Monday, May 2, 2011

The New Third Party

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1. Introduction

People have the right to appeal to government in favor of or against policies that affect them or in which they feel strongly. This freedom includes the right to gather signatures in support of a cause and to lobby legislative bodies for or against legislation.

-Right to Petition Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Two major parties have hijacked the political system in the United States of America. The two parties dominate voting in nearly all elections at every level of government. The two parties crowd out new ideas and force voters to subscribe to a preset political platform.  They force their agenda on party members. I believe ideas on legislation should take a life of their own, outside the control of any particular political party.  Ideas about new laws, new regulations, and how to allocate budgetary resources should be controlled by the people.  The job of the legislator is to carry out the will of the constituents; the job is to be a true representative of the underlying demographic that makes up the Congressional District.   When Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address he said “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  With the help of technology, this ideal can be achieved.  The technology of today allows for the creation of scientific surveys and data collection that was not possible even ten years ago.  Political surveys can capture the true representation of people’s thoughts and opinions regarding legislation.  Society has moved into a new era of social networking and information exchange thanks to the internet, now its time for the government to catch up. 

Further, the election process has become too intricate and too complicated for most to understand, let alone attempt to change.  But change must happen, because society should neither be limited because of structural inefficiencies in government nor the incompetence of elected leaders.  The ideas presented in this pamphlet lay out a design on how to move forward in a rational, well thought out manner.  A strong majority based constituency will shape the next generation of politics.  The two-party system will eventually collapse inward from the external pressure exerted by a third party, one dedicated to finding common ground and a common good.

There are several “third” parties in America today.  The America First Party, Boston Tea Party, Green Party of the United States, Independence Party of America, Libertarian Party, Modern Whig Party, Progressive Labor Party, Socialist Equality Party, and Working Families Party to name just a few.  The term third party refers to any political party outside the two main parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.  These third parties typically remain on the fringe and don’t get much popular support, either a Democrat or a Republican wins most elections.

Is there an alternative to belonging to either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party?  A compelling, vibrant and large scale third party does not exist.  Instead, voters must subscribe to the prepackaged platforms that the two major political parties push. This pamphlet will demonstrate that there is a new way of structuring a political party; a way that will get people excited about wanting to participate in the process.

2. Here’s Where We are and Why its Not Working

In analyzing the present process we can see several major flaws, all originating with a two party system that dominates the electorate and directs the issues.  First the parties set their platform.  The issues are brought to the voters, not initiated by them. This is the antithesis of representation. True representation requires that issues be generated from the grassroots and be brought forward by representatives of the people.  Issues generated from above represent a skewed political view.  This is not to say that some of these issues may not have some appeal to some voters. Instead of representing everyone, the top down approach of a party platform offers options and opinions generated by a few party leaders, where voters are given narrow choices and are asked to “buy into” one or more of them and support the party platform.

Second, under our current system, we elect legislators via primaries that are dominated by the two major parties. As the parties present their platforms to voters, they support various candidates who articulate the party’s positions.  Then party members, who are animated and motivated by these issues, choose a slate of candidates to articulate the party’s platform.  The party then supports these candidates and if successful, they are elected to represent the voters, their constituents.

This is a process that disjoins the voter from the candidate via a party structure.  The party mediates between the candidate, and the elected official, and the voter.  There is very little direct linkage.  Voters feel their powerlessness; the apathy of voters, even the party faithful is legendary.  Only a small percent of party members turn out to vote in a primary election.  The United States has a dismal record for voter turnout at general election time as well. A very small and select group chooses the candidates who are then voted into office by less than a majority of the voting population. The parties have eliminated the direct link between voter and candidate that would allow voters to be truly represented.

Third, the disjunction continues after the elections. Once in power, these legislators have several options when voting on a piece of legislation. They can vote following the party line; they can vote their own conscience; or they can vote to represent some particular issue or funding important for their local constituency. The “party line” may not be clear, since each party has both right and left leaning contingents, so there is a range of opinions that can be considered legitimately as being within the party platform.  The legislator who votes his own agenda may be deviating from both the given party platform, and the expectations of his constituents. The legislator, who votes for his constituency, may be representing very narrow local interests without a more global outlook.

