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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 08:05 PM
Original message
Progressive 3rd Party Challenges in US History
Edited on Thu Nov-19-09 08:08 PM by Time for change
The rise of progressive third parties in US politics has always presented somewhat of a dilemma for progressive Americans. On the one hand, much of US history has been characterized by a dominance of conservatism, thus leaving progressives hungry for a new progressive party.

But on the other hand, when one of the two major parties is substantially more progressive than the other one (or perceived to be so), the rise of a strong progressive 3rd party always has the potential to siphon off votes from the more progressive of the two major parties, thus handing important elections to the ultra-conservative party. Indeed, the most recent example resulted in a monumental catastrophe, when Ralph Naders presidential candidacy of 2000 siphoned off enough votes from Al Gore in New Hampshire and Florida to hand the election to George W. Bush (The fact that Florida was rightfully won by Gore is irrelevant to that statement If Nader hadnt been on the ballot in Florida the election would probably not have been close enough for Bush to steal).

The dilemma today is as salient as ever. Despite a Democratic President, a so-called filibuster proof Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, and a 79 seat advantage in the U.S. House of Representatives, many progressives have been sorely disappointed at what has transpired, including: the refusal to hold the Bush administration accountable for its numerous crimes; the continued bailout of powerful banks, in the absence of major regulatory reform aimed at holding them accountable for irresponsible fiscal policies; the continuation of two wars that are helping to destroy our economy, kill and maim our young men and women, and hurt our international reputation; the failure to initiate a stronger economic stimulus to combat our economic depression; the failure to take more meaningful steps to combat the destruction of our planet by global warming; and, the failure to produce health care reform that provides more relief to ordinary Americans than it does to the private insurance companies that have been a major cause of the woeful state of our health care system.


Why cant solid Democratic Party control of government lead to more progressive change?

At least some of the reasons for the many disappointed expectations are clear. As the Republican Party has demonstrated such irresponsibility during the late 20th and early 21st centuries that they are virtually in danger of extinction, the wealthy and the corporatocracy have transferred much of their support to wavering Democrats, in order to keep them in line. Such is the danger of a system that allows money to be so influential in politics that even the bribery of public officials is legal, so long as definitive proof is lacking to the effect that the money given by wealthy individuals and corporations to public officials was meant as a bribe.

That this is the case is evident from the great discrepancies between what the American people want and what their elected representatives give them. It is not just liberals and progressives who were adamantly against our government bailing out Wall Street, who want a strong public option for health care for all Americans, and who want all of the things that I noted above as being desired by progressives. Most Americans want these things. Indeed, even the good majority of Republicans are in favor of a strong public health care option for all Americans. Yet, no one would ever know these things from listening to our corporate owned news media.

The influence of money on persuading our elected representatives to vote against the interests of their constituents is also evident from such research as Nate Silvers statistical analysis of the influence of receiving money from insurance industry PACs on the likelihood of a U.S. Senator supporting the public option. In that analysis, after ideology, the next most predictive factor on how a Senator would vote was the receipt of insurance industry PAC money, as shown in this graph:



The graph shows that the receipt of health insurance industry PAC money greatly influences, in a downward direction, the support of Democratic Senators for the public option especially mainline Democratic Senators. If a mainline Democrat received $60,000 from health insurance PACs over the past six years (compared to receiving no money at all from them), his/her likelihood of supporting the public option was cut approximately in half, from 80% to 40%.


HISTORICAL SUPPORT IN THE UNITED STATES FOR PROGRESSIVE THIRD PARTIES

From listening to our corporate media one would never suspect the extent of support for third parties in our country. But what other interpretation could be given to the fact that public approval of Congress has varied between 12% and 44% in approximately 300 polls taken since late 2005? Indeed, the opinion has been expressed that the traditionally low voter turnout in the United States is largely a manifestation of widespread dissatisfaction with our two major parties:

A majority of voters desire the election of third party and independent alternatives to the representatives of the political status-quo, as is consistently indicated in public opinion polls. However, they and many others are convinced that third party and independent alternatives are not viable candidates for office and do not stand a chance of winning because the two-party system is based on the election of Democrats and Republicans. On Election Day, a majority of voters do not cast ballots, and a Republican or Democrat is elected to office with the support of less than a quarter of registered voters. It may well be the case that depressed voter turnout is simultaneously a crisis of representative government and a condition for the reproduction of the two-party state.

