Washington Times Article on Third Parties

Here is an article from the Washington Times on third parties. Thanks to Darryl Perry from the March Open Thread. The tone is unmistakably snarky and dismissive. It even uses the word ‘fringe” in the headline. It does, however, contain some reasonable analysis.

For politicians outside America’s major parties, it has always been thus. In 1789, Thomas Jefferson echoed the sentiments of fellow founders James Madison and George Washington, calling political parties an “avenue to tyranny.”

Four years later, Mr. Jefferson was the leader of the Democratic Republicans, a counter to the Federalist Party.

The reason? Mr. Jefferson was principled, but no fool. In America, two-party rule is the rule, thanks largely to our electoral system.

In nations with proportional representation — that is, the number of legislative seats won by a party is proportional to their percentage of the popular vote — third parties thrive. On the other hand, American winner-take-all voting encourages the formation of two large, heterogeneous parties while limiting the ability of smaller, more eclectic parties to compete.

To wit: A victorious party gains self-sustaining power and prestige. A second-place party can position itself as a credible alternative for the next election. And a third-place party is pretty much out of luck.

See more…


20 thoughts on “Washington Times Article on Third Parties

  1. RedPhillips Post author

    Is this supposed to be a news article or an op-ed? If it is supposed to be a news article then its tone is innapropriate. Also, the guy obviously deliberately picked over the top candidates and parties and issues to highlight his general theme.

  2. RedPhillips Post author

    This is interesting too.

    “Third parties are the idea lab of American politics…

    Twenty years ago, a presidential candidate proposing the elimination of America’s overseas military bases — all of them — would have been laughed off the stage as a crackpot; today, that same candidate is GOP contender Rep. Ron Paul, who once ran for president as a Libertarian.”

  3. Richard Winger

    The author is very ignorant to throw in Lyndon LaRouche, who has been a Democrat since 1979. And he is ignorant to mention the Communist Party, which hasn’t had a presidential candidate since 1984, and no candidate for any public office since the mid-1990’s.

  4. Common Tater

    Is this supposed to be a news article or an op-ed?

    The WT article, your article or both?

    Whether their analysis is “reasonable” or “incredible” should be in IPR comments, not in articles.

  5. NewFederalist

    Typical BS article about alternative parties. Full of half truths, errors and outright crap. Other than that it was swell!

  6. Deran

    I am not sure if this kind of article is a halfhearted attempt to journalistically react to popular interest in and the rise of Americans Elect etc. Or, is this really an attempt to deflate popular interest and delegitimize non Dems and Reps via the article being so halfhearted and poorly written?

  7. Darryl W. Perry

    The article could have been written much better and in a way that didn’t treat alternative parties as “side show freaks”.

    Oh look, it’s a midget and the bearded lady… and their son “goat boy”.

  8. RedPhillips Post author

    Common Tater, the article is clearly divided into two parts. The first is either a poor attempt at humor or a deliberately snarky attempt to delegitimize. The second is an attempt at at least semi-serious analysis. The tone is so obviously condescending that I don’t think it is editorializing to point that out.

    I excerpted the part of the article that I thought might most warrant discussion.

  9. Darryl W. Perry

    The best sentence of the entire article: “election seasons are a harsh reminder of a fundamental American political truth: Despite its representative framework, our national government is essentially a duopoly.”

  10. Paulie

    Whether it was reasonable analysis or not is a value judgment.

    I happen to agree with you, but it’s still an opinion.

  11. pete healey

    #10, My best paragraph of the entire article begins ” In nations with proportional representation… third parties thrive…”.
    He is so right about that.

  12. Let the T-Rex of Talk Radio Entertain U2day

    From what I’ve read Loretta Nall likes her part of the article !

    Mainstream exposure is similarly hard to come by. During the 2006 Alabama gubernatorial race, glib and quick-witted Libertarian candidate Loretta Nall wasn’t allowed to participate in debates; during the current GOP primary, on the other hand, cement-tongued Texas governor Rick Perry was. Repeatedly.

    “It was unfair to not include me, and it’s hard to overcome not being on the stage with the other contenders,” Ms. Nall said. “During debates, I would live blog answers to the questions. It’s hard to be taken seriously when you can’t get your message out.”

    To escape the media invisibility cloak that typically envelopes minor party candidates, Ms. Nall relied on two unique assets: humor and cleavage. After a local newspaper printed and subsequently apologized for a photo that showed the buxom Ms. Nall in much of her glory, the candidate was offended — that is, until she decided to use the incident to her advantage.

    Ms. Nall wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper, thanking him for “introducing the twins to the people of Alabama.” The founder and former head of the U.S. Marijuana Party, she also began selling T-shirts and marijuana stash boxes featuring a photo of her in a dress with a plunging neckline, as well as pictures of her Republican and Democratic opponents.

    Below Ms. Nall’s image, a caption read, “more of these boobs”; below an image of her opponents, a second caption read, “and less of these boobs.” The clever pitch became a national news story, with Ms. Nall appearing on Fox News and MSNBC to discuss her cleavage — as well as her platform of legalizing marijuana, opposing the Patriot Act, extending tax credits for private and home schooling and withdrawing the Alabama National Guard from Iraq.

    “They wanted to focus on anatomy, all right, we’ll focus on boobs,” Ms. Nall said. “But not mine. I had fun with it, but it was a serious campaign for me. And I got more national attention than all of my opponents combined.

    “If you make people laugh, they’ll remember you. And if they remember you, they might pay attention to what you’re saying.”

    Totally stacked

    In the subsequent election, however, Ms. Nall received just 235write-in votes — far short of the 718,327 votes amassed by Republican winner Bob Riley.

    “I love a challenge,” Ms. Nall said. “Nothing worth having is easy to get. But the deck is totally stacked against you.”

  13. Precede with Caution, via Lake

    Fluke’s idea of injustice is a student relating “how embarrassed and powerless she felt when she was standing at the pharmacy counter, learning for the first time that contraception wasn’t covered…”

    This warranted a personal call from the president of the United States to assuage her hurt feelings from Limbaugh’s tough language.

    Today, deviancy has been defined so far down it has been turned on its head.

    The Obama administration’s idea of deviant is any presumption to religious liberty and any sense that individuals should be personally responsible for the costs and consequences of their behavior.

    Star Parker [DC based black female paleoconservative]

  14. paulie

    Star Parker’s statement is ludicrous to say the least. Obama’s call to Fluke was because Limbaugh spent days on end repeatedly trashing her with offensive language, statements and insinuations on his nationally broadcast program for the “crime” of testifying to Congress about her experience and that of other Georgetown graduate teaching assistants.

    The incredibly imbecilic Limurgher apparently does not realize that the number of birth control pills used is not a function of how much sex someone has – they are taken once a day if someone might have sex as a precaution in order to maintain a steady level in the bloodstream. He also demanded that she and her friends post sex tapes online for him and his audience to jerk off to, as a condition of the young women receiving health insurance.

    He said her parents, who are actually conservatives, should be ashamed of her and repeated it numerous times over several days to an audience of millions, likely including many of her parents’ friends and perhaps her parents themselves.

    If that’s not deviant, what is?

    This is why President Obama called her.

    By the way what does that have to do with this thread?

  15. Pingback: Washington Times Article on Third Parties | ThirdPartyPolitics.us

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