Political parties as they exist today are a legacy of an antiquated system. Prior to the advent of communication through computers and other technologies, politicians had to articulate a set of ideas to the public.  America a hundred years ago was rural and based in agriculture.  People didn’t have access to information on the current issues of the day.  They trusted the politician to represent the most pressing issues in Congress.  Even in today’s society, the presentation of a candidate’s outlook consist of a few main issues.  Issues are too numerous for a politician to spend time on anything but the most pressing ones of the day.  A potential candidate will expound on the key talking points and leave what are considered the smaller or less important issues untouched upon.  Many topics are left unexplored and not debated.  Healthy, constructive, fact based debate is good and often leads to solutions and at the very least to people thinking about the issues.

The two party system is well entrenched in the American system of government. Even before America was born as a country, a two party system existed.  Federalists and Anti-Federalists battled over the ratification of the Constitution prior to the signing in 1787.  Two parties offers certain stability to the system.  However a grave disadvantage to the current “Democrats versus Republicans” system is the lack of choice for the individual citizen, a lack of representation of grassroots ideals, and ultimately a less democratic union. Democracy is based on the concept of representation – not on party ideology, but on citizens’ mandates. Given the apathy of voters, a goodly percentage of people feel marginalized by the system because their views are not represented, and they feel powerless to influence the system.  The two major parties control the selection of candidates and issues, but often lack the control or transparency to carry through their agenda.

Further, the United States uses a plurality voting system.  Plurality voting or “winner-take-all” is a term used to describe systems that award seats to the highest vote getter.   In this voting system the single winner is the person with the most votes.   Duverger's Law states that this type of voting tends to favor a two party system.  As a result,  the United States is saddled with a just that, i.e. Republicans versus Democrats.  This leads to a divide and conquer mentality between the two dominant parties.  Other voting methods have been suggested, such as the approval, ranked-choice or range voting.  However, its difficult for a third party to pass voting reforms when they are not in power.

The major political parties control the wealth and the power to preselect candidates to run in primaries. This selection process is lengthy, expensive and often unsatisfactory. The actual slate of candidates has already been restricted before citizens have had a chance to assess the candidate list.  Further, running primary elections against incumbents is discouraged, leading to a lack of completion among candidates.

The major political parties preselect and offer various issues to voters as their platform.  That is just the problem.  The platform belongs to the parties and not to the people.  The voters are asked to espouse the ideologies presented by the parties, not to voice their own issues, which then the parties will espouse. To add to the frustration, many viewpoints are not brought up for consideration.  The parties create their platforms from top down, often ignoring the grassroots issues important many citizens.  They craft their platform to for broader appeal so that some burning questions are ignored as too controversial and other issues do not even surface. To add to the frustration, many viewpoints that are visible to the individual voter and to the party are not brought up for consideration. This stifling of ideas that do not fit conveniently into a political ideology leads to lack of innovative and creative solutions at a time when most needed.

Finally the major political parties have only partial control over their members when in office. Representatives have various options for voting on issues.  They can vote the party line; their own conscience or they can narrowly represent their constituents. Thus even though they ran on certain platforms, they often can’t deliver on their promises, even without encountering the opposition and maneuvering of the opposition.

I believe the two party system has divided our nation, pitting people against each other.  A third party should be created that brings people together.

3. Here’s A New Third Party Way

A third party, with the aid of technology, can reorganize the political landscape of America.  There is a large pent up demand for a viable alternative to the two party system.  If structured properly, I believe a third party can and will siphon votes from the major two parties.
  