It is a cyclical recurrence in our country that our corporate news media tries to tell us long in advance who the serious presidential candidates are. They invariably come from one of the two major parties, and the most progressive candidates are invariably excluded from the story line that is fed to us. Yet progressive third parties have a long and somewhat successful history in our country:


The rise of the Republican Party

The Republican Party had its roots in the anti-slavery movement. Since the Whig Party fielded its first presidential candidates in 1836, and for the next 20 years, the two major political parties in the United States were the Whig Party and the Democratic Party. During this period of time, perhaps the biggest political issue in our country was slavery. Though the Whig Party was much less pro-slavery during this period than the Democratic Party, essentially both parties were pro-slavery in that most Whig politicians did little or nothing to oppose slavery.

Opposition to slavery spawned the Free Soil Party, which in 1848 nominated for president former Democratic President Martin Van Buren, who managed to obtain 10.1% of the popular vote.

The Free Soil Party fizzled out, but was resurrected as the Republican Party, which was much more anti-slavery than either the Whig or the Democratic Party, but not quite as much so as the Free Soil Party. In 1856 they nominated their first presidential candidate, John Fremont, who campaigned largely on a promise to end slavery in the territories (but not in states that already had slavery) of the United States. Fremont finished a strong second to the Democratic nominee, James Buchanan, who swept the South and enough Midwestern states to win.

Four years later the Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln, who rode anti-slavery sentiment in the North to a landslide electoral victory in a four candidate race, despite the fact that he wasnt even on the ballot in a single southern state and didnt win any border states either. He won every other state except for New Jersey. Lincolns election precipitated the Civil War. He was re-elected in 1964 and assassinated in April 1965, a little more than a month following his second inauguration.

After that, the Republicans went on to win the next four presidential elections and 13 of the next 17, prior to the election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. But by that time the Republican Party bore little resemblance to the progressive anti-slavery Party of Fremont and Lincoln.


The Greenback and Populist Parties

The Greenback Party was founded in 1876, largely as a reaction to the Panic of 1873. Its primary focus was to provide economic help to working people, which it thought could be accomplished by the printing of more paper money. In the mid-term elections of 1878 they elected 14 Congressmen, which was the high-water point for the Party. In 1880, its presidential candidate, James Weaver, won 3.3% of the national vote. But the return of economic prosperity spelled the end of the Greenback Party.

Weaver went on in 1891 to help found the Peoples Party of America, more commonly known as the Populist Party, which supported many of the economic principles of the Greenback Party. The preamble to their declaration of principles should remind us of the situation we face today. Here is an excerpt:

The people are demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling places to prevent universal intimidation and bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right to organize for self-protection, imported pauperized labor beats down their wages, a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down The fruits of the toil of millions are badly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the Republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes tramps and millionaires.

Weaver was nominated for President by the Populist Party in 1892. He won 8.5% of the national vote and five states (NV, CO, KS, ID, and ND). But in 1896 the Populist Party decided to support the Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan, instead of putting up their own candidate, because Bryan supported many of their policies. That was essentially the end of the Populist Party.


The Socialist Party

Ive talked about Socialism in previous posts, quoting Eric Fromm on Pierre-Joseph Proudhon as perhaps the best embodiment of this idea. Fromm says that to Proudhon:

The central problem is the building of a political order which is expressive of society itself. He sees as the prime cause of all disorders and ills of society the single and hierarchical organization of authority His vision of a new social order is based on the idea of reciprocity, where all workers instead of working for an entrepreneur who pays them and keeps the products, work for one another and thus collaborate in the making of a common product whose profits they share amongst themselves.

By the first decades of the 20th Century, the corporate class of the United States was nearly hysterical over the gains that the labor movement had been making. Perhaps that was the primary reason for their hysteria against Socialism.

The predominant leader of the Socialist movement in the United States was Eugene Debs, who was a perennial Socialist candidate for President of the United States (1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920). Such was the corporate animosity against Debs that he was repeatedly imprisoned for speaking out about his beliefs. He once said to the court prior to being sentenced to prison:

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

Debs won 6% of the national vote for President of the United States in 1912 the highest vote percent the he or any other Socialist candidate for President ever won in a US Presidential election. The 1932 election was the last one in which a Socialist candidate for President won more than 1% of the national vote.


