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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Option #4

Third parties are about as relevant to American politics as the 49ers are to the Super Bowl. However, much like there was once a time when the 49ers were more than relevant to the Super Bowl - 4 times to be exact - there was once a third party that made a huge difference in American politics: The Republican Party.

Looking back over American history it occurs to me that the only way for a third party to be relevant in American politics is for it to be positioned to assimilate members from an established party when the established party implodes. That is how the Republican Party went from being an irrelevant third party to being the ruling party in a matter of a decade - it assimilated the abolitionist Whigs once the Whig Party disintegrated. Conventional Wisdom says that if any party is going to self-destruct it would be the Democratic Party, but Republican hubris could bring down the GOP - and I think that is much more likely. The Religious Right has pledged to remain within the Republican coalition, but if O'Connor and Rehnquist are not replaced with staunchly Pro Life judges then the Religious Right might reconsider that commitment. Likewise, the unions are not getting anything for their support of the Democratic Party - CAFTA just passed the Senate. It may be possible to unite these two factions along with Black folk under the banner of a New Populist Party. "Power to the people" would be the rallying cry and the central theme would be the supremacy of individual rights over the rights of corporations.

I think it is informative to look at a discussion that the Religious Right had regarding the pros and cons of forming a third party - they concluded that it was impractical. They concluded that it would be a more efficient use of their resources to take over the GOP, and sure enough that's exactly what they did. I believe that is the same model that Black folk should use regarding the DNC, but there is this Option #4 that we can consider.

Finessing the abortion issue could get thorny, of course, but if we confess/declare a fetus to be an individual then we would be philosophically consistent and would truly have common ground. Naturally, that's one huge "if" there, and in reality it probably wouldn't happen, but that's what would have to happen for a third party to become relevant in American politics. Otherwise we're just shooting spit wads at the sides of the Democratic and Republican heavy armor.

Another point of commonality - emphasizing the priority of people over faceless corporations - would be prioritizing support for the soldiers over support for the weapons manufacturers. That should resonate with the people, but getting it through the media filter could be a daunting task. We should emphasize the necessity for justice to be equal for all lest there be no justice at all. We also have common ground in our common opposition to the expansion of eminent domain.

On international affairs we would emphasize the golden rule - do unto others as you would have them do to you. We'd pledge to hunt Osama down and bring justice to him instead of milking him to keep the people in fear. We would emphasize our commitment to leveling with the people - especially on Iraq - instead of selling the public a song and dance that in no ways resembles the reality on the ground. We must also oppose Capitalistic Marxism with every fiber of our beings for the benefit of the American worker.

Of course, if the Religious Right stays the course with the GOP then this is a moot point - unless they run everyone else out of the GOP. Cannibalizing the Democratic Party is useless without also getting part of the GOP base - if we cannibalized the entire Democratic Party we'd still be in the minority. If our objective is to govern and not merely to replace one opposition party with another then we'll have to make common cause with a lot of Republican refugees. Or we can work on taking over the Democratic Party and then expanding the base to create a new majority throughout the 50 states. Seems like I've heard that plan before...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 4:30 AM

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Hi Oscar!

Great post... I miss you over at BFA.

It's not the same without ya.

btw... this site won't let me use * so I had to eliminate them from my blog name: Karen*in*MI but you knew that! :)

Posted by Blogger KareninMI @ Saturday, July 02, 2005 12:21:00 PM #

What a fantastic blog! Thanks for posting the toons! You got me hooked on them over at BFA!

Take care.

Posted by Blogger Brian A. @ Sunday, July 03, 2005 2:15:00 AM #
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