer

    In my dotage I read these comments. Infected by the politicalizationof the abortion argument which is used as a fundraiser for both sides. It is an ethical argument and cannot be resolved by our nanny government. I think that the average voter wants a simple non-intrusive government designated to attend to a simple non nationbuilding foreign policy, doing our national bookeeping and attending to the unintentional unfortunate in our society both adult and children. All other interests should be policed to avoid public conflict. The arguing over the should it be right of center or left of center is a waste of time. The message is simplify.

  24. paulie Post author

    Thanks for “cutting me off” though, I appreciate that. I’m not being sarcastic, I really do. Send me as little crap as possible. None would be awesome.

    The reason I bring up Bloomberg and Giuliani is that they, along with Trump, may be the focus of this project.

    Follow the links I supplied in the article and discussion thread. These folks have in broad terms been described as “fiscally conservative, socially liberal,” but it bears to examine the details of what they believe.

    There seems to be a pattern of a lot of corporate media articles right now which are talking about the need for a new centrist third party. Americans Elect has, according to Jim Cook and the evidence he presents at Irregular Times, cultivated relationships with journalists to “plant” these very type of articles. They are about to roll out a public launch in January.

    At the very same time, Bloomberg is talking up a new major third party. Bloomberg is the mayor of the largest city in the US and one of the richest billionaires in the country. Trump is not exactly poor either.

    It appears that they have the money and media connections to make whatever they do big, if they decide to do it.

    They have been described as centrists and as “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.” @27, Mr. Capozzi suggests that the LP should become the embodiment of such an agenda.

    Therefore, I asked him to examine the specific stances of Bloomberg and Giuliani to determine whether they would be acceptable leaders for the LP. I haven’t been able to find anything nearly so specific about Mr. Trump’s political stances, since he has not actually run for office before, merely suggested that he might.

  25. paulie Post author

    there is a village missing their idiot someplace. 😉

    Yes, I know. But I’m in the mood to do a little unloading on him.

    Bloomberg [Independent] and Giuliani [Republican] are not Libertarians.

    Duh. Of course they are not Libertarians. The question was for Capozzi whether they could be his idea of Libertarians, since they have been described as “socially liberal and fiscally conservative,” in view of their actual stands.

    Furthermore they were not elected,

    They’ve both been elected as Mayors of a city with about 8 million people, which is more people than many sovereign nations have, and with a budget that is bigger than an even larger number of countries. However, it’s true that they have not been elected in your little fantasy role playing game.

    they are not females,

    That is not a criterion either myself or Mr. Capozzi proposed, so I don’t know why you are inserting it into our conversation. Speaking for myself, I don’t consider what junk a prospective political leader has in their underwear to be of great importance; unless I am trying to have sex with or sexual fantasies about someone it is actually of very little difference to me what gender they are.

    If you’re looking for a Libertarian

    I’m not. I was looking for Mr. Capozzi’s opinion of whether the aforementioned gentlemen could fit into his idea of what a big tent LP should become.

    you are of little help to Allied Central Command.

    Who said I wanted to help your so-called command?

    when we’ve thrown you a weapon, but your arms didn’t bother to catch it.

    I didn’t ask you to throw me anything.

    Paulie, your arms are hanging by your side when you should be working diligently as a team player.

    I work as a team player by posting articles and comments here and by collecting signatures to place alternative parties on the ballot. In numerous states, they may not have been on the ballot if it was not for my efforts, and our articles here have been picked up by major media as well as read by many thousands of people directly on IPR…4 million page views since May 20, 2008.

    Granted, I’m not on your team. I’m not interested in helping you play fantasy football or GI Joes and Barbies either. Oh well.

    you pretend we don’t exist.

    I’ve devoted far more time to you than you have demonstrated you deserve.

    How do you expect me to keep feeding you information.

    I don’t, and never did.

  26. paulie Post author

    pc, no, I don’t support Mayor Mike or Mr. 9/11.

    OK. So, perhaps “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” is insufficient criteria?

  27. Robert Capozzi

    pc, yes, fc&sl is the broad strokes for my interest in a political party at this moment.

    Thinking out loud, if the LP or a liberty party were to catch fire, becoming a real 3rd party, maybe electing a few MCs, say, and the duopoly started to come unglued, I could imagine people like Bloomberg, Ventura, Guiliani, and Johnson joining it. Some Ls find that idea revolting; I don’t. After all, I’m in a party that has people who believe in the right to private nukes, which matches up on my wacky scale as much as any of Guiliani’s dysfunctional ideas.

    Strikes me that in politics, it’s impossible not to align with people who may have ideas that we strongly disagree with on some issues, at least. Where the tipping point is is up to the individual.

