From the Bottom Up: the Case for State-Level Third Party Activism

At Op-Ed News, Jim Arnold makes the case for local- and state-level third party activism:
A third party in the U.S. has never been so desperately needed, and the obstacles to making it viable have never been so enormous. But there are fifty-plus potential long-term remedies, alternatives to a national third party: autonomous, populist parties established on the state and/or local level. . . . .

There are several advantages to a state-by-state and local approach. It would be fresh and newsworthy, a buzz-worthy development. A state party can bring state issues and the representation of state interests in Washington into better focus by bringing them closer to home. It can appeal to people who have a strong identification with their state or locality, closer-felt than with that monolithic entity, the federal government. It would avoid the general aversion to the feds "inside the beltway" in Washington. Many people tend to enjoy or need to feel exclusive, or opposed to as well as for something - my state as opposed to other states; my state could do it better than other states. And imagine a candidate's name on a ballot next to an affiliation with "The [state] Party"; for the embarrassingly large bloc of voters who make their marks on a whim, the party name would have an inherent advantage . . . 

The 2010 election was devastating for many state governments, far more drastic than the Congressional results. The state level is likely to be the crucial battleground between people's interests and corporatist interests in coming years.

State and local parties could address many issues more effectively than national campaigns, even if initially by relatively piecemeal efforts. We've seen examples of this with various statewide safety and environmental standards that exceed those at the national level.
Read the whole thing.

1 comment:

TiradeFaction said...

Yup, 100% agreed. Third parties shouldn't have such a federocentric focus, for both practicalities sake, and to appeal to the federalist nature of many Americans. Vermont is a good example of what progressive/leftists can do when they focus on the state level (they're beginning to implement a universal single payer health system).