America's Fastest Growing Third Party

What is America's fastest growing third party? The question seems straightforward enough, and the answer would appear to be easily quantifiable: one need only determine which party is increasing its membership at the fastest rate. Yet the proliferation of new parties over the last few years complicates the issue. If an activist founds a new party and convinces just one more person to join, membership instantaneously doubles. The most recent and reliable tally of voter registration numbers I have been able to track down is from late 2008, at Ballot Access News. Perusing the third party political web, however, one might begin to wonder just how many "fastest growing" parties there are in the United States. I count at least seven, in no particular order:
• An article from May at the Constitution Party website begins, "The Constitution Party, the fastest-growing third party, is poised to pick up the pieces of the broken Grand Old Party as more Americans consider the option of an alternative choice."

• The welcome page for the Green Party states: "The Green Party is America's fastest growing political party."

America's Third Party calls itself, "America's fastest growing political movement."

• The introduction at the Libertarian Party website reads: "The Libertarian Party is America's third largest and fastest growing political party."

• A post from last year at the Boston Tea Party site is entitled: "The Fastest Growing Party in America."

• In June, the Modern Whig Party blog wrote that "the Modern Whig Party has attracted media attention as "the fastest growing mainstream political movement in the nation.""

• In a press release from the National Committee of America's Independent Party, we read: "The American Independent Party is the nation's third largest and fastest growing political party based on voter registration."
Of course, though comical, this is not meant to slight the above parties. If anything, it underscores the vitality, and the level of competition between them, as well as the widespread interest of voters across the political spectrum in alternatives to the duopoly charade. But it also raises the issue of truth in politics.

Cognizance of the tenuous relationship between political rhetoric and what is called 'the truth' is likely as old as politics itself. In Plato's Republic, for instance, it is famously asserted that a 'noble lie' is necessary to maintain social and political order. Today, as the corporate media have taken to accepting the truth claims of preferred politicians and ideologues of the duopoly parties at face value, it sometimes appears as if the greater portion of independent and amateur political commentary consists in nothing more than exposing the lies of the author's political opponents, present company not excluded. The cynics among us may well be justified in wondering whether the chains of lies and distortions peddled by the political class are not primarily intended to deceive, but rather simply to keep us busy while they go about their business.

The plasticity of truth, however, allows for it to be bent without necessarily being broken. It is in this gray area between truth and lie that much of our contemporary political discourse comes into its own. This holds as much for the partisans of the duopoly as it does for their opposition among third parties and independents. The intensity of political competition virtually requires it.


derek said...

IMHO, of all the one's you have listen, the Modern Whigs is my favorite. Personally they put out the best message and the closest to my political ideology, centrism.

It doesn't hurt that they have a nice site design either. It sounds superficial, but if your site looks together then it is safe to assume that your organization is as well.

Anonymous said...

The Modern Whigs also have referenced media articles that have made the claim of fastest growing mainstream party, and only started using that statement after various columnists made such statements. Since the criteria is subjective, I like that they cite mainstream media articles to speak for them.

d.eris said...

Anonymous, you're right, the Whig blog is referencing a quote, though they didn't supply the link to the original article.

Derek, I think the Whig platform is very reasonable, they have the potential to attract a lot of people.

derek said...

There is still a sentiment in this country that third parties are extreme, that they must be far right or far left. One friend told me they often "venture into tin-foil hat territory".

Modern Whigs are reasonable, logical, and not on the fringes. They are exactly, IMHO, where most Americans are ideologically. If they could get a few rising stars to sign on, or someone like a Jesse Ventura with name recognition, we could see some big things nationally from the Modern Whigs.

d.eris said...

"One friend told me they often "venture into tin-foil hat territory"."

Maybe they're not so different from the Republicans and Democrats then! I think just a couple well-run campaigns at the state level or for the House (they're already fielding at least two candidates for House seats), even if they ultimately did not win, would create a good amount of press and momentum for future efforts. The major hurdle is showing that what appears impossible is not impossible.