Below are the tenets of the new third party.
  • Everyone is asked to fill out an annual survey or political poll. Any person, no matter the political affiliation, can complete the survey. The results of the survey are aggregated and form the basis of the political platform.
  • Technology supported surveys, questionnaires and online discussion forums run by experts and moderators.
  • Party members are open to listening, to debating, and to adopting ideas no matter the origin.  An online discussion forum will be created for the purpose of expressing opinions.
  • The choice of candidates for the party is based on their ability to articulate the party platform.
  • The election process is twofold, step one is to vote on the issues that form the platform.  The second step is to select the most competent candidate to run for office.
  • People are committed to the process of developing the platform.
  • The party is issue based, but the choice of candidate remains very important.  A leader is needed to make a judgment call on issues where the population is split 50/50.
  • The participatory aspect of the process should actively solicit the input and participation of everyone, whether or not they are party members.


The basis of the third party will be a voter-defined platform. Many democratic legislatures use proportional representation to determine and pass legislation.  This is applying the concept to political issues one by one.  Technology allows you to create and record people’s opinions.  The survey will ask people to rank issues in terms of importance and give opinions of statements characterizing political views. A multidimensional map of each Congressional district can be created.  The map will show where a district falls within the political spectrum.  The people will decide the most pressing topics for a candidate in a bottom up fashion in a well thought out and thoroughly debated manner.

Technology can overcome the information overload that political candidates face.  Information regarding the multiple issues, and the pros and cons of each, can be sorted out online.  Candidates do not need to be the conduit of information; facts should be readily available with the click of a mouse.

The new party platform can be determined once a year so the views on issues are not constantly changing.  People can submit their survey results in the first quarter of the year, for example, and the data will form the basis for the party platform for that calendar year.

With the current political party structure, the candidates' ideas and their party ideas are joined as one. I propose that ideas about public policy should be stripped from political candidates and instead reside with the voters. The personal views of a politician are irrelevant and should not cloud the political debate. Ideas should evolve and exist on their own merit. Issues should be debated in an open public forum, with both sides expressing their opinions. The politician's duty then simply becomes to pick up the ideas that “win” and carry them to Washington D.C., much like a traveler carries a piece of luggage. Using this arrangement, the politician serves in a similar capacity as a defense attorney, unbiased and ready for hire.  There will be grey areas where a majority consensus is not met.  The “tie-breaker” in these cases is the elected representative.  He or she will still have to run partially on a platform.  Politics and the decision making process are not cut and dry.

Under this third party scenario, a politically neutral employee of the citizens will represent the populace; someone motivated more by a desire to better the country than by their own or a party’s deeply held beliefs.  This is not a case for a direct democracy, those systems typically do not work.  The current governmental system in America is a representative republic.  But who is representing the people and where do they get their ideas from?  This aspect can be improved upon tremendously.

The perception attached to “third parties” is that they are splinter groups on the fringes of society that have specific issues over which they organize. Some who feel marginalized by the current two party system will then associate to form a third party.  These are usually unsustainable, as issues change and as the number of dedicated individuals decrease.  These associations are not perceived as mainstream or moderate. In fact given their numbers, their evanescence and their names this seems to be the case.  The idea of “third party” ought to be revised as a mainstream, technology driven and highly representative movement.

In a true representative republic, the will of the people should be represented. New England type town meetings are a thing of the past, except for very local issues, but how the voter is represented is the cornerstone of democracy.  This concept of town hall meetings can be recreated through social networking and online forums.  Technology has evolved to the point where, under the right circumstances, it can be a disruptive force in politics and an agent of positive change.

The party also controls the “array” of issues.  Just what choices are presented and how they are packaged becomes the focus for the parties in their bid to induce voter support.  Hence all the political advertisement to “get the word out.” If the issues were not party generated, the need for all this effort would diminish.  If the issues came from the voters themselves, who could then link themselves to a candidate who would really represent their concerns the need for political hype would diminish.

