Poli-Tea on Polizeros Radio

Last night, Bob Morris of Polizeros invited me on to his Blog Talk Radio broadcast for a discussion of third party and independent politics.  The podcast is already online.  Bob provides a roundup of our talk in a post today:
Topics included:
The Myth of the Myth of the Independent. They aren’t just closet Democrats or Republicans but span the political spectrum with many not tilting one way or the other.
In some states there are more Independents than Republicans or Democrats. This indicates huge and growing disaffection among voters.
The two parties have seized control of our political system and deliberately make it difficult for third parties to gain ballot status. Further, neither parties wants increased voter turnout because that might upset their cozy little duopoly. They benefit from and encourage voter apathy.
Change is possible. The Vermont Progressive Party is now a major party in that state and their senator Bernie Sanders is an Independent who calls himself socialist.


TiradeFaction said...

I listened, was very much enthused through the whole thing, hope you do more of this :)

However..the audio quality was a bit subpar, so the host of the show may want to address that in the future.

d.eris said...

Thanks TF! It was fun. The hour flew by. Bob invited me on again for another discussion at an unspecified future date. It was good to hear Ross call in. I should've posted on it yesterday, but totally spaced.

Afterward, I was glad you had recently brought up the VT Progressive Party in a recent comment. Otherwise they might have slipped my mind during the discussion.

You're right about the sound. I'm not sure exactly what the problem was (whether the phone connections, or internet connections, or what) but it made carrying on the conversation a bit difficult at times.

TiradeFaction said...

I noticed you brought up the VPP, and thought I might have played a part in it :)

I like how you brought up the Single Payer example..and it kind of fits very close to something happening just south of VT in Connecticut. Essentially, the state was going to develop a very popular "public option" for residents in CT called "SustiNet". Long story short, the high ranking Democrats predictably killed the measure, yet...this hasn't happened in Vermont. There has been *some* weakening of the bill (that's to be expected in even ideal legislative atmospheres), but nothing to the amount of completely gutting it. CT doesn't have a viable third party, VT does, I think there's a fair case to be made the VPP ensures such a different outcome from a realistic exit threat for progressives out of the Democratic Party.

Bob Morris said...

The sound was indeed off. There was a little echoing feedback. Aargh.

Starting next week, I'll call into the podcast via Skype, which apparently gives greatly improved sound. Callers can still call in on the regular number.

Damon indeed has a huge amount of information and views to share on independent and third party politics.

JohnConstitution said...

I have toyed with the idea of injecting a third party into the political fray in order to have our conservative political views better expressed in Washington, but these days, I just don't think that is the way to go.

I understand that the GOP leadership is as firmly entrenched in big gov't as the libs are, but it doesn't have to be that way. I think it is time for the Tea Party, along with like minded groups, to execute a hostile takeover of the Republican party. That means that the conservatives must represent an overwhelming majority of the party, and that the old-guard, people like John Boehner, must be voted out of office. Or, the conservative majority must be willing to go against party leadership and act in the interests of the people rather than their big-government leaders.

d.eris said...

It sounds like you are just advocating the same old infiltration strategy that has failed every two to four years since Barry Goldwater, John. That is literally exactly what the ruling political establishment wants us to do. There is another name for "taking over the party": it is called being co-opted by the party establishment only to be stabbed in the back by them once again. I've written a fair amount about the failures and problems of the infiltration strategy in the past. Check out the "infiltration" link in the categories list in the right side bar.

Arguably, one of the primary reasons why it is impossible to work within the ruling parties for the interests of the people, is because the ruling parties are vehicles for interests that are diametrically opposed to the interests of the people of the United States, namely, the interests of the parties themselves. The Democrat-Republican party, the two party state and duopoly system of government amounts to the outright subversion of representative, Constitutional government in the United States, as evidenced by the continual eriosion of rights, liberties and the rule of law. To work within the major parties is to do nothing but provide popular political cover for this ongoing coup.

TiradeFaction said...


