i thought i'd share this article, "Third Parties Don’t Work In America", by Mark Metzger from the blog A Constitutional Right, along with my thoughts on the subject.
the writer, Mark Metzger, makes a good point about not trying to create a political party out of the non-partisan and grassroots Tea Party, which would potentially split the 2010 vote. however, i believe he is somewhat off base on a couple of areas, which seems to be a common error among many Americans, according to what i've recently been hearing.
i agree with Mark's article in part. however, the primary reason why "third" parties in America are unsuccessful is not because they don't represent the mainstream ideal -- that's certainly an issue, but not the primary one.
after being involved in political activism within the LP for a while (i am no longer), i discovered that it is the Plurality Voting system which is mostly to blame for only allowing for a 2-party political system.
if America changed its voting system to Range Voting (aka: Score Voting), it would allow for multiple parties and/or independents to compete on a ballot, because there would no longer be a "wasted vote syndrome" which coerces people to vote for the "lesser of two evils".
on another note, i feel strongly that if the Tea Party focuses merely on "conservatizing" the Republican Party, the movement will turn out to be a complete failure.
the "left/liberal - right/conservative" political landscape is a complete deception: being ALWAYS liberal or ALWAYS conservative does NOT maximize liberty.
i believe the Tea Party should rather concentrate on attracting more activists who seek Constitutionally limited and accountable government.
in the effort of reforming government in that way through the legislature, the Tea Party should encourage those activists who wish to run for a political office to do so strategically in whatever race makes sense, regardless of the "political banner" under which they run.
if over time the Tea Party becomes large enough to potentially displace one of the duopoly parties, then it should consider not converting to a political party, but spin off a political party so that the heartbeat of the "Tea Party" remains non-partisan and grassroots.
however, if the Tea Party decides to continue playing the "left/liberal-right/conservative" political polarization game which has been played now for perhaps a century, then we can look forward to more of the same of what we have grown to expect in "Neo-American" government by the Neo-Cons AND Neo-Libs.
because of Plurality Voting which leads to a 2-Party system, Mark is correct in saying that "Third Parties Don't Work In America".
the ONLY way to make such a massive change in the political landscape is to grow a new party large enough to DISPLACE one of the current duopoly parties and then take the place of it. i believe this CAN happen, but i doubt it can happen very soon, or by the 2010 election.
right now, the Tea Party seems to be fractured into camps which differ a bit too much in not only direction, but perhaps more importantly, focus.
in one faction, we have folks who are longing for more "Conservatives" to rally and reform the GOP. in another we have what i might call "Constitutionists" or "BIG TENT Libertarians" who want to do the same. then in yet another we have these Constitutionists who don't play the political polarization game and long to start a new party.
whichever strategy the movement decides to take, it has first got some serious decisions to make about its focus. it's going to take a LOT of Americans to drastically alter the political landscape, and therefore in order to do so we must find a common denominator of general consensus which WILL reach the mainstream ideal (as Mark put it).
does the Tea Party want to play the same political polarization game which has been going on in America for far too long?
seems to me, the real heart of the movement belongs NOT to "Conservatives", but to "BIG TENT Libertarians" who seek Constitutionally limited and accountable government.
keeping the Tea Party non-partisan keeps the message of liberty in focus. as soon as the movement decides to play the political polarization game, it loses its focus, and therefore loses its heart -- a cause with no heart is no cause at all.
by now we should all know this to be true. most of us have seen the difference between a REAL Tea Party and one which has been usurped by partisans.
so before the Tea Party decides it has enough solidarity of focus to step into the American political duopoly system, it had better come to a consensus on what its focus really is.
bernard baruch carman
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