Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Americans Want a Third Party?

Politico reports on yet another public opinion poll suggesting a growing number of Americans want a third party to emerge. This one even shows a majority of Democrats and Republicans wanting an alternative:

 "...for the first time in the poll’s history, when broken down by party, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans say a third party is needed."

I have to wonder what these people think this third party is supposed to do? Oh, I know: Get things done, which more than likely means adopting the more repressive polices of both major parties.

Regardless, I'm skeptical of the whole suggestion. Sure, maybe a number of people said they'd prefer a third choice, but they already have plenty of third party choices and they don't vote for them. I'm not referring to all the nut case fringe candidates, either.

As I wrote earlier this year, during last year's presidential election we had very credible candidate in past two- term governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson. Johnson was both fiscally responsible and socially tolerant, with an admirable record as Governor. Yet he only got around 1% of the vote.

I'll suggest the people in these polls don't really know what they want and probably wouldn't vote for that candidate even if they did. Why? Simplicity, as I wrote before. Rather than explain it once again, I'll simply refer you to my earlier post (Feb. 9, 2013) on why the two party system still dominates, and probably will for the foreseeable future.


At 7:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But a third party candidate has not been able to take part in the debate for over 20 years A lot of people aren't even aware that there's a choice outside of democrat or republican
Howard Stern and Jesse Ventura for president?? There would at least probably be change..

At 7:49 AM, Anonymous democraticJon said...

This is not concern trolling Fred, I swear.

"I'm not one who sees things as black and white and I rarely, if ever, (to a fault, sometimes) follow the crowd. That's why I had such a hard time understanding the lack of support for Gary Johnson."

This is the problem Fred, in the end this is all about you. You have this vision of a reality that does not have anything to do with reality. You treat politics and the politicians like this is high school and to a certain extent you are right, it is analogous, but, newsflash, it isn't high school.

Let's say Gary Johnson got 5% then what? That's still 20 % less than the two others. People smarter than you or I voted for John Anderson in 1980 and Ross Perot in 1992 (and 1996 I just found out) and Ralph Nader in 2000. How did that work out? A: Horribly. the problem with your high threshold to accept one of the two parties is if you fail to choose the one that closest matches your ideals (and btw, it would always be the Republicans, trust me) you almost assure that the party that least shares your ideals will win. That is a bitter pill to accept and 95% of the voting population has.

And that is only the tip of the iceberg, you also have the institutional party members in government and the largely volunteer organizations that support the elected officials.

Too many people have been burned. People who care realize that they can't vote for a third party because that means it's that much more likely the person who they most disagree with will be elected. It's very simple and doesn't require all that analysis or hand-wringing. Wanna solve it? Let's go parliamentary. But you never would because that would mean a more effective government. Seems like you are stuck. hmmm, maybe some necessary and justified violence?

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

But a third party candidate has not been able to take part in the debate for over 20 years.

True, although even when they do they don't do that well because of the Simplicity factor, imo.

The current gubernatorial race in Virginia is another one of those pathetic examples. By nearly all accounts both major party candidates are largely disliked. There's a libertarian candidate polling 10% in some polls, but he was excluded from the recent debate.

Even had he been invited, I still don't know he'd have made much progress. Too many would be worried about their least favorite of the major party candidates winning. That's the way it usually works.

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous democraticJon said...

