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Are emergent parties ready for their opportunity?

DCblogger's picture

Most Americans say this Congress is worst in their lifetime, CNN poll says

This disdain for Congress "exists among all demographic and political subgroups. Men, women, rich, poor, young, old - all think this year's Congress has been the worst they can remember," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland told the network.

Clearly Americans are ready for alternatives, but it is the responsibility of emergent parties to present themselves as credible alternatives. The question is, are emergent parties ready for that responsiblility? Clearly in some jurisdictions the answer is yes. Some emergent party candidates are winning their races. If emergent parties do the nuts and bolts work of building local organizations they can have a great 2014. If Bernie Sanders is serious about running for president, he will help them do that.

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Submitted by lambert on

Imagine the troll fest.

No other message would get out.

Submitted by lambert on

I don't mean via his qualities as a candidate, I mean what would be concretely do?

* * *

I was also speculating on who would be a good VP for Sanders but I can't come up with one.

Not sure Stein and Honkola have/had sufficient gravitas, though it's hard to think of anybody with gravitas not being as corrupt as the rest. I like Ursula Rozum in Syracuse and Asher Platts here in the great state of Maine but they are not seasoned enough for the national stage (and gosh, what memorable names they both have, which will help in future). And I love Roseanne as an artist, but I think she'd be a loose cannon in a campaign.

Of course, Sanders might wish to avoid the Greens, and that might even be sensible; I don't really have a good sense of the Green party leadership, as opposed to the candidates, and what I have heard of their organization in Maine does not encourage me (though Platts IIRC is also a party chair so they may be doing better). But it would sure be nice if he could avoid a Dem hack, or an academic, or a media figure, or any sort of "liberal icon."

So, who....

Submitted by flora on

What are the economic issues addressed by a 3rd party candidate. What is the platform. Household names have a built-in electoral advantage. (witness Joe Lieberman running as an independent)

Submitted by flora on

Both legacy parties are content to win seats by appealing to social issues, except for the MAIN social  problem of our time: the economy of the 99%.  As long as the Ds and Rs can get elected without addressing this social issue they will go on happily working for the rent extractors at the expense of the majority of the voters.

A credible 3rd party looks like the only lever to pry the legacy parties out of their complacent disregard of and rent extraction from the electorate. 

A little history to illustrate the point: England in 1900.  Quotes are from Barbara Tuchman’s book ‘The Proud Tower’.


In 1900 two parties controlled British politics: Liberals and Tories.  Working  men had formed Unions and chose to take their demands directly to their employers, through strikes, not to the government.  Their votes generally went to the Liberals.  But the life of working people wasn’t improving much.  The Labor party was formed 1893, the new party on the scene, and in 1895 failed to elect a single candidate.   

 “ Overshadowing all was the Social Problem.  Investigations and reports appearing all at once after 1900 made harshly visible the fact and the consequences of extreme inequality in possession of material goods. ….


“  Something was wrong with the system.  Somehow the great mechanical and material achievements of the recent past had twisted society out of shape.”


“ In1901 occurred a decisive moment in the shifting balance of political power.  The Taff Vale judgment by the House Lords, acting in its capacity as a court of appeal, held trade unions liable for the damage caused by strikes, thus putting in jeopardy their pensions and benefit funds. .... On the strength of that decision employers began to sue unions for damages, the unions lost case after case;...." (pgs 356-63)

Union workers had given their votes to the Liberals until the Taff Vale judgment.  After that, their votes started going to Labor candidates.  The unions determined to reverse Taff Vale the only way possible: through Parliament.  Now there were 3 parties in elections.  In the election of 1906 the Labor party won 53 seats. The Liberal party had to take Labor’s platform seriously to avoid losing more of their own working class voters to the Labor party. The Liberal party needed the support of the union and working men to win.  For the Liberals, the appearance of an independent Labor candidate could mean doom, 3-way races were a threat to Liberal candidates.

Churchill left the falling Tory party, joined the rising Liberals, and began preaching Liberalism as the “cause of the left-out millions.” 

“He knew that unless the Liberals could win the trade-union vote away from the rising Labor party, [the Liberals] must eventually collapse. … He set out …to draft and enact legislation on wages and hours, pensions and social insurance…. 'We want to draw a line below which we will not allow persons to live and labour,' he announce boldly, and went on to propose the state as a 'reserve employer' of labour, the establishment of minimum standards,...." (pg 372)

Churchill may not have believed in the worth of any of these acts beyond getting Labor to vote Liberal.  But Labor got many of its demands met.

