Third Party & Independents Archives

Third Party Ingredients; Rules

Following a fairly active debate on melding the ingredients of accountability for politicians and reform of government into the structure of a 21st century political party, we find we are basically stuck on apathy. Most expressed the view that a third party cannot overcome the obstacles to success. However, we should soldier on in the hope that as more issues are broached people will begin to realize the strengths such a party might provide. So, let’s continue to work on the ingredients by debating the rules necessary to ensure that party objectives are successfully carried to conclusion and that the party’s commitment to the membership remains steadfast, year over year.

It’s clear that initially, a party will have to act according to current law and operate much as any other third party. That’s a weakness I see no way around. The party is asking for our trust when we are well aware that peoples trust in politics is waning, or non-existent. But, a party has to start from somewhere. The public would be made aware that, with the founding of the party, in the legal sense, party rules would go into effect from that time forward. However, some confidence could be gained by having those interested in becoming members sign a pledge to support the party’s agenda and agree to the ‘party rules’ as they are stated, as part of the registration process.

The rules we will want to debate are those rules that relate to oversight responsibility assigned to the party membership and locked down to a point where they are near impossible to change, edit or delete. I’m sure there would be reason for another set of rules that might relate to party business, organization and normal boiler plate for a PAC or a political party. Those rules could be changed as necessary. Here are the rules I believe necessary to restore trust in politics and ensure a political party’s success and longevity.

1. Members must sign this pledge affirming their support for the agenda and rules set forth by the __________ Party.
2. Members will cast their votes relating to party business via the Internet on the party's website(s).
3. To change, add, or delete a party rule requires a two-thirds approval, based on the total vote cast by the party membership.
4. If X percent of members submit a complaint against another member a vote to clear or terminate must be held. All complaints must be posted, in a cumulative manner, on the Party's website within 8 hours of receipt. (This will be a pro-forma process).
5. Pursuant to Rule #4, a party member who holds an official Party position, or position of U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, Cabinet Head, Supreme Court Justice, Czar Appointee, Political Appointee, Ambassador, Vice President, and President, must enjoy an approval rating of two-thirds of the total votes cast by the national party membership. Otherwise, his/her party affiliation will be terminated with no further support for current or future political endeavors.
6. Pursuant to Rule #4, a party member elected to a State office must enjoy a two-thirds approval rating, based on the total votes cast by that States party membership. Otherwise, his/her party affiliation will be terminated with no further support for current or future political endeavors. Members serving in the position of U.S. Senator or U.S. House of Representatives are excluded, as these positions are included under rule #5 covering the federal or national sector of government.

IMO, these rules bring proper redress to egregious violations relating to accountability issues and in promoting the Party agenda. Invoking these few rules would restore trust in a political endeavor and lead to needed reform of government. I’m sure there are other approaches and better rules. The question: are these rules adequate to restore the peoples trust in a political party. Are they adequate to enforce violations of accountability and failure to support the Party’s agenda?

Posted by Roy Ellis at August 29, 2009 9:55 AM
Comment #287069

I have a question. I just woke up so I may have missed this if you covered it, but would the “members” of the party have direct control over who represents them? Meaning, Average Joe Republican has no say who is put forth as a presidential candidate, no matter if they can vote for their senators and congresspeople, they really have no say in what their party does or the direction it takes. Would this new party be directly influenced by the actual people who will be doing the voting and not the representing? I just want to make sure that you weren’t implying only the members who are politicians have a say. Because the problem as I see it now with our form of representational democracy is that the people have no say in how their representatives represent them.

Posted by: Mike Falino at August 29, 2009 12:01 PM
Comment #287072

My concern is the “complaints”. Who decides if they are valid?

Posted by: womanmarine at August 29, 2009 12:17 PM
Comment #287075

Mike, I haven’t given that aspect of the political process much thought. My first impulse would be to rely on the Internet for sorting out the candidates. You recall I’ve talked about a robust Internet that would pass communications up and down the line, members to legislators and reversee. So, it would seem that candidates, and those supporting their candidacy, would create audio and video sessions, mini-cspans, that would be aired on the party’s website(s). Would be feasible to hold a (Internet) vote, either within a state party or nationwide as the case may be, as a means of selecting candidates from withing the constituency. This is another way to keep the party base involved and participating in the virtual party.
Much of the concept of a party with a different political attitude is to give the people some say in the political party process.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 29, 2009 12:32 PM
Comment #287076

Like I said, the problem with political parties is that they become “member’s only” clubs where the elected representatives make deals within their own group as to how to govern. Not being a true democracy, the people of America have no direct say in what happens. This can be a good thing a lot of the time, but it leads us to not be able to truly punish our representatives, or at the very least, to tell them exactly what we all think. We would need a party that looks at a library of polls of the party members—the voters—on what they want, what they wish the representatives to do, and a pool of representatives willing to enact those wishes faithfully.