  28. paulie Post author

    I will support this party if it embraces the following proposals that bipartisans should support:
    1. Ron Paul-Bernie Sanders’ Audit the Fed
    2. Ron Paul-Barney Franks’ Cut the Military Budget by 25%
    3. Ron Paul, Arlen Specter, Patrick Leahy’s restore Habeaus Corpus
    4.Ron Paul’s Bar Surveillance from being used on peaceful groups
    5. Ron Paul’s Sunlight Reading Bill
    6. Ron Paul’s Responsible Adult Pot Possession Legalizatization
    These are simple examples that both liberals and conservatives should support. I am officially deeming myself a Ron Paul centrist.

    Actually, one working hypothesis I have discussed elsewhere is that this party may actually be designed to head off the possibility of a party like the one you are describing gaining any traction.

    The very last thing that the people I suspect may be behind all this recent talk want is an end to the Federal Reserve, cutting back the military-industrial complex, scaling back the drug war or of the domestic surveillance state. I notice that some of the well-known and well-off “fiscally conservative, socially liberal centrists” we have been discussing in this thread do not want to make any moves at all in those directions – indeed, quite the opposite.

    However, I do agree with you that those issues could provide the basis for a different kind of synthesis – one that doesn’t strike the government crony capitalist elite as good for their prospects. Perhaps, the embryonic points of agreement embodied in the Campaign for Liberty statement that brought Nader, McKinney, Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin to the same stage (and would have brought Bob Barr if he deigned to be on stage with “people like Cynthia McKinney”) is a potential threat to some powerful interests, and the last thing they want to see is to have it emerge as a third power in the political game?

  29. Allied Central Command

    “…[…] Granted, I’m not on your team. I’m not interested in helping you play fantasy football or GI Joes and Barbies either. Oh well.[…]

    Well yeah, you’re not on my team…my team consists of all voters and independents. Including the Free Marijuana, and many original citizens who vote. They’re not on your team, because you choose to exclude them. Your team in one dimensional.

    My team consists of legitimately elected names, with one hundred possible self-categorizations. Votes cast, and registration forms as proof.

    It may comprised of 5000 people based on records of voters who have participated, but the information effects larger numbers. Google for example, a business affected by The USA Parliament Inc., whose name derived form me, the USA-PAR’s founder. (If you need some witnesses to verify this fact, please feel free to inquire before you blow me off as “fantasy”. One recently ran for US Congress is Colorado, one owns Greens.org, and a third is a gardener at UC Berkeley. They were my antagonists back in ’92-’95.

    My opponents consist primarily of egotistical party boss types, who are single winner district power grabbers. I’d love to meet people like me, who prefer legitimate elected team members of 100 (or more?).

    MMP James Barbee [Free Marijuana] is one of out top vote getters.

    A female/Barbee for President!

    He is with the Frees.

    Join the Frees,
    opposite gender #1!

    “Why do you THINK they called it Google?”

  30. paulie Post author

    Thinking out loud, if the LP or a liberty party were to catch fire, becoming a real 3rd party, maybe electing a few MCs, say, and the duopoly started to come unglued, I could imagine people like Bloomberg, Ventura, Guiliani, and Johnson joining it. Some Ls find that idea revolting; I don’t.

    They would not be merely joining, they would be leading.

    The Americans Elect Corporation is planning on running a presidential ticket in 2012, not after Libertarians elect members of congress. The candidates they pick are not going to change any of their views to accept an L label, even if they were willing to accept it.

    They’ll continue to support corporate welfare, the Federal Reserve or a new international equivalent, foreign interventionism, domestic surveillance, and a war on drugs – including marijuana. They won’t be shy about a “gun control” (victim disarmament) agenda either. And they have way more money and media “credibility” than the LP. Also, they have more than enough money to get on the ballot in every state without the LP’s help.

    They can do all this while still being, in broad terms, “fiscally conservative, socially liberal centrists.”

  31. Allied Central Command

    @ #40, Paulie writes; “[…]The candidates they pick (Americans Elect Corporation) are not going to change any of their views to accept an L label […]”

    Here Paulie [Info. Not Avail.] is demonstrating how he helps marginalize the LP, by making a division between the two groups. He’s actively reducing the LP’s influence.

    I will help Paulie, by conducting more behind the scenes email…The USA Parliament, Inc. is based on votes cast as proof, and though small…we are diligent. We have already integrated and absorbed many LP members and differing parties, categories and independents, in California into our voting system, so it’s a matter of communication and casting of votes on decisions and elections.