4. Here’s Why Its Better

A third party organized in the manner described above is better for multiple reasons.
  • Surveys are a scientific way of data collection. Constituents set the platform in an impartial, non-political and fair manner.
  • Bringing up new issues and new topics is easy under this format.
  • Issues have their own life.  Issues live or die based on their merit and are not controlled by party politics.  There is no way to politicize or spin an issue for political gain.
  • Voters decide on the issues.  The issues are a true representation of the people's will.
  • Online forums run by expert moderators foster discussions and debates. The forums educate voters and help people to make up their minds.  The forums are run in an orderly fashion and are not just a comment board.
  • A better candidate selection process will emerge. Candidates are picked on competency, not appearance or how closely they align themselves with the political machine.  Candidates can be chosen from a larger talent pool. 
The hierarchy under the new third party system would put issues on top and the politician at the bottom as a servant of the people.   People should not have a set of ideas on how to govern handed down by politicians.  Politicians should not express their own opinions.  Quite the opposite, voters ought to decide on how politicians legislate. 

Issues

Experts/Forum Moderators
Community Activists
General Population
Survey Results

New Third Party Politician
    The choice of potential candidates for the new third party can be selected from a wide variety of backgrounds, from teachers to business leaders to doctors.  The race, ethnicity and religion of the candidate is removed entirely from the equation. Geographic boundaries do not stand in the way either, there is no concept of a "carpet bagger" in this paradigm.  The person being elected should be educated, articulate, and politically neutral.  In other words, finding a talented person to represent the people is the main objective.

    Technology enables the creation of the new third party.  Apart from conducting the political survey, technology allows for social networking sites to bring people together and wiki software to facilitate information exchange.  Wiki's, such as Wikipedia, are collaborative websites that comprise of the collective work of many authors. A wiki allows many people to edit, delete or modify content that has been placed on the site.  The pros and cons of a topic and all relevant references can be posted on a wiki. 

    The most important aspect of the new third party is that its non-partisan.  The ideology is not coming from the top down.  Instead, all citizens from both sides of the aisle can participate to determine the platform.  The country will not be labeled or divided by the new third party idea.


    5. How to Conduct a Survey

    The basis of the new third party relies heavily on political surveys.  Surveys should have no point of view. The surveys purpose is to bring your point of view to the attention of those in power.  A survey used to decide a political platform must be carried out in each Congressional District.  Results may vary from district to district.  The third party allows for regional differences of opinion.

    The best, non-biased institutions to conduct surveys with state or regional emphasis are universities.  The survey should be conducted by an institution outside of the political party to ensure impartial questions. 

    Many universities have political and social research branches.  Below is a partial list.

    • University of Connecticut, the Roper Center
    • University of North Carolina, Odum Institute for Research in Social Science
    • Syracuse University, Campbell Public Affairs Institute
    • Quinnipiac University, Polling Institute
    • Cornell University, Survey Research Institute
    • University of Wisconsin, Survey Center
    • University of Oregon, Oregon Survey Research Lab

    The Pew Research Center also carries out nonpartisan surveys.  One should have a healthy skepticism about all poll results.  But at some point the results of the poll, if conducted properly, should be the basis of decision making.  Its the best information at the given time.

    Any issue receiving a sixty percent majority vote, for example, from the registered voters within a district will automatically become part of the political platform.  Sixty percent can be considered a majority, though it could be anything over fifty percent.  The sampling error has to be accounted for.    At the very least, voters will know what side their candidate will vote on certain issues.  Those issues receive under a sixty percent majority vote will be left in the hands of the elected politician.

    The major issues of the day will be touched on.  Multiple issues can be brought to light within the survey on a variety of topics such as:
    • Budget
    • Health Care
    • Taxes
    • Social Security
    • Education
    • Environment
    • Foreign Policy
    • Energy
    • Housing
    • Social Issues

    The outcome of the survey will decide how the politician will vote in Congress.  The politician is a hired servant who carries out the people's views.  Everyone will have a chance to speak their mind and cast a vote on a topic by topic basis.

