Third Party & Independents Archives

TEA Party or Third Party, Cont.

I would assess the recent debate on the merits of a third party as inconclusive. Expressed feelings of hopelessness were prevalent but if specific third party obstacles were removed those feelings might be replaced with an antonym. Some expressed hopelessness as it relates to a loss of confidence and trust in government. Such feelings were manifest in the belief that government and business interests have become so entwined as to exclude We The People from the political equation. Like myself, some believe that we are governed as a Corpocracy rather than a democratic Republic.

Others expressed hopelessness in terms of realizing there are diverse opinions being expressed with little convergence or coalescing taking place. The desire for a more pragmatic and centrist oriented political party was voiced.
Based on the scope of the problem being discussed, I would propose we break the problem down into blocks or segments. One segment might cover a third party endeavor to regain public trust and govern in the interests of all citizens. Another segment might postulate the ingredients required to reform government. Then, we might conclude with an overview of third parties in an attempt to identify or recognize a party, or parties, most likely to appeal to the public and achieve some measure of reform.

So, what might be done to restore trust and confidence in the political system? My first thought goes to accountability in government. I find our legislative officials enjoy a free rein to fail individually, or as a group, with little or no accountability from any quarter. This is especially true at the House and Senate level. I see no reason to recite the failures of government policies over the last 40 years. We have gone from being the wealthiest nation to the largest debtor nation in a relatively short timeframe. Yet, we know that during this timeframe incumbents have been re-elected a high percentage of the time. As if this is a learned behavior, CEO’s have seen their companies fail and still enjoy the big pay package, seemingly oblivious to the resulting damage. The public has suffered. The public has become wary.

I would point to accountability as a major player in restoring trust. To regain the public trust we must, somehow, stop rewarding mediocrity and failure. While not a new phenomena it has become more commonplace and thus, more damaging to society.

Another major player in establishing renewed trust is reform directed at government. People sense the need for reform but see little political action towards carrying out such reform. The recent election was all about change. Yet many feel the change they have observed is not the change they expected or wanted. For many this is, perhaps, worse than no change. The fight over health care is a good example that the road to reform can be rocky. Still, the status quo is unacceptable and there is much to be said for weighing the political landscape and stating clear and achievable goals.

Accountability and reform are two easily identifiable attributes that, if adopted by a party, should advantage that party over others. Are there other ways to restore trust and confidence in a gun-shy populace? Well, the political battlefield is strewn with the remnants of third parties. How can we move from ‘hopelessness’ to ‘liberty for all’? What role can, or should a third parties play?

Posted by Roy Ellis at August 21, 2009 9:46 AM
Comment #286731

People complaining about not having enough choices should look at the primary election that replaced Rahm E in the Illinois 5th, or aren’t 23 candidates enough? The Dmcrt that won was not a placeholder or the choice of the establishment, former neighbors of mine and one guy who grew up in my great-grandparents old house:

and the Green party candidate in the election was 28 years young:

Posted by: ohrealy at August 21, 2009 2:22 PM
Comment #286732

Accountability and reform are the main talking points of both of the established political parties right now. This means you’re correct in your assessment, but you have to realize that everyone knows this is the name of the political game ever since Obama’s victory.
Now both parties play lip service to these issues, clamoring to carry out reform or to shoot down someone else’s by making it scary and accountability has degenerated into a more documented form of finger pointing in order to gain political advantage.
Here we see the problem with this sickening back and forth of the two party pendulum that beats issues into politically dead horses. The public then becomes weary of the endless back biting and infighting which causes most to tune out.
The best example is how America voted for fast change instead of the same old DC gridlock, but once the new administration started following through, suddenly the US government is moving too fast. Everyone suddenly asks, what’s the big hurry? This is the two party system in action, naturally grinding everything to a halt.
The big thing to overcome with finding the center of gravity for such a third party is first a deep bias in Americans towards any possible success in such an endeavor. Every time I bring up the issue of a third party, people go blank and say “What third party?” As if it’s impossible because it has never been done.
Another important factor is to emphasis the inherent power independent voters already wield. The only thing getting in our way is a lack of focus as the two established parties vie for our attention.