    We realize Battle of the Bulge is 150,000 years in the future, that is why we are calm.

    –James

    PS Sorry about all the typos, been traveling and moving around…I hate it when I forget to proofread!

    MMP James Barbee [Free Marijuana] is one of out top vote getters.

    A female/Barbee for President!

    Barbee’s with the Frees.

    Join the Frees,
    opposite gender #1!

    “Why do you THINK they called it Google?”

  32. paulie Post author

    In their own words:

    http://americanselect.org/

    BAN article:

    http://www.ballot-access.org/2010/11/12/unity08-concept-likely-to-reappear-in-2012-presidential-election/

    “In 2006, a group of seasoned campaign professionals, including both Republicans and Democrats, proposed to create a “third force” in the 2008 presidential election which would be centrist. The group called itself Unity08, and proposed an on-line “national presidential primary” to choose an independent presidential candidate, who might very well be a member of one of the two major parties, but who would run in the general election independently of the two major parties. The rules also said that the vice-presidential nominee should not be of the same party affiliation as the group’s presidential nominee.

    The group proposed to handle ballot access for its future ticket by qualifying Unity08 as a qualified party in most of the states. The group actually qualified itself as a party in Florida and Mississippi, but made no further headway because the Federal Election Commission ruled that no one could give Unity08 more than $5,000. This made it impossible for the group to raise enough money to carry on more ballot access work. That hostile FEC ruling was upheld by a U.S. District Court on October 16, 2008, but it was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, on March 2, 2010.

    Now some of the founders of Unity08, along with new backers, plans to put the plan into operation for 2012. The group has a sketchy web page, http://americanselect.org.”

  33. Allied Central Command

    The Americans Elect Party is a group too, that shouldn’t be viewed as a threat. On the contrary, they should be welcomed into The USA Parliament, Inc., as individuals with ideas that can represented.

    I sort of feel like Pauli and Kimberly are responding that they don’t like the Americans Elect Party. But I see this as an opportunity to engage with larger coalitions, as long as the communications and bridges can be adequately completed through the ranked voting Sainte-Lague parliament seat distribution system.

    I think if you look at advanced election systems, you might find a much more advanced product.

    And there’s room for conservative, liberal, corporate, agricultural, …pretty much all kinds of individuals.

    But do I sense a fear, that some single winner district power grabbers will take advantage of plurality elections with large cash reserves?
    Much like Hitler, as he took mover the government in WW2, but he did it under proportionalism. Then he abolished elections and his regime ended in failure.

    Well, single winner districxt elections are even easier to take over. The minimal threshold being 33.33% of the votes plus ntwo votes, as long as the two parties split the remaining balance.

    In The USA Parliament, Inc.’s rules…probably our biggest accomplishment, the rules allow diverse individuals working together with votes cast as proof.

    To me it’s plurality elections that give democracy a bad name.

    These are rules for a proportionate parliament;
    http://www.usparliament.org/rules.htm

    There are rules…rule number one for example…something like “all ballots must be marked with consecutively ranked numbers, beginning with the number one.”

    Someone has to be persnickety, and make sure the votes are cast correctly according to the rules. Otherwise, you’d end up with a two-party system, where a large percent of the people aren’t represented.

    Additionally, with ranked voting on decisions, all parties’ and independents’ ideas can be ranked, and the ideas that receive 50% plus one can be implemented by the elected representatives. Ideas with less than 50% of the vote are not implemented. Plus, you can have multiple ideas ranked in order from top to bottom, to give direction and levels of importance.

    I think majority rule is a good idea. But the minorities of .99% plus one vote can also be protected under pure proportional representation, by giving them (the 1%ers) a seat at the table as individuals giving input to the group as a whole.

  34. Brad M

    For all the naysers about 3rd party politics please contact the Liberal Democrats (actually moderate despite the name) in the UK and ask them about it. Oops, sorry, they probably don’t have time to talk as they are actually governing the country right now.

  35. paulie Post author

    I don’t think you’ll find too many naysayers about alt party politics here. Of course, we disagree quite a bit about the particulars.

  36. Robert Capozzi

    pc: [Americans Elect] can do all this while still being, in broad terms, “fiscally conservative, socially liberal centrists.”

    me: Something’s come off the rails in this conversation, it seems. I’d like the LP to fill this fc/sl void, or perhaps see a liberty party do so.

    Americans Elect might well be an improvement to the current state of affairs, if only to break the icejam and get people thinking outside the box a bit more.

