Politics and the Information Age

At Scoop 44, Ryan O'Neal foresees "the rise of the third party" as a likely consequence of the transformation of social and political relations in the information age. Some excerpts:
I can’t wait until one of the two major political parties implodes . . . The power to create information is in the hands of more people than ever before. The amount of information in the world is now much larger – and gets dispersed much faster – than fifteen years ago. In one year, the amount of new information discovered or created is 37,000 times that which resides in the Library of Congress. The possibilities for fifteen years from now are mind-boggling.

That sheer abundance of information is what will eventually lead to a party implosion. Copious amounts of information leads to copious amounts of different opinions, which leads to Republicans who can’t find a figurehead to rally around and Democrats who can’t decide what to include in a health bill that may or may not even get passed, despite a heavy congressional majority . . . There are many well-educated people out there whose views lie somewhere in that blurry area between acceptable Washington fare and lunatic delusions, ideas that most of American society understands but voters in some of those key demographic categories don’t, thoughts that would enrich American life if it weren’t for a small number of power players in Washington . . . with a rise of new leaders and new modus operandi, a third or fourth party offers us something that Barack Obama – who turned out to be just another Democrat – couldn’t quite follow through on: Hope that there was someone in Washington that would help us do it our way . . . as those conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans mingle online with those libertarians, those progressives, or those moderates, we’ll see something that has been promised to us for a while now: change.

It’s inevitable. The people will demand a new party sooner or later, and it will most likely stem from one of the two that already exist. I’m not saying it will be the Libertarians or Greens – it may be a party that doesn’t exist yet. I’m not saying that they will take over Congress or win the presidency. But one of the many subgroups of American politics will see its voice grow to a degree that the District of Columbia will have no choice but to respect it.

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