Posted by: Fred at August 21, 2009 2:42 PM
Comment #286734

Fred, I’m quite sure the accountability and reform being bantered about by the duopoly is far from what I have in mind. I suggest the duopoly is referencing the insurance companies when they say they want accountability. Always pointing away from the Corpocracy. And, the reform they are seeking is what I would call chamge, cosmetic or fringe at best.
I’m suggesting that if we structure real accountability and real reform into third parties the people would renew their trust and confidence in third parties and in the political system. I think this would overcome the ‘deep bias’ you reference.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 21, 2009 5:08 PM
Comment #286736

I agree structuring accountability into any third party is a good idea and may well help with America’s bias against them.

Posted by: Fred at August 21, 2009 5:43 PM
Comment #286758

The basis for existence as a power broker of ANY political party is MONEY! Without money, and lots of it, reaching the public with information about the party is nearly impossible. And the instant a party ties its fate to money as a means to reach the public, it has compromised every other value and principal the party may have been originally founded upon.

A small political party aware that it cannot grow without money is going to do what when offered a million dollars in exchange for a Board Member seat by an insurance company, or Union group, or other special interest? The dilemma is very real, and why the various third and independent parties out there have had no success in becoming contending parties at the national level of politics.

If they take the money, they will be no better than the duopoly parties. If they don’t take the money, they cannot reach the mass audience of the public needed to grow their party. Speech is free in America, communication however, is VERY EXPENSIVE! And that simple reality is a big part of why the duopoly party in America remains unchallenged.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 22, 2009 12:37 AM
Comment #286767

yes, let’s thank our Founder’s for free speech. Couldn’t agree with you more, David. Also, liked your post on a previous thread re government we don’t talk about. Clearly, the money influence is the most serious, and ever growing problem our nation faces. Jut think what a more perfect union we would have if we could just scrape the slime off the top level of bureacracy. The FDA, Consumer Affairs, Fed Reserve, all these agencies and commissions would be able to function in the interest of the people.
I believe to be dismissive of the idea that we can reform government is not only wrong but dangerous. This thing has been ramping up exponentially for decades and at some point anarchy will set in. We may come to experience some of that ‘let them eat cake’ history. Remember, Nader received 18% of the popular vote an I wouldn’t call his organization stellar by any means. I voted for him last time around but I was never able to get on his website with my old dialup system. Says something about his teams innovative ability re mass commo. As long as people are allowed to believe there is no hope the situation will remain hopeless. But, if one believes in ‘one man, one vote’ and the field of dreams, ‘build it and they will come’ as it relates to a third party, then victory and reform becomes possible. I would think that if 50 people could coalesce around a third party structured to promote accountability and reform of government people would spring to it. The power of the Internet has barely been tapped and everyday more people tie on. A third party with a popular agenda would not have to expend big bucks to be successful. People would seek out information on the website. No sense to pandering to the media with buckets of cash. Can be done much much better via the Internet. A TV add is for 30 seconds. The Internet is there waitng for you 24/7. And, it should be information going both ways.
Your participation, however negative, is appreciated. Just shows how much work remains to be done. After another segment or two we may bolt a dream party together and see what folks think. Want to help?

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 22, 2009 9:58 AM
Comment #286770

Roy said: “I believe to be dismissive of the idea that we can reform government is not only wrong but dangerous.”

Couldn’t agree more, Roy. And yes, the kind of anarchy we saw in our cities between 1967 and 1971, is exactly what we have to look forward to again, if reforms are not forthcoming, and that right quick.

I have written several times at Watchblog, that all action begins with the belief in the outcome of that action. Your comment is astute that the hope and belief precede the reality. However, hope, belief, and hard work are often insufficient to create a reality. They are prerequisite, but, no guarantor.

A third party must communicate to 10’s of millions of Americans on a regular basis to garner sufficient momentum to challenge the duopoly party. And that fact necessitates the money dilemma.

The power of the internet is awesome, but, not limitless. In reality, the internet is becoming a place for political perspectives to drown in an ocean of competing political perspectives. Gaining trust on the internet is no easy thing when anybody and their brother are setting up phishing, scam, and fraud sites to take advantage of the unwary.

Again, it comes back to money. The ability to quickly (two years or less) establish confidence and trust for an internet site organization asking for money, requires a great investment in marketing and advertising both on, and external to, the internet. Politico is an example of what can be done in a short time with money. VOID is an example where large up front investing was absent.