    The internet allows for a more dynamic, comprehensive and modern polling environment.  Dynamic polls capture the preference of voters instead of a wishlist of government programs.  The features of such a poll include the following items.
    • Restrictions on budgetary questions and provide baseline numbers.  What are the min and max expenditures allowable?  What was the previous fiscal year's budget allocation?
    • Include opportunity costs and trade offs on spending decisions.
    • Attach costs of programs to one's existing tax bill.
    • Include filter questions to assure competence on an issue.
    • A budget pie can be used to allocate a fixed amount across multiple government services.
    • Explain government expenditures in detail and not just assigning a superficial or high level category name.
    • Explain risks and costs associated with certain actions.  A spectrum of best case and worst case scenarios must be presented.  For example, would you vote to invade Iraq if it costs 1-10,000 U.S. lives and/or 1-10 years and/or 1-10 billion dollars.
    • Include the potential consequences of an action.
    • All political terms can be thoroughly defined.
    • Rank items in terms of preference.  First choice is not always achievable.
    • Assess the true policy cost of entitlements.  What are citizens willingness to pay for existing and new programs.
    • Conduct contingent valuation surveys.
    Surveys can be a costly endeavor.  But its better to spend the money on making correct and user driven policy decisions than to make poor decisions.   The money raised by the new third party would be spent on creating improved surveys.  People will have to take time to fill out the survey.  The beauty of databases and web based polls is that user surveys can be saved and revisited if more time or information is needed.

    Range or score voting methods could be used to rank issues in terms of importance.  The survey will have a chance for people to vote "Yes",  "No", "Don't have an opinion", or "Need more information" on a variety of topics.  Issues can be ranked in terms of importance from 1-10.

    Researchers use several methods for randomly selecting samples. These include stratified, cluster and systematic sampling.  The goal is to get a cross section of the population to fill out the survey.  A scientific survey must have a representative sample.  Several questions must be asked to decide whether or not a survey is fair. 


    • What organization conducted the survey?
    • Who paid for the poll and why was it done?
    • How many people filled out the survey?
    • How were those people chosen?
    • Are the results based on the answers of all the people interviewed?
    • Who should have been interviewed and was not? Or do response rates matter?
    • What is the sampling error for the poll results?
    • What other kinds of factors can skew poll results?
    • What questions were asked?
    • In what order were the questions asked?

    An outside auditor can check the survey and results.  People must feel confident in the results.

    Once the survey is taken, the third party platform is set.  The next step is for voters to chose a candidate that can carry out the poll results.  Candidate selection for the new third party remains extremely important.  The candidate still must win the election and be voted into office in order to carry forth the agenda.

    6. May the Best Ideas Win

    Why would this idea will work, where other third party ideas have failed to generate a mainstream following?  First, the political climate is right, people do not want to be labeled nor necessarily associated with a political party.  The terms Republicans and Democrats carry a stigma.  The new third party can be a disruptive force that takes voter share from both Republicans and Democrats because its issue based and not tied to any ideology.  Secondly, the idea of fair representation across a broad cross section has mass appeal.  Third, the technology is available to carry out such a massive data collection project involved with online surveys.

    Critics of the New Third Party may say this is an arguement for a direct democracy.  It is not.  A representative is needed to decide on too close to call issues.  And a leader is needed to speak on behalf of the people.  Further, I am not suggesting a change to the Constitution or infringement on the Bill of Rights.  The baseline rights off all people should be protected.  If anything, a survey system enhances the First Amendment right to Petition.  The right to Petition includes the right to gather signatures in support of a cause and to lobby legislative bodies for or against legislation.  The right is simply exercised prior to the election.  Surveys allow for a more collective agreement in the decision making process.

    The structure is a hybrid system that encourages a direct participation.  Creating a third political party based on surveys is not the same as a direct democracy like it California. Polling people just presents a third party option, one based on people's opionions.  In my opinion, voting on issues is better than voting on partisan politicians.  It clarifies the people's point of view whether or not they end up voting for the new third party candidate.