As I have said before, belonging to a political party is an intensely ignorant thing to do in regards to the fact that the party can claim it is doing something for their voters but in actuality do the complete opposite. Take, for example, Republicans courting so many through their religious beliefs yet destroying them economically. Unless the representatives do our bidding—being they are technically public servants—they are just working for themselves and their own political gain!

Posted by: Mike Falino at August 29, 2009 12:39 PM
Comment #287077

womanmarie, the part members would, I suppose. They would have to constantly be vigil to the happenings of the representatives. also, taking polls and having constant debate on a well maintained forum for discussion. The complaints would be deemed valid if a charge is brought up and the whole party votes to give an accurate sense of how the whole party feels. This would lead to a direct mandate by a majority to punish, or praise, actions taken on the behest of the voters.

Posted by: Mike Falino at August 29, 2009 12:42 PM
Comment #287078

womanmarine, I’ve suggested that a complaint be submitted as a pro-form document and posted on the party website within eight hours of submission. That suggest that some criteria would have to be met by the person making the complaint. One complaint per voter would be one criteria. However, if the complaintant wished to complain of a Senator’s hair color, then so be it. It’s more important that the complaints be made and registered in an automated, hands off process. You can’t have humans, in the 21st century poltical party, sorting through the complaints and making a personal selection as to the credibility of the complaint. And, it does behoove the elected official to stay in tune with his/her constituents. There would be plenty of wiggle room for the offical to legislate in any way he/she sees fit, but the official should communicate his plans that deviate from the party’s agenda to the base. Any, all suggestions appreciated.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 29, 2009 12:55 PM
Comment #287079

I like the mention of a senator’s hair. If that’s the complaint a party member wished to make, so be it. It is, like you said, better that any and all complaints be made visible and up for perusal. Transparency and complete honesty, including the two-way and direct communication of ideas between the party members and the representatives they choose would pretty much shake the foundation of what we think of as the democratic process.

Posted by: Mike Falino at August 29, 2009 1:05 PM
Comment #287082

I think you are right on, Mike. No process is going to be 100% accurate. Folks could hack in to your computer and play with the numbers, but hopefully they would eventually be hacked out. And, I do believe such a party would ‘shake the foundation’.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 29, 2009 1:18 PM
Comment #287083

Mike, perhaps the answer you are seeking is the Party establishing a Pragmatism committee, which evaluates the effectiveness (as in actual results) of the party’s elected official’s votes on issues, and reports those results back to the party’s members and the public at large.

The accountability you seek could be established in this manner, provided the Pragmatism committee was selected in a manner to insure their assessments are not biased. Perhaps multiple Committees, for multiple issues, and perhaps made up of true Independents, experienced or expert in their fields relating to that Committee.

This is what the Congressional committees and sub-committees were designed to do, but, they have fallen victim to partisan politics, instead of objective evaluation of proposals and potential policy outcomes.

The heart of the matter is how to remove politics from policy. That is a very tall order when one attempts to accomplish this from within a political party. Not impossible, though.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 29, 2009 1:22 PM
Comment #287084

What if such a committee was not a paid position and consisted of party members voted on by the rest of the party? They wouldn’t be politicians passing judgment of politicians and be susceptible to persuasion. This would be a committee with nothing to gain but the preservation of voter values.

Posted by: Mike Falino at August 29, 2009 1:26 PM
Comment #287085

So, complaint of hair color would carry as much weight as any other complaint? Sorry, not for me.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 29, 2009 1:31 PM
Comment #287087

No sure what committee you are referencing, Mike. But, the idea is to construct a party using as much volunterism as possible. Cuts down on the cost of operating a party, allows more participation from patriots. I’m hopeful that the 70 some million baby-boomers would look to support a party with a different political attitude. Generally, I think people would want to be supportive as its a political venture as opposed to capitalistic.

womanmarine, opt out for what? Pulling the lever for the Corpocracy? Why not opt in and make your recommendations know relative to registering complaints and any other issues? That’s what we are doing here, looking for ideas.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 29, 2009 1:58 PM
Comment #287088

no, not weight. that’s not the point obviously. The point is that if you allow complaints to be edited for validity then you are allowing someone to censor the process in some way and you fall into the same process of silencing voices. It opens a slippery slope. A complaint such as poor haircut would never get past the “posted” stage. My own personal vision would be a page dedicated to registered complaints where visitors to the site could look over complaints and vote whether or not it is a valid criticism for which the next step—whatever that would be—is to be taken. Something like a haircut complaint would die off quickly and that would be the end of it.

opponents wold criticize, but the value is high considering that every voice would have an equal chance of being heard and evaluated on merit by all.