Starting up a third party and relying on the internet for it to take off, is an unlikely proposition. That said, stranger things have happened, and the attempt should be made nonetheless. Since, as we agree, all objectives begin with a hope, an idea, and hard work implementing it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 22, 2009 12:12 PM
Comment #286772

Right you are David. Want to correct my previous post stating that Nader received 18% of the third party vote. That feat belonged to Perot in 1992. And, I do think that shows that third parties can be contenders given the right circumstances.
Agree, initially, to wrestle the Corpocracy to ground would require fighting fire with fire. Meaning that you are correct, it would take some serious money. But, we should recognize we would only have to fight that battle a couple of times to give a third party a leg up. Once in power the system could be changed to allow political parties to compete without the money influence. That would mean persuading media to provide free air time to viable candidates. Note that 80% of campaign funds currently goes to media advertising. There are a number of things that can be done to facilitate a third party coming to power. Run positive campaigns, take the high road, don’t attack the opposition. Develop and retain a well organized cadre of grass roots volunteer. The Internet provides for establishing a pretty much virtual party of volunteers. I would think retiring baby boomers would want to volunteer time and effort for a startup third party. There are many ways to keep cost low. But, the major thing is to structure a party arouund accountability and reform of government. Otherwise, people will take a wait and see approach and you won’t get much traction. You have to have a better product than your opposition. A good product will sell itself. People need to agree with the party’s agenda and principles to a point where they are willing to put $10-$20 bucks out there.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 22, 2009 1:17 PM
Comment #286818

“No matter how important you think you are, how strong you think you are, and how self-confident you are, you will be struck by the fact they hand you a voting card and you can decide whether we go to war, put our people in harm’s way, who gets healthcare, who gets education, who our friends are in the world and how we handle global warming. It’s all on you and a lot of people count on you.”

Mike Quigley from

Posted by: ohrealy at August 23, 2009 4:46 PM
Comment #286828

Grandstanding ohrealy. He doesn’t get to present a bill or vote on a bill until it’s been blessed by those at the Committee Chair level. And, what passes through the Committee Chair has already been filtered by the Corpocracy. Delusional Democracy as Joel Hirschhorn likes to refer. Sad, but true.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 23, 2009 10:49 PM
Comment #286843

I think the major problem when running on a reform and accountability ticket, aside from the money and means to reach people which I assume you will tackle next time you post, is that both of those words are anathema to politicians. As much as we would like to believe that we could form a political party without the corporate restrictions and slimy back-stabbing of the current political parties, we would need some of these slime-balls to stick around with any sort longevity. And when you start whispering things around DC that rhyme with gerrymandering and have anything even resembling a concrete plan of action, the cat calls and mud-slinging would be enough to make a saint seem like Charles Manson. The big problem is not getting enough people to agree with us, it’s getting enough people to agree with us after we are ad hominem-ed to near death. Hell, we would almost need our own news channel just to keep up.

Posted by: Doug at August 24, 2009 10:04 AM
Comment #286856

I agree Doug. Reform and accountability are anathema to politicians and the Corpocracy as well. And, it would be a real dog fight having just a few elected ‘reformist’trying to push reform as a minority. Definitely a post coming relative to that very issue.
. Doug said, “Hell, we would almost need our own news channel just to keep up.” Yes, The Internet will be needed for just that. Robust communications from the grassroots through the elected official will be necessary. Politicians should feel the need to communicate frequently with their party members to insure there are few or no misunderstandings, beat down rumors and propaganda, etc. The grassroots should be communicating their feelings up the line much as is done at town hall meetings. I would think a Party news channel would be wanted and required. Part of the success of a party would be facilitation in keeping the voters interested in the day to day workings of the party and their elected officials. Likewise, keeping the elected officials interested in communicating their ideas, on which bills are coming up, where to expect trouble, etc. The Internet makes that kind of close and ongoing contact possible.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 24, 2009 2:14 PM
Comment #286872

I would postulate that Ron Paul’s campaign was very much like a third party campaign. Considering the facts that he is a sitting senator, a member of the republican party, and a widely recognized name, he was unable to participate in all the televised debates. He was never mentioned as a serious candidate by any of the MSM. During his campaign, it was mentioned repeatedly that his primary means of support was the internet. With all the advantages Paul had he never contended with Obama or Clinton. I don’t see how one can imagine that an organization starting completely from scratch, with none of the aforementioned advantages could possibly succeed. There are too many people that uninformed and choose to remain so.