    Another criticism is that a political party based on popular opinion can lead to a tyranny of the majority.  Minority interests, those representing less than half the whole population, have had a terrible track record in our current representative system.The United States was declared a country in 1776. Women gained the right to vote in 1920, 144 years later! And the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, 188 years later!  I would argue that in wasn't even a minority view point that lead to woman's suffrage or Civil Rights, they were the majority view point suppressed by a minority of people in Congress.  Suppose someone would have conducted a scientific survey of all citizens of the U.S. in 1864, just after the Civil War, asking if women should have the right to vote. The survey would have polled women at the time as well, since they were citizens. Using a scientific sampling of the population, the survey would have concluded in 1864 that women should have that right. I am basing this off of that fact that the female population was greater than the male population at the time. So instead of waiting until 1920, women could have had the right to vote in 1864 based on scientific surveys.  How long before other reforms get passed through Congress?

    How can such a party get off the ground?  The idea has to be put into circulation and many people have to agree its the best way to move forward.  Blogs are one such venue.  People have to tell their friends, who then have to pass the word to their friends.  If you like what you have read, please pass it along.  Ideas get spread much faster in an electronic world.  Also, companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Intel would care to see a project like this happen.  It ties people closer to technology and makes them more dependent on the goods and services that tech companies provide.  These companies could potentially back and fund the new third party.  Apps could be written to make surveys easily accessible on mobile devices.  Most of the tech industry would be behind the initiative to create a tech solution for government.

    A new third party would succeed if all single issue people joined forces and pushed their one issue onto the platform.

    How would new ideas surface in the context of a party based on citizen surveys?
    There is no shortage of "good" ideas in the market place of politics. The
    difficult part is creating a political architecture where the good ideas rise to
    the top and then can be implemented.

    The time it takes to get objective feedback on a new idea is much longer when
    you are doing it externally. A simple poll result is not enough. A poll result
    with the weight of voters behind it is much more powerful.

    All new ideas will tend to be thought of as extreme instead of an adjustment to
    prior ideas. Its not in the politic DNA of a party to fast track an idea and
    bring it to the marketplace in a timely manner. A new party based on issues,
    with the focus of creating an objective, fair and consensus driven platform,
    would help the process.

    Take for example the recent turmoil in the Middle East.  What system of government will prevail, will the people have a voice?  Although the technology is not readily available to all people, computers could be made available in public places.  The results of the survey can be published in newspapers.  There are ways to work around creating a new third party system in the Middle East, instead of falling victim to another oppressive dictatorship.  A dictatorship is an extreme example of an individual or minority ruling class suppressing the rights of the majority of people.  Suppression is suppression, it can come from either the majority or the minority.  Politics should be user driven content and not fall in the hands of a few powerful people while at the same time protecting the rights of all.

    The task of the current generation is to reorganize the power structure of the government to ensure its continuous existence. To establish a solid governmental foundation for future generations is a difficult challenge. The current political condition of the government is not conducive to finding resolutions.  A third party would help to break the stalemate and to make sure the government is still in business to carry out policies.

    Society runs on a collection of ideas, organized and carried out by the authority of the legislation. By bringing good ideas on legislation into a clear light we may reasonably hope to minimize disputes, which may arise, concerning their effect on society. Ideas debated publicly in an open forum helps to clarify the pros and cons. A political agenda can be balanced by having the option to vote on the best ideas from the left, the right and the center. The ideas that win the most public support are the ones that form the basis of the non-partisan third party platform. May the best ideas “win” and keep us moving forward as a nation.




    © 2011 All Rights Reserved

    17 comments:

    DLW said...

    Thanks for your comment.
    I have just now posted about your ideas.
    I will probably post again on your ideas.
    dlw

    TiradeFaction said...

    You should incorporate Wiki software somewhere in your proposal, that is a great way to facilitate information and debate.

    ljp said...

    @ dlw
    Thank you for the post. I am reading through your blog.

    ljp said...

    @ TiradeFaction
    Good idea about wikis.

    DLW said...

    I reposted on it.

    dlw

    DLW said...

    Here it is.
    dlw

    Calmoderate said...