    Today, the LP IS fiscally conservative and socially liberal. The LP is not IMO centrist, but rather extreme right and extreme left combined, on one level. On another, right/left don’t apply, but I would say we’re still “extreme”/”abolitionist”, that is, we generally advocate rapid change (I’d say dislocative and precipitous change). Put yet another way, the LP generally proposes ideas that few think are viable in the short to intermediate term, which I believe is where politics is played. Ls tend to advocate grand long term ideas, I guess as an attempt to “educate” or “shock” or something equivalent.

    I don’t happen to think that’s our optimal positioning. Often, these grand ideas only serve to marginalize us.

    Soon may be a time for a tectonic shift in American politics…many signs seem to point to that possibility. We can take advantage of that possibility, or we can remain aloof and on the fringes, disengaged, for all practical purposes. I’d prefer to engage the center, but politics is a numbers game, and one TAAAL-ist ain’t gonna cut it!

  37. paulie Post author

    Americans Elect might well be an improvement to the current state of affairs, if only to break the icejam and get people thinking outside the box a bit more.

    Do you think the Reform Party’s prominence in the late 90s did that?

    Soon may be a time for a tectonic shift in American politics…many signs seem to point to that possibility.

    Yes, I think you are correct. At 38 and 40 I point out that this could go in a direction which some powers that be wouldn’t like, so it’s possible that this may be an attempt to head that off at the pass and channel it in a direction which is safer for their financial interests.

  38. Ross

    @21 – that’s not “centrism.” That is a way of transcending the left/right illusion and making it irrelevant. That, I totally support.

    @38 – that would not surprise me. I think if that movement were to emerge, it would be like a modern Populist movement. That’s very threatening to those in power.

  39. NewFederalist

    #45- Nice try. The LibDems are junior members of a coalition government. They actually lost seats in the last election. They are far from “governing”. I don’t mean to be dismissive of their accomplishments but you WAY overstate the situation.

  40. Michael H. Wilson

    I know that Ronald Reagan is a favorite of many people in the LP. Well here is proof that the old actor was scamming us all the time. He was a Communist! And he started us down the path that Obama is now walking down. Who we gonna call!

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/medicares-soviet-label/#more-88437
    “Medicare, Where Soviet Economic Thinking Lives On,” was the headline on a recent blog offering commentary on an article about Medicare pricing in The Wall Street Journal, accompanied by a videotaped, highly critical interview on The Journal’s “Online Opinion.”… “It was the administration of President Ronald Reagan…”

  41. Robert Capozzi

    pc: Do you think the Reform Party’s prominence in the late 90s did that?

    me: Early to mid, 90s, yes. It was an early indication that something is rotten in Denmark, and a lot of people were hearing that.

  42. Catholic Trotskyist

    Kimberley at 24 refuses to answer Robert C’s question at 26. Most likely she is too afraid about the coming rise of Catholic Trotskyism.

    There is a real center, but we need proportional rerpesentation and presidential runoffs in order for it to come forth. Then the silent majority who is socially conservative, economically socialist, will come forth and become the largest party. But Timothy’s program is a good start toward a centerism that is not dominated by the Bloomberg corporatists.

  43. tiradefaction

    @45

    They’re junior partners, the Tories still run most of the show, but they of course have some influence (Got parliament to approve the referendum on electoral reform)

  44. tiradefaction

    @55

    Sorry, must have missed your comment…

    Though, they are *technically* governing, as junior partners in a coalition. They have some executive cabinet members crafting national policy, however the majority of the real power, and decisions lay with the Tories (Conservative Party).

  45. Robert Capozzi

    The British situation is substantially different since they have a different voting system. It only tells us that the idea of a 3rd party can work to maintain a semblance of domestic tranquility.

  46. tiradefaction

    @57

    Actually, at least federally speaking they use the same voting system we do (First past the post). However…they do have a fairly different structure of government (parliamentary), and also have far less restrictive ballot access laws, so I’m sure those play a part.

  47. Robert Capozzi

    pc: At 38 and 40 I point out that this could go in a direction which some powers that be wouldn’t like, so it’s possible that this may be an attempt to head that off at the pass and channel it in a direction which is safer for their financial interests.

    me: Hmm, sounds conspiratorial. Party ARE conspiracies. If the “powers that be” are conscious of the fact that the Rs and Ds are dysfunctional, I’d tell “them” they are correct!

    If they engineer an astroturf 3rd party, I’d hope they’d factor in liberty into the equation, since liberty and peace promote a more robust economic situation. If it’s Bloomberg just doing a Perot imitation, I’m not enthused.

  48. paulie Post author

    If it’s Bloomberg just doing a Perot imitation, I’m not enthused.

    My best guess is that is what it is, although it is possible it may be Trump doing the same thing.

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