You might not want to be so quick to poo poo the prospect of using third parties (in some fashion) as a vehicle to get your views better represented in the governments of the United States. You're looking for a better quality Republican party to better represent your views (I'm assuming those are "small government, fiscal prudence, local autonomy, and a healthy distrust of foreign military adventures"?). However, like D.eris put it, the "infiltration" tactics haven't seemed to work out very well throughout the history of the United States, particularly in the past 50 or so years. You might want to take a look at the tactics that the progressive community has taken in Vermont, with the use of a state based third party to bring forth a more quality Democratic party in their state. I don't see why this can't be adapted for use by principled conservatives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermont_Progressive_Party

Essentially speaking, these progressive in Vermont spent the last 20 years building up an alternative party to the Democrats, and while not overtaking the Democrats, have gained enough clout, and created enough of a realistic "exit threat" for progressive voters that it's caused the Democratic Party of Vermont to be more honest, and more true to their stated ideals, and their constituents. So I think third parties have more value than most people give them, even if it's just on a local & state level.

JohnConstitution said...

I hear what you are saying, but what you are suggesting is a monumental task, and that may be putting it mildly. The wolves are at the door NOW, is thee time to respond with a third party? And, do you have any particular party in mind?

TiradeFaction said...


Well, the "Wolves" are always at the door aren't they? And yes, politics in itself a monumental task, and the obsession of instant gratification is often a problem facing American politics. I don't have a party to recommend myself for you though, personally as I'm not a conservative. Might want to check out the Libertarians, or the Constitution party, or even if anyone is willing to start your own. Might want to take a two pronged approach, vote & organize third party on a state level, continue voting Repub on a federal level. It can work to make a more quality Republican party in your state, which *may* trickle up to the federal level. Of course, there are other viable tactics in regards to third parties, this is just one that seems proven to work, thus far.

TiradeFaction said...

And since the infiltration strategy isn't working...it's time to invest in a new strategy, me thinks...

JohnConstitution said...

Hmm, I was about to trot out one of my favorite defenses, namely, the Reagan defense. I would mention that under Reagan tax revenues were increased by nearly 100%, which is true, but then I looked at what happened to deficits under Reagan. They increased!

So, all of that increased tax revenue was gobbled up by an expanding bureaucracy. True, the Republicans didn't have control of Congress, but could not an executive truly committed to smaller, limited government not done a better job of holding the line on growth?

I think I begin to see the problem a little more clearly.

d.eris said...

John, I would argue that it is an even more monumental task to take over and reform the major parties than it would be to build upon an already existing third party. The difficulty of taking over and reforming a major party is evidenced by the fact that it has basically NEVER succeeded in the past, at least in my lifetime. imo, the chances of that succeeding is more remote than the chance of building a viable third party.

I don't think any particular party is the ideal solution, it depends greatly on local circumstances, and it might be the case that candidates independent of any party would be superior to third party candidates, depending on where you are. It sounds like you would be rather sympathetic to the Libertarians, as Tiradefaction suggested. Why not check out their affiliate in your state? You might find that the task really isn't as impossible as the ideologists of the two-party state would have us all believe.

JohnConstitution said...

Thanks d.eris and TiradeFaction for your suggestions. At this point I am not looking so much for a specific party as for encouragement that the third party approach is the right one.

You may remember me from a blog post I made last year, "Will America Survive The Two Party System", http://johnconstitution.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/will-america-survive-the-two-party-system/.

Since then, I have struggled greatly with the idea of abandoning the Republican party altogether and still struggle with the idea today. I think I was on the right track last year, I just need to regain that footing.

d.eris said...

hah. Yes, I do remember that post now that you've supplied the link. We had a pretty good conversation in the comments there.

As polls consistently indicate, the majority of Americans recognize that the Democratic and Republican parties do not represent our interests. But we have been beaten into submission by the ideological prison guards of the two-party state and duopoly system of government. The Democrats and Republicans want us all to believe that they are necessary for self-government, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth, since they represent the opposition to self-government by the American people.

Here are ten arguments against the two-party state that I wrote up some time ago, which you might find interesting.

TiradeFaction said...

D.eris is right, there is no one size fits all solution. And we shouldn't forget independents (Which I do sometimes myself) It's interesting to note, alongside the VPP in Vermont, they also have 3 independents elected to their lower house as well. Vermont is an interesting case to say the least.