The Progressive Movement

The Progressive Movement in the United States was responsible for the creation of a great deal of important reform legislation, including: The 17th Amendment to our Constitution, which required the direct election of US Senators; the secret ballot; child labor laws to protect children against the abuses of corporate power; the 19th Amendment to our Constitution, which gave women the right to vote; anti-trust laws, such as the Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1890 and the Clayton Anti-trust Act of 1914, which limited corporate economic power by requiring fair competition; the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which established the graduated (progressive) income tax; and the Pure Food and Drug Act, which provided consumer protection against unsafe foods and drugs by establishing the Food and Drug administration. Though the movement never won a presidential election, it undoubtedly moved both major parties quite a bit to the left.

Its first candidate for President was former President Theodore Roosevelt, who ran largely because he was very unhappy about the conservative views and policies of his hand-picked successor, William Howard Taft. In the presidential election of 1912, Roosevelt won 27% of the national vote and carried 8 states (WA, CA, NE, MN, MI, PA) in a three-way race against the two major party candidates, finishing in second place. If the Socialist vote was added to Roosevelts total, he would have won more than a third of the national popular vote and 8 additional states.

The next major Progressive Party candidate for President came in 1924, when Robert LaFollette won 17% of the national vote, while carrying his home state of Wisconsin by a large margin.

In 1948 former Vice President Henry Wallace ran for President on the Progressive Party ticket, mainly on a platform of ending the Cold War. Richard J. Walton, in his book, Henry Wallace, Harry Truman and the Cold War, describes the situation that caused Wallace to run against President Truman after trying unsuccessfully to persuade him to tone down his Cold War rhetoric and actions:

Various right wing dictators were quick to perceive that the United States was supporting them not out of a genuine concern for their people but because they were allies in an anti-Communist crusade that took precedence over all other considerations It is difficult to think of a single instance where the United States took effective measures to end repressive, undemocratic practices of a regime it claimed to be supporting in the defense of democracy

But Wallace was unfairly branded as a Communist or fellow traveler, and progressives, fearing a Republican victory in a close election, were scared away from voting for Wallace, who won only 2.4% of the national vote.


The 1992 presidential candidacy of Ross Perot

Ross Perot wasnt exactly a liberal or a progressive. But he did espouse one progressive recommendation, in contrast to his two major opponents (Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush), upon which he built his whole campaign: the defeat of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The main reason why its important to consider Perots run for the presidency in 1992 is that he came a lot closer to winning the 1992 election than most people realize. True, he ended up with only 19% of the vote. But at one point in the campaign he outpolled both Clinton and Bush simultaneously thus proving that the American people were ready for a third party. What did him in was the exposure of his somewhat eccentric personality or at least what people perceived as his eccentric personality. If not for that, he very well could have won.


The Green Party

It is a terrible tragedy that the Green Partys capture of 2.7% of the national vote in the 2000 presidential election resulted in the election of George W. Bush, along with all the catastrophes that followed.

Nevertheless it is probably true that their views and actions are more in accord with the beliefs of most Americans than are those of the two major parties. From the Green Partys 2004 Platform document:

Committed to environmentalism, non-violence, social justice and grassroots organizing, Greens are renewing democracy without the support of corporate donors Whether the issue is universal health care, corporate globalization, alternative energy, election reform or decent, living wages for workers, Greens have the courage and independence necessary to take on the powerful corporate interests

Though the Democratic Party is much more committed to those things than is the Republican Party, it cant compare with the Green Party with respect to most of those things. But in a nation that is largely controlled by corporate interests who are committed to preserving their own right to bribe elected officials to maintain the status quo, as well as to their monopolization of television, radio, and print news, its pretty difficult for an anti-corporate party to get the momentum needed to succeed.


THE GREAT SWITCH OF THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES

We need to keep in mind that parties change over time. Had the DU come into existence during the election of 1860, it would probably have been known as the RU Republican Underground. It certainly wouldnt have supported the party of slavery (the Democratic Party) over the Party that abolished slavery and then went on to pass Constitutional Amendments making slavery illegal and providing voting rights and civil rights to the former slaves.

