The Way of the Modern Whigs

This past weekend, the Modern Whig Party held its first National Council Meeting in Washington D.C., bringing together members and volunteers from across the country. At Northern Virginia Whig, Rob Withers supplied a summary of the proceedings. At The Whig, Septimus writes:
First, at the meeting, we had a presentation and discussion on why third parties fail. There is no shying away from the mountain of problems that a third party faces. We are under no delusions. We also had a presentation from our first candidate on how his effort was received . . .

Second, we had a presentation on how to develop the Modern Whig Party both internally and externally: how we are different, and how we can do things a better way. Going forward, we will have a method of developing party leaders and candidates from within the party. Also, party members will be able to develop the issues and priorities of the party . . . The Modern Whig approach, going forward, is to give our members a real say in party affairs and the development of party issues. Future party leaders will not be picked from above, but will be those who have participated and helped to develop the party. This bottom-up, grass-roots approach will be central to the future of the Modern Whig Party.

Third, we refined and expanded the tenets of the party. They will reflect not only our core beliefs, and how we will develop, but what kind of political party we will be: moderate, reasonable, transparent, grass-roots and member-oriented, and decentralized.
Interestingly, in a separate post, Septimus also makes a point of emphasizing what they did not do at the council meeting:
Sometimes what you don't do is as important as what you did do. One of the things we avoided was a prolonged discussion about our detailed positions on the issues . . . The idea of gathering to impose our opinions on the rest of the membership seemed presumptuous. Instead, we spent our time discussing more important and immediate tasks: our core values, our organization, engaging the membership, improving communication, how to identify and develop leadership, and our goals for the medium and long term.

What developed then, was a decision to put into place a method that will allow the membership itself to decide the party's position on the issues. Over the next few months, this will be put into place. It involves developing our own unique membership communications and comments system. In this way, our commitment to grass-roots development will be incorporated into our very structure, and will shape the way we communicate and grow our membership. If we say we are different than other political parties, then we should be. [Emphasis added.]
Reporters were present for some portion of the proceedings. Slate intern Andrew Dubbins writes: "America says it wants a third party. Why not the Modern Whigs?" Unfortunately, however, aside from snide comments and insinuations, there is little in the article that one could not learn from any number of Whig blogs plus Wikipedia's entry on Whigs. In an article from Michigan's Eastern Echo earlier this month, Chris Hoitash argued that the Modern Whigs are "moderates' new ally":
With more people registered as Independents, and with the extremes of each major party drowning out the more moderate members, the Modern Whigs could be the new voice for those people, especially considering the civil war between the moderate and extremely conservative Republicans . . .

if, like me, you’re tired of the Republican civil war, the Democratic fragmentation resulting in nothing getting done, and the extremists of both parties drowning out those in the middle, or if you are a moderate Republican and believe the war is lost or will be lost for your side, then the Modern Whigs might be for you. Progress can come from small beginnings, but only if those who believe the need for the progress take action.
The Modern Whig presence on the web is growing at a steady pace. Perhaps you might be interested in the Modern Whig Party of Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Texas, Tennessee, or Virginia.

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