For the first time since the Progressive and Bull Moose members returned to the Republican Party in the 1930’s, there is fertile ground for the formation of a viable third party in the US. Don’t let Libertarians or Green Party members fool you, they have no chance to win anything–and actually only serve to increase the political fracturing by siphoning off just enough votes in closely contested races between the two major parties to produce non-majority winners.
Instead, I’m talking about a major third party that would have high-profile candidates from day one, infrastructure to organize campaigns in all 50 states and an established donor network to fund those campaigns against what would remain of the two major parties. All we need is a really cool name.
The problem with modern third party politics in modern America is that they have been the creation of just one person–or limit themselves to just one issue. The Reform Party of the 1990’s was nothing more than the ego of Ross Perot–who spent millions of his own money (twice) just to advance his own personal agenda. Compared to what we have in today’s political atmosphere, how were George HW Bush and Bill Clinton that much different from each other? And what was Perot going to “reform”? The party’s only win was Jesse “The Body” Venture capturing the governorship in Minnesota in a race that really foreshadowed the current cult of personality politics that produced election victories for the junior Senator from Illinois Barrack Obama and the former TV reality show star Donald Trump to the presidency.
Meanwhile, parties like the Greens tie themselves to one issue–like environmentalism–limiting their appeal to all voters and then compound that by refusing to play by the modern economic rules of politics. Their supporters create even more distaste by demanding European-style representation in Legislatures and Congress arguing that they “deserve” two percent of the seats because they got two percent of the vote.
But now the two parties are driving each other farther away from the center–where the vast majority of voting electorate lies on the political spectrum. Trumpism in the Republican Party and Socialism in the Democratic Party has members of both looking around and asking, what happened to my party? And that is where the Never Trumpers and the Democrats that still believe in the Constitution can come together and actually get this process back on the rails.
The key–as I mentioned before–is to pick the right name. The Constitution Party is already taken by a bunch of nerds that will waive their pocket copy of the document in your face every chance they get while reciting obscure passages of Article II word for word. It looks like the Centrist Party is also taken–although I’ve never heard of them actually getting a candidate on the ballot. Perhaps we can look to one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine, who penned the pamphlet Common Sense Addressed to the Inhabitants of America–which spawned the first push for democracy in the New World. The Common Sense Party–our hope for the future.