Indeed, it is amazing to what extent the electoral map of the United States has almost completely reversed itself since the late 19th Century. To evaluate that issue I categorized all 46 US states that existed by 1896 into Democratic or Republican for two time periods, depending on how they voted in presidential elections. The first time period was 1896 (by which time almost all of the western territories had become states) to 1916 (after which no reasonably competitive presidential election was held again until 1944), and the second time period was 1988 to 2008. During those two time periods I looked at how the state voted in the reasonably competitive presidential elections (defined as national popular vote margins of victory for the winning candidate of less than 9% which excluded the elections of 1904 and 1912). I didnt count situations where a state voted for one party but did so by a margin that was less than the national average (For example, I didnt count NC, IN, FL, VA or OH as voting Democratic in 2008, since their vote margin in favor of Obama was so small that in a very close election they probably would have voted the other way). And I categorized a state as voting for one or the other party during that time period only if it voted for that partys presidential candidate at least two more times than it voted for the other partys candidate.

Of the 46 states, there were 7 that did not exhibit a clear party preference during the earlier time period (KS, WY, UT, WA, OH, MD, IN), and 2 additional states that did not exhibit a clear preference during the later time period (WV and NH). That left 39 states remaining to be analyzed most which demonstrated very clear party preferences during both time periods. To sum up the results from those 39 states: The whole Northeast, Midwest (WI, MN, IA, IL, MI), and West Coast (CA, OR) voted Republican during the earlier time period and Democratic during the later time period. The whole South (including all the states that fought for the South during the Civil War, plus the two border states of MO and KY) voted Democratic during the earlier time period and Republican during the later time period. And the rest of the West voted Democratic during the earlier time period (except for ND and SD) and Republican during the later time period (including ND and SD). Therefore, of the 39 states that demonstrated definite party preferences during both time periods, 37 switched parties between the two time periods, while only 2 (ND and SD) remained with the same party.


CONCLUSION ON THE NEED FOR A PROGRESSIVE THIRD PARTY

We know why the South switched parties. They voted solidly Democratic for many decades after Reconstruction because of their hatred for Lincoln and the relative racial equality for which he and the Republican Party of that era stood. But with the passage under a Democratic President of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the South switched to the Republican Party (though some Southern states voted for their native sons, Carter and Clinton, in 1976, 1992, and 1996.)

Why so many other states switched parties over time is less clear. But suffice it to say that the avid anti-slavery Party of Lincoln of the late 19th Century morphed into the Party of Bigotry by the late 20th Century, while the former pro-slavery Party became the Party of the New Deal. Indeed, one of the most hypocritical slogans Ive ever heard is todays Republican Party referring to itself as the Party of Lincoln. Party of Lincoln my ass! If Lincoln was to reappear today, the Republican Party would greet him with almost the same hostility that they currently reserve for President Obama.

There is a debate on DU today that many characterize as a choice between party vs. principal. But I dont see it like that. Few DUers would continue to support the Democratic Party if it became like the rabidly racist Democratic Party of the late 19th Century or the Republican Party of today. If that happened, DU would change its name.

Its a matter of degree. The corporate takeover of todays Democratic Party is far from complete and as a whole, the Democratic Party is still much better and much more progressive than the Republican Party. It is right to be cautious about voting for 3rd party candidates when we risk giving control of our country to the Republican Party by doing so as happened in the 2000 presidential election.

But it is also right to be very concerned about the current direction of the Democratic Party. And by the same token it is right to consider how support for progressive 3rd party candidates could be used to push the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction. That is what the Progressive Party of the early 20th Century did, and consequently we saw a great many progressive ideals passed into law.

The best solution would be to change our campaign finance laws to make bribery of public officials illegal and heavily punished. The Internet holds a great deal of promise for challenging the information monopoly of the corporate media in a way that vastly changes the political landscape of our country in a progressive direction. Another solution would be instant runoff voting, which would totally eliminate the risk of handing victory to the worst candidate when voting for the best and thereby add substantially to the appeal and likelihood of success of third parties.

