The Centrist Party

Derek Viger at The Maine View considers the fault lines and conflicts in each of the duopoly parties ("Blue Dogs" vs. progressives among the Democrats, social liberals vs. conservative hardliners among the Republicans) and asks:
Are we moving toward having one large viable third party? . . . Will the social liberal/fiscal conservatives in each party break tradition and join each other? While I don't think this is likely, it makes for some interesting speculation. What would a three party US look like? What would that do to the political structure of this country?
The question is thus whether moderates in both parties will eventually break ranks if the perceived political polarization of the duopoly parties continues apace. Though they are not non-partisan, moderates, by definition, are not given to factionalism. Incremental increases in political partisanship between the Republican and Democratic Parties would likely have to pass a qualitative threshold before these voters exited the two-party system en masse in support of a third party which better represents their views and interests. That being said, many such moderates have clearly already been turned off by the gamesmanship constitutive of duopoly politics, and register their discontent by registering as independents. Ironically, this may lead to the further polarization of the two party state as primary contests are then decided to a greater extent by partisan activists, especially in states with closed primaries. Calls for centrist or moderate parties are thus not unheard of. Somewhere in the Middle points out that, "there is such a thing as the Centrist Party," and the nascent American Moderate Party is testing the waters for potential supporters.

3 comments:

derek said...

Ah the Centrist party. I have been a member of the Centrist party for a year or so now. Their tenants are right up my alley. If we do go to a three-party system, which I am dubious can actually happen, I'd imagine it would look something like this.

I say I'm dubious because of the funding stranglehold dems and repubs have on political financing. If that weren't an issue I think a solid centrist party would at least have a fighting chance on the national level.

How far can we be squeezed by the looney left and right wing nutjobs before those in the middle say ENOUGH?

d.eris said...

That is indeed the question. But you and I are evidence that things have already gone too far.

The financing issue is very difficult. I think the focus should be on reaching the state minimums (usually 3-5%) for qualifying for matching funds in upcoming elections. What is the third party situation like in Maine?

derek said...

I just realized I never got back to you on third party situation in Maine.

To tell you the truth it's rather dull. The Greens do win some seats in the state house, but they are basically extremely environmental democrats. You can expect the two parties to side on most issues.

We do have our fair share of straight independents. Thought we did have an indy governor, whom I like more now that he is out of office, that's about it. The indies will run, but the party machines generally trounce them in statewide elections.

 
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