We Need One Third Party
|February 19, 2004||Posted by Staff under Archive, Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Divided, We Fall
We Need One Third Party
by Joe Ferguson
special to The Progress Report
The other day, an excellent post forwarded by Peoples Press International (firstname.lastname@example.org) brought up the subject of third party candidates and our corrupted political systems.
The post briefly set forward the premise that the two major political parties have been completely taken over by transnational corporate money so that neither of these parties represent the public anymore. No matter which side wins in the election, the corporations win and the people lose. Under this system, voting is at best damage control, and the choice is between the lesser of two evils.
The post went on to announce that New Mexico voters in the Santa Fe area now have a real option at the polls because the Green Party has a candidate, Carol Miller, on the ballot for New Mexico’s third Congressional district. Ms. Miller was quoted, calling the corrupt two-party system “the evil of the two lessers.”
That post stated:
- “By running candidates for political office, the Greens are saying, in effect, that the failed public interest model is not enough, that it is time to become overtly political.
“Instead of pressuring politicians from the outside, it is time to get down and dirty and engage the political process directly, and by so doing, recapture our government from the corporations.”
I couldn’t agree more. I believe that in the United States, the electorate is hungry for real alternatives. I believe we are tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. I believe that a viable third party candidate could win at almost any level.
But what is “viable” and where is the “third party?” At the poll, I see not three parties, but nine.
I see the Green Party, the Peace & Freedom Party, the Natural Law Party and the Libertarian Party. I’ve been attracted by the Reform Party, with their thorough and focused program of election, lobbying and government reform. And there are the Labor Party and the New Party.
Given my current opinion of the Republocrats, I would probably be willing to vote for the candidates of any one of these seven “third” parties.
See the problem? See the next step?
Don’t all of these “third parties” need to form an alliance? Isn’t it obvious that otherwise, they’re all doomed to failure?
Here’s a basic strategy: you coalesce just long enough to win; then you fix the systemic problems; and finally you can work out the fine points of your differences in a true democratic manner.
What’s needed is a “Third Party” or “The Other Party” (whatever you want to call it) that states:
“We greens, libertarians, labor-people, reformers, peace-lovers etc., have agreed to set aside our minor differences until we have gained control of the government, reformed corporate law to return the corporate charter to democratic control, and to construct better representative systems (e.g., proportional representation — which we have established within the ranks of our own coalition).
“Once corporate power has been harnessed and new, more effective representative systems have been put in place, we reserve the right to disband this party, to return to the domains of our original, individual parties. This coalition is being formed under emergency conditions. Its charter is limited to addressing this emergency”
The post mentioned above, stated that the Green candidate, Carol Miller, got seventeen percent of the vote in a May 1997 special election.
My question: how many percent did the Libertarians get? How about Peace & Freedom? What about the New Party and the Labor Party?
Big question — how many people voting for the lesser of two evils in that election would have voted for the Third Party if that Party was big enough to have a real chance of winning? How many unregistered voters would register if there was not only a candidate you could get excited about voting for, but one that also might win?
If you wish, you can email the author.
What’s your opinion on Ferguson’s idea for One Third Party? Let us know!