Our country is hungry starving for a new type of political party a party that is free of corporate control. The history of third parties in our country shows that they can accomplish a great deal and even win a presidential election, as one did in 1860 and came within striking distance in 1912 and 1992. In 1860, the ultimate result was the abolition of slavery in the United States and the granting of rights to the former slaves that few would have deemed possible prior to 1860. It could happen again, any time. But corporate reaction against it will be intense, and it is likely to be a long, uphill struggle.
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FatDave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. We have to put up with conservative democrats only until the republican party is insignificant.
When the republicans are getting support in the low single digits, then we can split the democratic party into liberal and conservative parties.

BUT... We'd better damn well make sure we're driving the republicans into insignificance.
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 08:37 PM
Response to Original message
2. You lost me in the second paragraph.
"Indeed, the most recent example resulted in a monumental catastrophe, when Ralph Naders presidential candidacy of 2000 siphoned off enough votes from Al Gore in New Hampshire and Florida to hand the election to George W. Bush (The fact that Florida was rightfully won by Gore is irrelevant to that statement If Nader hadnt been on the ballot in Florida the election would probably not have been close enough for Bush to steal)."

That simply is not true.

You worked really hard on this post, and for that you deserve credit for the lessons in history, but your assertion that Ralph Nader is responsible for Al Gore's loss in 2000 is nave.

You left out the parts about Katherine Harris, the Brooks Brothers riot, the United States Supreme Court decision, and Gore's decision to name Joe Lieberman as his VP candidate.

Sorry, I'm not buying what you are selling here. Blaming Ralph Nader for our current situation is simplistic and wrong. It goes much deeper than that.

Double plus, your solution is to start a third party. Isn't that what Nader attempted to do in the first place? And Eugene Debs?

Your post is self-contradictory.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I've never blamed him
I have a great deal of respect for him, for how he has fought for ordinary Americans for most of his life. But I believe he made a bad decision to run for president in 2000.

I acknowledged in this OP that Bush did not win the 2000 election legitimately, and I included a link in which I go into detail on the many mechanisms by which the 2000 election was stolen. But many events have multiple causes. Take away the cheating, and Gore wins. But even with the cheating, if you take Nader out of the race, Gore would have won. Nader won more than 97 thousand votes in Florida. Gore lost Florida by 537 votes. Why is it naive to believe that if 97 thousand voters didn't have Nader to vote for that enough of those 97 thousand voters would have voted for Gore to make up for the 537 vote deficit? Polls consistently showed that without Nader on the ballot Gore did better.

I don't think that what I'm saying is contradictory. A person can acknowledge that some things pose certain dangers without thinking that they can't be very useful too. I said in the last section of my post:

"It is right to be cautious about voting for 3rd party candidates when we risk giving control of our country to the Republican Party by doing so as happened in the 2000 presidential election.
But it is also right to be very concerned about the current direction of the Democratic Party. And by the same token it is right to consider how support for progressive 3rd party candidates could be used to push the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction."

It is not contradictory to be in favor of something, while at the same time acknowledging that it poses certain risks.
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. I appreciate your constructive response.
I spent a lot of time here defending both Ralph Nader and Al Gore after the 2000 selection.

Nader's role in the 2000 election did not determine the outcome. There were many other minor parties on that ballot, so blaming Nader for such a small margin of victory is not a fair reading of what happened.

The Supreme Court of the United States decided the election.

Bush won 5-4.

Voters didn't get to decide.

We live in a really fucked up world sometimes.
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dflprincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
4. Do not forget the Minnesota Farmer Labor party of the 1920s and 30s
Remeber how Wellstone used to say he was a member of the Democratic wing of the Democratic party? I always thought he was really a member of the Farmer Labor wing of the DFL.

As an old Farmer Laborite once said "The biggest mistake the Farmer Laborites made was letting the Democrats in." That gets more true as time goes by.
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unkachuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. K&R....great read, great job.....
"...a party that is free of corporate control."

....the finest political gift our generation could leave posterity; all else pales in comparison....
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. The U.S. political system cannot support third parties - because of the structure
We have two things that both tend towards two-party systems: (1) single-member legislative districts elected by first-past-the-post (plurality wins), and (2) a presidential system.

There's a lot of literature underlying the theory that single-member, FPTP districts lead to broadly two-party systems. The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and most countries that use FPTP have basically two-party systems. The United States is similar in that regard. Basically, because it only takes a plurality to win a seat, there is a broad incentive for political groups to amalgate into the widest possible bloc to prevent their ideological opponents from getting elected.