Posted by: Mike Falino at August 29, 2009 1:58 PM
Comment #287089

Roy, I agree with you that a true political party would have to consist of volunteerism on a whole new, as of yet unseen scale. It would then embody the principles of democracy and ensure corruption is kept to a minimum. It would also detail the importance of national service.

Posted by: Mike Falino at August 29, 2009 2:00 PM
Comment #287093

Mike, wouldn’t party members on the Committee be biased away from negative evaluation of their own party’s elected office performance, regardless of how warranted such negative evaluation may be?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 29, 2009 2:56 PM
Comment #287094

Agree on the advantages of volunteerism Mike. On registerng complaints; I see this hair thing as a non-starter. Consider any election involving a larage number of people. You have people voting who may be legally, or illegally, insane, etc. Voting because they donn’t like the incumbents wife. How many women, or men do you supose voted for Bill Clinton’s hair? More than a few, IMO. Makes little sense to vote against an incumbent because of the color of their hair when they are perceived to have commited some agregious ethical act or acted against the Party agenda. But, fer shure you will have a few folks bent that way.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 29, 2009 2:58 PM
Comment #287099

David, perhaps. But with no stake in making a decision either way other than what is believed to be right, it is all the amount of corruption you can ever get out of politics. Anything based on an individual judgment, or a group judgment is going to be biased, but if there’s no favors to gain, no power to attain, no clout to receive, and no wealth to be earned, it’s about as much as you can hope for.

Posted by: Mike Falino at August 29, 2009 5:35 PM
Comment #287104

Mike, assume your last post was directed my way. Yes, give a little to gain a lot. There must be other ways to ahieve a similar outcome but IMO this would work very well. Just need a robust Internet capability to handle the communications. People can be walking around with Ipods and similar while keeping up with politics and voting to remove underperforming incumbents from the Party. And, wouldn’t it be great to have the incumbent paying attention to the his/her constituency as opposed to dialing for dollars?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 29, 2009 8:56 PM
Comment #287161

Mike said: “Anything based on an individual judgment, or a group judgment is going to be biased”

I don’t accept that statement as being necessarily true. I see science leaping ahead on the basis of unbiased empirical problem solving, by those trained to solve problems in that fashion. I see no human nature obstruction to employing that same paradigm by a group of individuals whose task is to evaluate the effectiveness of policy options based on the best available empirical data and rational judgment.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 31, 2009 10:46 AM
Comment #287190

I do David. The Obstruction comes from Corporate Personhood, the human part, and Money is Free Speech. The bias in problem solving comes from the buckets of dough brought to bear by the human side of Corporate personhood. And, it shall so remain until that scab is removed from government. Big conflict of interest on our legislative process. Going to take a third party, WITH RULES to do that, but it can be done, fer shure.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 31, 2009 1:17 PM
Comment #287195

David, science does advance and unbiased empircal problem solving does win out in the long run but, it has faced many delayers and distracters from science, business and government. Ask Darwin, ask Wegener, ask the tobacco industry.

The way we use the science is also often suspect.

Look at the right’s position on Darwin’s Theory. From a religious perspective they reject it. As a model for capitalism, they embrace it.

As a model for competitiveness our nation embraces it. For many, any compromise or cooperation that they perceive as being harmful to their personal ability to compete or gives advantage to those they compete against is unacceptable.

Posted by: jlw at August 31, 2009 2:05 PM
Comment #287206

jlw, human nature I believe. Big biz/conglomerates figure if they can buy the legislative process that gives them the advantage, allows them to compete while maintaining the status quo. I think we should force them to compete by removing their tentacles from government. Will take a 3rd party with a different political attitude to do that.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 31, 2009 3:25 PM
Comment #287212

Roy, that is not an obstruction to a party establishing its own policy effectiveness committee on an empirical basis, which was the topic to which my reply responded.