Fred, I have this great app, it's called "270 to Win". It cost me a couple of bucks, but is such a great resource. One of it's features is it will show the U.S. Presidential Election maps since 1789, and you can flip through the maps with the requistite info as quickly as you can tap your screen. I'll do this right now and review the results with you
1789 GW (F) *******
1796 JA (F)
1800 TJ (D-R) *********
1804 TJ (D-R)
1808 DM (D-R)
1812 JM (D-R)
1816 JM (D-R)
1820 JM (D-R
1824 JQA (D-R) First contested in a while
1828 AJ (D) Hello, present party (Southern dominance of Dems starts early - it was the slave party in it's roots)
1832 AJ (D)
1836 MVB (D)
1840 WH (W) ********
1844 JKP (D)
1848 ZT (W)
1852 FP (D)
1856 JB (D)
(here it comes)
1860 AL (R) ********* Second current party. The two dominant parties will not change again (for more that one election for the next 150 years and counting) Oh, also, this last conversion cost about 700,000 lives (which would amount proportionally to 7.5 million today) Not a great thing, probably would have been better to figure out a political solution.
1864 AL (R) (some states are missing in this map for some reason)
1868 USG (R)
1872 USG (R)
1876 RBH (R)
1880 JAG (R) (Democrats dominate the south now again and will till the 1960's)
1884 GC (D) This is approximately when the Republicans become the party of money and the Democrats the party of the working class in the North and slavery in the South. This is a period in hindsight I would have had a very hard time finding a home
1888 BH (R)
1892 GC (D)
1896 WM (R)
1900 WM (R)
1904 TR (R)
1908 WHT (R)
1912 WW (D) TR comes in 2nd with the progressive party.
1916 WW (D) Progressive disappear
1920 WGH (R)
1924 CC(R) Progressives get WI
1928 HH (R) Landslide for R's
1932 FDR (D) Landslide for D's
1936 FDR (D) Landslide
1940 FDR (D) Mountain West is Red
1944 FDR (D) MW still Red
1948 HST (D) MW and NE Red
1952 DDE (R) Landslide outsideSouth
1956 DDE (R) ditto
1960 JFK (D) Highly Contested
1964 LBJ (D) Landslide South Turns Red! Seachange in US Politics that brings us to basically today's politics
1968 RMN (R) GW wins 5 southern states as an American Independent - comes in third
1972 RMN landslide all red
1976 JC (D) (My Hero)
1980 RR (R) Landslide
1984 RR (R) same
1988 GB (R) Pretty solid
1992 WJC (D) Perot doesn't even make this map as he didn't win a state apparently
1996 WJC (D)
2000 GWB (R)
2004 GWB (R)
2008 BHO (D)
2012 BHO (D)

Fred, if that record is not analysis enough, I don't know what to tell you. There is simply no institutional way for there to be a successful third party candidate. The last time this happened a Civil War was fought which is why I always bring up the violence quote now. I think those two things go together - third party dreams and violence because you realize that the only way to overcome your electoral disadvantage is a fundamental reshuffling of our country a la Civil War. It's such a dangerous dream, and the problem is, I think many people share this dream yet cannot express it as honestly as you.

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

It's such a dangerous dream,....

Well, that's b.s. but to be expected from you.

At 7:54 PM, Anonymous democraticJon said...

Love it Fred. Can't argue, just attack credibility. Isn't a political philosophy that cannot hope to succeed at the ballot box dangerous? Isn't dangerous to believe that to achieve your ends violence will be justified and necessary.

But I'd really like you to address that 150 year span ewith only a handful of states ever voting outside the two parties. I'm really curious how you address that historical precedence. And if your hoping for a economic catastrophe, remember the two parties have served us through WWI WWII and the Great Depression. I hate to break it to you but we are not approaching anything at that scale. I read you're analysis, but it's more about psychology, what about history?

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Your "question" is pointless and not worth addressing. I already addressed it in my original post.

The same reasons the two party system dominated in the past are the same reasons they dominate today: Simplicity.

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous democraticJon said...

Here's your quote.
"People want things simple: Good vs. bad, us vs. them, red vs. blue. Most folks, most of the time, don't pay much attention to politics, if at all. Even those that do tend to look at it pretty simply."

I don't disagree. But there's more to it than that isn't there? What if we didn't have a two parties? (which, as you know are not a legal construct, they are formed out of simplicity, or I would say practicality) Let's say we had a host of differnt parties focusing around a certain issues like they did before our 2 parties emerged (150 YEARS AGO). A President could be elected with 30% of the vote or less. This would result in a very weak presidency - which of course like your friends in the Republican Party is kinda the goal - OK I get it.
But your analysis about simplicity is fine for an election. Yes for 6 months or whatever (even now in the school board election) it is my team vs your team. And that is because of simplicity AND, in my view, practicality. But, behind the scenes, within the party, there is no simplicity, believe me. That is why I am so frustrated that you don't give it a shot. Rand and Ron Paul are. Don't you agree with much of what they say? I know it would be difficult to overcome the money in the Republicans, but this is how democracy (and republics) work. Or at least that is how untold hundreds of millions of us have tried to make it work for 150 years. Now of course, you could be right Fred Mangels of Humboldt County California, that the other what 500 million, 1 billion, how many people have there been voting since 1860 - we could all be simpletons. Well then, my challenge to you is get in there and tell one of those parties of simpletons to move at least partially toward a direction you want to go. Because Jefferson isn't going to happen and another Civil War isn't going to happen either. Deal with it and changed that blanking party that is based on lies and money - because what you don't know is you and I have much more in common then not. In the end we are both Americans. Hate to brake it to you.

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel that there should be no parties. And that each person should run as an individual based on their own merits.


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