Secondly, we have a presidential system, and presidential systems also tend to encourage moves towards two parties or two blocs.

Now, there are many presidential systems in Latin America that support multiparty politics - but that's also because they typically don't use FPTP in legislative elections.

Likewise, while the UK, Canada and Australia (actually Australia uses instant-runoff voting, but the end result is similar) all have broadly two-party systems in that only two major parties typically win enough votes to form the government. The key difference is that because they're parliamentary, they allow SOME space for third parties. So all of those countries have some strong third parties or regional parties, though they rarely get enough votes to actually exercise a balance of power.

The one major exception to FPTP systems having a two-party system is India. However, Indian politics are largely two-party systems at the level of Indian states. And broadly speaking, there are two broad coalitions of left and right. The other feature of Indian politics is that, aside from secularism, it really isn't ideological but factional and communal. People vote based on community, not ideology.

My sense is that if the U.S. kept a presidential system but had some form of proportional representation in the House and Senate, the U.S. would still remain a broadly two-party system, but you'd have a Green Party of left-of-the-Democrats bloc in Congress, a right-of-the-Republicans bloc or a Libertarian bloc, and maybe some idiosyncratic centrists in the middle.

I think if the U.S. used FPTP but had a parliamentary system like UK or Canada, we'd probably be a three-party system (with a generally two-party system at the state level) - a progressive party, a centrist-conservative party, and a right-wing populist party. In the South and Plains West, contests would be between the centrist-conservatives and the right-wing populists, and in blue states, it would be a contest between the centrist-conservative party and the progressives. It is likely that the right-wing populists and the progressives would be the largest parties in Congress and at the national level, with the centrist party mainly showing strength in state and local elections and less so at the national level (similar to the Liberal Democrats in the UK).
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 11:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
15. Yes, FTTP is a serious barrier to the development of a strong 3rd party
That's why I noted instant runnoff voting as a solution in the last section of my OP.

But FTPT is not an absolute barrier. Lincoln showed that in 1860. TR showed that with his very strong showing in 1912. And Perot showed that early in the 1992 election season when he outpolled both major party candidates.

It would be great to get rid of FTPT. But I don't hear much talk about that.

Our corporate news media is another major barrier. They do everything they can to marginalize progressive third parties. Maybe as the Internet continues to grow as a source of information in our society, the ability of the corporate media to obstruct the growth of third parties (and so much else) will become much less.
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 09:47 PM
Response to Original message
7. Third party? Hell, it'd be nice if we had TWO
There's only the Central Leadership Corporation, and its corporate representatives run as either Ds or Rs.

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Amen!
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AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 09:52 PM
Response to Original message
8. About Nader helping Bush the same can be said about Ross Perot helping Clinton n/t
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waiting for hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
9. Well done Time for change - K&R
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
10. Extremely well done. Good job.
:kick:
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Kaleva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
11. My take on the impact of the Green Party & Nader in 2000
Gore lost his home state of Tennessee. Clinton won that state in both '92 and '96. I think McGovern is the only other presidential candidate in recent times who managed to lose his homestate.

In West Virginia where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by about a 2-1 margin and where Nader was a non-factor, Gore lost. Clinton won there in '92 and '96. Dukakis won it in '88. Carter won the state in '76 and '80. Humphrey won there in '68. Prior to 2000, the only Democrats to lose West Virginia in my father's lifetime are Mondale in '84, McGovern in '72 and Stevenson in the '56 election. Those elections were landslide victories for Republicans.

97,421 Democrats, Republicans and Independents of Florida voted for Nader in 2000. It is estimated that about 250,000 Democrats voted for Bush in Florida that year.

I think it can be argued that Gore ended up losing in 2000 because he was deemed as being too liberal. Not that he wan'st progressive enough to prevent Nader from taking votes from him.
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Kaleva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. But I'd like to add that the OP was a very good read! Well Done!
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 12:59 AM
Response to Original message
16. I'm posting a K&R here,
partially so that I can find this thread again later on. There's much here that calls for serious study.

pnorman
PS: K&R!
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maddezmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 03:01 AM
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17. locking
It's a great history but can also be seen as 3rd party advocacy.
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