Now, emerging parties may or may not be ready for prime time.  What's interesting is that the US electorate is reading for a 3rd party.





Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

either Sanders or Nader peeling off very much support. Will try and post a couple of videos of Sanders next year, spouting off "neoliberal" rhetoric regarding the "deficit crisis" and Social Security sustainability.

Of the Democrats, Warren is the only "sitting" Dem politician with strong enough support to run against an Establishment DLC/corporatist Dem--and she is NOT going to run, in my opinion.

If she had ever been serious about a run, she would NEVER have given several of her recent speeches. Our corporatist Establishment Dems would never allow such a person to actually get the Dem nomination.

I believe that she actually called for an "increase" in Social Security benefits. And personally, I think the Harkin Amendment is a hoax. All one has to do is look back--nothing is ever said or done about strengthening the social safety net (or even talked about), until a few months before each election cycle.

And then there's the fact that Dems have tried mightily to "cut" benefits for five years now.

As for Dr. Stein, with the ongoing ACA "debacle," I'm not certain that she would not have the ability to "hold her own" with any of the candidates.

I've too pushed to Google, but IIRC, she has an Ivy League ed--and doctors are generally held in higher esteem than attorneys, according to polls.

As a matter of fact, they're at the top of the list of professions for "trustworthiness."

Which is "why" Repubs have recruited 11 Repub physicians as candidates in this election cycle.

Anyway, I appreciate this post. It's great to start the conversation.

I believe that the nation is more than ready for a Third Party candidate.

2016 would be the year "most ripe" for this possibility, IMO.

Agree with flora that it would probably help to have someone with a "household name"--which Stein doesn't have.

Agree with Lambert, though, that Roseanne would not make the cut of "serious" candidates.

The only candidates that I want to see run are those who are "in it to win."

Anything less, IMO, is dishonest.

And last time I checked, that's what so many Americans are "sick of."


McDee's picture
Submitted by McDee on

I agree that America is ready for a 3rd Party. Alas, I don't think there is a 3rd Party that's ready for America. Alexa is correct that 2016 would be the year.Let's keep this ball rolling and maybe by then there will be a 3rd party that's ready.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

At this point, I couldn't "pull the lever" for a corporatist neoliberal Dem again 'if someone held a gun to my head." It is an exercise in futility, as far as I can tell.

LOTE has gotten us nowhere in regard to the two major policy issues of today: economics and foreign policy.

It's also the reason that the two major legacy parties' policies are almost identical.

I am very hopeful that the ACA fiasco will finally make this obvious to everyone!

There may have to be some short-term pain, for long-term gain. Conservatives understood this, when they first determined that they were going to "pluck the vine" of liberal Republicans.

gizzardboy's picture
Submitted by gizzardboy on

Like flora, I think the "what" is more important than the "who". I think the "what" that would be something a lot of people would get behind is...wait for it...Regime Change! Throw the bums out. Make sure that the public gets the idea that R and D are just branches of the Wall Street Banker's Party. There are many on the left and many on the right who are ready for some real change. I believe the Regime Change Party could draw a lot of votes without needing to be for a whole lot. Those in charge don't like to think of themselves as a "regime", so every time the party name is mentioned, it would piss them off. Be for the Constitution, people--not corporations, everybody having a chance and apple pie. There is plenty to be against and that is where to turn the conversation.

I don't believe the rank and file Tea Party types are well enough controlled to keep them from joining a party dedicated to throwing both sets of bums out. The 98%ers just need to be ready to educate and steer once some momentum has been achieved. Names like Green Party and Socialist probably repel more than they attract.

I would say, get the movement going and see who might jump ship and who is wed to the legacy parties. Realistically, 2016 can only be a building time. RC might see a win by 2020.

Submitted by mdtrudeau on

Green Party members and other progressives are petitioning Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, to reach out to prominent Greens such as Jill Stein and to eventually seek the Green Party nomination for president in 2016. Sanders has called for a "political revolution" in the United States and has announced that he might run for president. He has a small window of opportunity to help make that political revolution happen by helping to build the Green Party, which exists in direct opposition to the current two-party system. Please join us by asking Sanders to reach out to Jill Stein and to seek the Green Party nomination. You can read and sign the petition at A political revolution will not happen by tinkering within the Democratic Party or by going alone as an independent; if Sanders is going to run, and if he wishes his campaign to have a lasting effect, then he needs a party, and that party needs to be the Green Party.

Submitted by lambert on

... but how are they going to feel about this? The history of stars *** cough *** Nader *** cough *** coming in and then not doing party building isn't encouraging, is it?

A longer analytical piece on topic like that would be welcome....