Critical Mass: Breaking the Two-Party Paradigm

In the Huffington Post, Lee Stranahan argues that we are reaching what he calls a "third party tipping point," and suggests that a mass third party movement will have to explode the old duopolist paradigm, and re-frame the defining political issues of the day. An excerpt:

Once you begin to expose that two-party, Democratic versus Republican paradigm for the manufactured fraud that it is, a political opportunity starts to emerge. Drop the theatrics of left versus right and you see that both parties are united in their corruption by special-interest groups. Suddenly, a real alternative founding principle becomes clear; one that could effectively rally the support of a significant number of Americans.

Our country needs a third political party based on the explicit rejection of lobbyist money as its fundamental, unwavering principle. This party sales pitch would be clear and compelling; "Unlike the Democrats and Republicans, we aren't corrupt."

Because this party will break the chains of left versus right, its policies would be unlikely to fit neatly into the current paradigm. The traditional questions of big government versus small government would be replaced by an emphasis on effective government.

People have lost faith in our current political system and with good reason. I believe we're close to a tipping point, where tge incredible advances in communications technology combine with a strong anticorruption philosophy to help build a political party that breathes life into American democracy before it's too late.


pragmatist said...

Yes, rejection of special interest money
should be a big part part of the equation. What I have not figured out yet is how to get access to mass public communication without money. Money is always the real killer.

The press generally won't cover third parties. That may be getting better at the moment. Access to mass communication is critical, but I do not know how to attain that.

The money problem is a really, really big problem for boring pragmatic third parties, but IMO it isn't impossible.

We may be close to some sort of tipping point, but good grief, how are noobs in politics going to fight all that money?

The only answer to that is to be smart, concise, brutally honest and, most importantly, tell Americans clearly and honestly how we believe we can get out of this mess. No one can guarantee success, but I believe that leaving behind special interest corruption (but not special interest access and knowledge) can go a heck of a long way in arguing the point.

d.eris said...

That's definitely a major paradox in the US today: majorities consistently say that they dislike Democrats and Republicans because they are beholden to their corporate paymasters, but then they keep voting for those very same people rather than for candidates who refuse that money. It is a difficult question.

Michael said...

The money aspect is exactly the reason why the party has to be built at the local level first and foremost. It may take longer, but it takes less money. Of course, if you don't have candidates committed to shunning the money (and I mean really shun it because I've seen up close how candidates wind up accepting money and then justifying it somehow) then you'll wind up with a third party as corrupt as the other two. The Huffington excerpt you provided makes it clear the focus of any emergent party must be on "effective government" , which I can appreciate. Despite recent Tea Party "successes", I've grown disillusioned by those emerging, as they look every bit as suspect as those we've grown accustomed to. We'll need to do a whole lot better to see real change take hold, in my opinion.

d.eris said...

That's a good point re: money and local politics. With regard to the idea of "effective government," that is one of the Modern Whig Party's talking points/slogans when asked about their position on the liberal/conservative spectrum with regard to big vs. small government. That idea is definitely out there.