    OK, fine. Let's do a third party. I am more than ready. Democrats and Republicans both failed us and betrayed us.

    Here in California registering a new party requires about 103,000 affidavit signatures or 1,003,000 petition signatures. How are we going to do that? Much as I hate money in politics, it will take buckets of money.

    This is an exercise in creative problem solving. Any suggestions on how to solve it? Unfortunately, I have none. I am not a marketing major and this is a real marketing problem (unless I am mistaken).

    ljp said...

    An existing independent party can use the survey idea to create their party platform. You can market the idea as a no-labels, non-partisan, non-ideology based political option.

    Critic 1 said...

    No offense, but this is like a complete political revamp. If you are looking to create a new party, it shouldn't be completely destroying the old ideas that America was built upon. If your going to be making a "perfect" party (which isn't happening any time soon) change the things that Republicans / Democrats messed up, but don't screw America over

    ljp said...

    @ Critic 1

    Thank you for your insightful comment. Far from being offended, I consider it a compliment that you see the article as a “complete political revamp.” That’s exactly the intention. It’s a hypothetical third party idea that is unique to the current political parties.

    The new party idea is not “destroying the old ideas that America was built upon”, it is actually meant to restore these ideas. One of the causes of the American Revolution was the colonies’ rights of self-government were being restricted. The new third party idea ensures that representatives follow the will of the people, not the other way around.

    Further, the Preamble to the US Constitution starts with the phrase “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union.” The country was founded in order to create a more perfect system of government. The government and the governed should strive for perfection and try to turn the ideal of a perfect union into a reality.

    I agree that Republicans and Democrats have screwed things up. I think its time for a new third party in politics, one that is more representative and inclusive than the current two-party system.

    A&E&ME said...

    there is a long list of third parties. If OWS got off there ass and democratically took them all over, then they could unite them to form the third party. They'd be up and running in a relative flash! Sadly it appears OWS refuses to use the legal method outlined in the First Amendment to pursue their goals.
    Occupying land is a powerful show of force. OWS is a shot across the bow of The Powers That Be (TPTB). They need to get their act together and take it to the next level. Occupiers need to get out of their tents and start fielding candidates in every congressional district in the country.

    ljp said...

    @A&E&ME

    I agree that there is a long list of third parties. However, none that I know of are structured in the manner described in this article.

    Friedemann said...

    We need a new voting system to help "third parties". Please sign the petition for Proportional Representation! Greens, & other voices for change, will not be elected in our only one winner system. More info: www.newvote.info.ms and sign the petition on
    www:signon.org/sign/change-the-two-party

    The recent Reason-Rupe poll finds that 80% of Americans say they would or might consider voting for an Independent or third-party presidential candidate in the 2012 election. Specifically, 60% said they would consider voting for an independent or third-party candidate, 20% said they might consider, 17% said they would not consider, and 3% said they did not know whether they would consider voting for an Independent or third-party presidential candidate.


    Proportional voting increases voter choice and allows more accurate representation of the political parties in legislature. The basic approach of proportional representation is simple:
    If you have a 10-member district & the Republicans win 50% of the vote, they receive five of the ten seats. If the Democrats win 30% of the vote, they get three seats. If a third party gets 20% of the vote, they win two seats. PR voting systems provide more accurate representation of the people.

    Rich Stevenson said...

    Need bottom up ballot access structure to have any success.

    need more that talk.
    http://cs2pr.us/hamco/usaiva/Leader.html#Voice

    PublicMarketMan said...

    old dates on this. where does this content stand? still serious about it?

    Synorg said...

    The platform and planks of the party have to engender basic concepts that equally apply to all at least most people - that is relatively easy to do p- you take the basic components that all people need, the necessities that are needed to run a government; and allow candidates to choose whatever they want individually that allows for 'people' to decide, but the very basic planks remain intact, so no matter who one votes for, they know they all will agree on the most important points.
    I have a website that addresses the issue

    ljp said...

    @synorg
    What is the webstie address please? Can you list the planks of a platform that you are referring to?