Yes, I agree with everything you said as it relates to the D and R’s, parties. Though, I hasten to add that the CBO and OMB are constructed in the fashion I call for, and largely, remain above the politics in their research. It can and is done. But, that objectivity must be chartered into their mission statement and their management must be held accountable to that mission.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 31, 2009 6:06 PM
Comment #287213

jlw, my comments were a reply to the topic of a 3rd party’s ability to establish its own non-partisan committee to evaluate the effectiveness of the policies and votes of their own party’s elected officials, so that the Party could advocate for or against their own incumbents on an objective basis. This capacity would give a 3rd party credibility heads above that of the Duopoly Party.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 31, 2009 6:09 PM
Comment #287229

I believe a Party founded in rules and one that provides for citizens oversight of elected officials would do that job very well David. Otherwise, here today and gone tomorrow. You seem to want to put trust in people to do the right thing. This is the 21st century. You can’t do that, and live to tell about it. Did the Bush years not burn that into you psyche? It’s clear, by reviewing the last 40 years that whatever oversight and accountability is brought to bear by the popular vote is not sufficient to rein in the Corpocracy. There needs to be something more, like Party members oversight of those party members who come to elected or appointed office. Adds more bite to accountability but doesn’t incumber the political process in the slightest. Now, maybe that scheme could be improved on. I’d like to hear it, or at least some debate on its merit,or not.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 31, 2009 8:16 PM
Comment #287259

It is human nature to act in our own best interest. Simply put, we are all selfish creatures and expecting anything less than this is foolish. That is why Roy’s rules of transparency make perfect sense to me.

I am in full and complete favor of anything that will bring the politicians up in front of the party base. Not by the media, but by the party itself. I think the voting record for the party politicians should be publicly displayed, and if you could get good programmers willing to devote their time perhaps an automated email sent out to the base notifying them of their politician’s vote?

I do not see much room for improvement on this scheme, although it does not address how the party would handle donations. Perhaps their could be a separate page on this as yet unseen website that keeps a running tally of the money given the party and who it is from? We should have a strict set of principles that our politicians should adhere to to prevent corruption in this effect; mirroring our own stalwart stance of eliminating corporate lawmaking. Perhaps a standing injunction on donations to particular campains and rather a singular party pot that candidates draw from equally? We will not be able to eliminate the need for private funding until we can exact real reform, but until then it should be made public who and what we get our money from.

I also suggest a forum for each party office-holder to post a blog explaining his voting record and what he is trying to push through; on top of telling us who he is dealing with and who is holding him up. If our party can become large enough, backdoor deals between congressmen could be all but eliminated.

Those are my only suggestions; those and perhaps the X percent be 65 as well. Excellent post Roy.

Posted by: Doug at September 1, 2009 2:01 PM
Comment #287260

*there. Darn it all

Posted by: Doug at September 1, 2009 2:03 PM
Comment #287263

doug, sounds like I twisted your arm a little! Guilty, I guess. From your post I place you about half way through a funnel relative to focusing on the grand scheme of a 3rd party. I’ll post another article, on specific reform issues, in a day or so and maybe that will pop you through the small end of the funnel. You make some good suggestions and most relate to the need for a powerful website(s) to convey mass communications up and down the line. Yes, voting records could be posted and used as a metric as to how well the politician is supporting the party’s agenda. Post reform politicians would no longer need to dial for dollars but would need to communicate to their constituency about their plans, what’s coming up relative to bills, budgets, etc. Can you imagine, politicians paying attention to the voters? Heresy! And, that X value setting the number of complaints necessary to trigger a mandatory up/down vote. Can’t be taken lightly. If set too low it might swamp website capability and require to much involvement, perhaps confusion, in trying to manage the voting process. Set too low, it might cause a lose of confidence in the party’s base relative to enforcing oversight for officials. However, I’m sure smart folks could come up with a decent number.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 1, 2009 4:49 PM
Comment #287267

Doug said: “It is human nature to act in our own best interest.”

That is animal nature. Adam Smith wrote of ‘enlightened self-interest” as the goal for human nature and civilization, far above mere fight and flight survival struggle centered the immediacy of need. Enlightened self-interest seeks to shape wants, desires, needs, and avenues to their fulfillment to be met for long term benefit, and not just for oneself, but, for one’s family, community, and nation upon which one’s very existence and security depend.

Enormous difference that, between animal and noble human nature. Humans are, and can act like, animals. But, ONLY humans are capable of enlightened self-interest that promotes the greater good for the family of humans one interacts with and depends upon for one’s context, relations, security, and exchange of goods and services which one’s own specialization so integrally depends upon. Only human beings can take an active role in the maintenance of their environments, micro and macro. To act selfishly, is to ignore all these contexts in which one’s well being depends.