Posted by: JayTea at August 24, 2009 4:45 PM
Comment #286876

JayTea, it would seem that a person of Ron Paul’s political caliber would have made a much better showing. But, I see his weakness in much the same light as the many third parties vying to be recognized. I accept the premise that based on the last 40 years of Corpocracy rule the people no longer have trust and confidence in the political system. Follow that up with the people being really turned off by the Bush/Republican administration leading up to last election. He lost points just for being part of the duopoly, be it demo or repub. Then, he, and as most third parties have done, failed to structure his campaign around accountability and pure reform. Therein, in the eyes of the public, he becomes no different than any other third party effort. A lack of trust in government and should he win there is no party structure to prevent the party from being compromised, over time, by the special interest and the money influence. Then, he presents a mixed agenda of reform sprinkled with social issues. I believe, before tackling social issues, especially divisive issues, a party should target reform. Having accomplished that, then move on to incorporate social issues. First, it’s imperative to win elections, and I think to do that a party has to target solely reform issues initially. You would loose some votes by refusing to take a stand on abortion but by taking sides on the issue you would loose even more votes. You would need to explain to the voting public that the effort is to reform government and it’s like a one time chance to concentrate on reform, get some things right, and after achieving reform the party would take on social issues. People would be asked to understand that there really is no chance of passing good legislation relative to social issues as long as the Corpocracy remains entrenched . IMO, it is just impossible to try and reform education, healthcare, environmental, energy, immigration, social security and taxes, among others, so long as the tentacles of the Corpocracy are wrapped tightly around government controls. He never calls for the removal of the Corpocracy. I need to say that I have briefly looked over some of his campaign objectives.

Education: Paul supports giving educational control back to parents, rather than allowing the federal government to fund the schools. ((is it because he fears the Corpocracy))
Energy/Environmental Issues: Paul says federal government has proven itself “untrustworthy” with environmental policy by facilitating polluters, subsidizing logging in the National Forests, and instituting one-size-fits-all approaches that discriminate against those they are intended to help. ((is it because he fears the Corpocracy))
Experience: U.S. representative, obstetrician-gynecologist
Gay Marriage: Opposes gay marriage. Supports civil unions. ((may be laudable but will cost a lot of votes))
Health Care: Paul pledges to preserve “health freedom.” Supports making all medical expenses tax-deductible. Pledges to eliminate federal regulations that discourage small businesses from providing coverage and supports giving doctors ability to collectively negotiate with insurance companies to drive down the cost of care. ((he is looking for more change within the system and than real reform. Nothing bold here and seeking good legislation while under the purview of the Corpocracy is fruitless.))
Immigration: Paul has proposed six point plan to secure America’s borders. (1) Physically secure borders and coastlines. (2) Enforce visa rules. (3) No amnesty. (4) No welfare for illegal aliens. (5) End birthright citizenship, removing incentives for illegal immigrants to come to the U.S. (6) Pass true immigration reform because he thinks the current system is incoherent and unfair. Paul also is a strong advocate for limiting the ability of government to collect and store data regarding citizens’ personal, financial and medical matters. Opposes any effort to establish a national ID card system. ((a good reform plan ))
Social Security: Paul has called the Social Security system “a mess” and supports allowing younger Americans to get out of the system. Supports personal retirement accounts. Has supported legislation to ensure that money paid into the system is only used for Social Security and opposes benefits for anyone who has not paid into the system and for illegal immigrants. ((A social issue that on it’s face seems flawed IMO. Letting people opt out would doom the system.))
Stem Cell Research: Paul opposes federally funded embryonic stem cell research ((Social issue))
Taxes and Budget issues: Paul pledges to immediately work to phase out the Internal Revenue Service and eliminate the federal income tax and most cabinet departments. Supports lowering taxes to create jobs and allow taxpayers to make decisions for themselves. Believes the Federal Reserve fosters runaway debt by increasing the money supply and supports its elimination. Has expressed concern that the American economy is in the hands of foreign governments because their central banks finance America’s spending. He feels that we need to stop private banks, wasteful agencies and lobbyists, corporations on welfare, and governments from collecting foreign aid to dictate the size of our budget. ((don’t see a plan to clean up campaign finance and remove the influence of money from the political system. Until those issues are broached his tax and budget issues can never be accomplished. And, I think the people realize that and treat is tax and budget plans as so much eye wash, IMO))

I’m going to post another article soon that will discuss much of what you have posted about Jay Tea. And thanks for the comments.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 24, 2009 9:30 PM
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