Adam Smith was rather the genius in this philosophy underwriting his two major works, Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 1, 2009 6:00 PM
Comment #287313


I am familiar with the work of Adam Smith, but you are misrepresenting his code. He did not say that human beings were not selfish by nature, he stated that human being were the only animals that looked at not only their immediate interactions, but also the interactions other families when setting precedeent.

The argument can be made that securing the interests for one’s family is a selfish act, given that it ensures the continuation of one’s genetic code. You say that human nature is noble, but the same acts of specialization and sacrifice can be observed in any social animal group. In wolf packs, usually only the alpha female breeds but the entire pack takes care of the pups. The advantage of being social animals, which we are, is it’s increased rate of survival. People will act in the interests of their community when the interests of their community coincide with their interests. However, if the person feels the community is no longer in their best interest, they withdraw support and become an outlaw. This does not happen quickly, but several cycles of disenfranchisement breed resentment. This can be seen in virtually any city of size with a welfare community. When the man therein has less income than he feels is required to survive, he turns to crime. Crime, coincidentally, remaining outside the best interests of his community but inside the best interests for himself. The fact man can commit crime empirically necessitates that man is selfish. If all men were of noble virtue, no man would commit crime.

Adam Smith himself argued that acting selfishly does not necessitate conflict with others. Take two men, each with a loaf of bread. One man wants the others loaf so he kills him and takes it. Now, in a vacuum that is the selfish act and ensures the murderer an extra helping of bread. But in society, murderers don’t last very long. The selfish action, that is the action that ensures ones long term survival, is to not kill the man for his bread but rather for the two to cooperate with one another to procure more resources. There are limits to both selflessness and selfishness. To say that our nature is not as equally noble and ignoble, is not inherently selfish, is mistaken.

Posted by: Doug at September 2, 2009 9:14 AM
Comment #287335

Doug, what’s with the strawman argument? If you are going to refer to what I say, please refer to what I ACTUALLY said, and not some paraphrasing that completely misrepresents what I said.

What I attributed to Adam Smith was: “Adam Smith wrote of ‘enlightened self-interest” as the goal for human nature and civilization, far above mere fight and flight survival struggle centered on the immediacy of need.
Enlightened self-interest seeks to shape wants, desires, needs, and avenues to their fulfillment to be met for long term benefit, and not just for oneself, but, for one’s family, community, and nation upon which one’s very existence and security depend.”

No where in my words above do I attribute to Adam Smith what you said I did, in your double negative, “He did not say that human beings were not selfish by nature,”

And then you continue by misattributing to Adam Smith what He did not say, ” he stated that human being were the only animals that looked at not only their immediate interactions, but also the interactions other families when setting precedeent.”

He did not say, or imply, that all human beings act in accordance with enlightened self-interest. He goes to great lengths to describe a host of human behaviors in Theory of Moral Sentiments which ARE NOT IN ACCORDANCE with enlightened self-interest.

And mimicking other family’s interactions (which you constructed, [“he stated that human being were the only animals that looked at not only their immediate interactions, but also the interactions other families when setting precedeent.”] was NOT what he prescribed as the process to achieving enlightened self-interest. That leads to mob mentality, and Adam Smith cautions against such mob mimickry as potentially being entirely UnEnlighened.

Cliff notes may make you familiar with Adam Smith as an author, but, actually reading and critically evaluating his work is required to argue Adam Smith’s arguments. Which your reply fails completely to do.

What’s up with your reply’s comprehension skills, Doug? I said: “Enormous difference that, between animal and noble human nature.”, which, your reply entirely mischaracterizes in your own words: “You say that human nature is noble,”. Which is NOT what I said at all.

Adam Smith spoke of unenlightened selfish interest, contrasting that to enlightened self-interest. I never said, nor have I ever said, that human nature is noble. I said, there is an enormous difference between animal nature and noble human behavior, as opposed to, obviously, ignoble behavior.

I have to question your statement implying your being familiar with Adam Smith’s works written in Colonial English, given your reply’s demonstrated apparent inability to accurately reflect the meaning of my contemporary American English.

Since, the rest of your reply is built upon straw man premises and misrepresentations of what I wrote, there is nothing of substance left to respond to.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 1:38 PM
Comment #287351

I’m sorry David. I thought you were replying to my comment that humans are selfish by saying the we all possessed Adam Smith’s ideal of noble human nature, rather than demonstrating it as something to aspire to. I was assuming that you were refuting my point, and took it as such. Sure it is a goal, in thought and deed, that we should aspire to, but until then we work with what we have. What we have is a populace with a selfish nature. You know what they say about assumption…..

Posted by: Doug at September 2, 2009 2:57 PM
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