Fifty-eight percent of Americans, and 62% of Tea Party supporters, favor third party (VLaszlo)

"The desire for a third party is fairly similar across ideological groups, with 61% of liberals, 60% of moderates, and 54% of conservatives believing a third major party is needed. That is a narrower gap than Gallup has found in the past; conservatives have typically been far less likely than liberals and moderates to support the creation of a third party."
"Election results in recent years and polls from this year indicate Americans are frustrated with the job the two major parties have been doing. In 2006, voters elected a Democratic majority in Congress to replace the Republican majority, and in 2008 they elected a Democratic president to replace an outgoing Republican president. Polling on voters' 2010 voting intentions  suggests that they may be poised to replace the Democratic majority in Congress with a Republican majority. But that seems to be as much because voters are rejecting Democrats as embracing Republicans.

Given the lack of alternatives, it perhaps is no surprise that Americans' desires for a third party are as high as they've been in at least the last seven years."

They support creating it
but will they vote for it?

an interesting question
Regardless of how it's answered, this poll result puts the lie to a common smear of tea baggers found on lefty sites. Namely, that the tea party is just an astroturf group, it's members mindless Republican bots. Yeah, right! Republican bots, many of whom would love to dump the Republican party!

I had started writing a longish piece on refuting a lot of the smears that lefties had swallowed, but which were refutable, mostly using the NYT/CBS poll that many of them had referenced. I never finished it, but I had included referencing their affinity to a new 3rd party.

In fact, I found that to be the most amazing result of the poll.

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[ Parent ]
How does this help us, Meta?
That they're protesting from the right isn't helpful as ong as they don't start their own third party. And there's hardly any common ground with them, they see the same problems, maybe, but want different solutions for them. So, what's the point in being nicer to teabaggers???

[ Parent ]
And do they understand the structural changes
to our electoral system required to make it viable?  Almost every apolitical person that I've explained STV to hates STV.  Runoff elections would be an easier sell, but would also make things more uphill for a third party, as it would just eliminate the 'wasted vote' effect and nothing else.  

[ Parent ]
yeah I understand this
this is why I would like a second constitutional convention.  However even without one I still support the greens as a spoiler of neoliberal democrats.  Fewer of them would help in the long run.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
A second constitutional convention
would likely mean no more first amendment, and a greatly weakened set of search and seizure protections, just to warn you.  And SMD is set up by the states not the fed government, anyway.  CA could adopt PR tomorrow if it wanted to.  

[ Parent ]
I don't believe that
I think there would be much rioting if the fist amendment or search and seizures was done away with on both the left and the right.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
The right despises the establishment clause
and there is lukewarm support for it amongst the public.  The courts have been eroding search and seizure rights periodically over the years with little public outroar.  I'm very skeptical that a second constitution would preserve key provisions of the bill of rights.  

[ Parent ]
they demagogue over the no establishment clause
for support and money from their members but 90% of the country is not southern baptist!  The biggest plurality faith is RC, but the majority of the country is mainstream protestant or irreligious.  That ends it.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
How many actually care passionately about a constitutional
level legal protection?  That's the real question.  

[ Parent ]
Much rioting and they would still have their way...
Anytime someone wants to open the constitution, I remind myself of how much worse this crowd would make it.   Nobody who knows what a bunch of crooks and liars they are could possibly believe the system will work for the better.   If it could, it would have done so by now.  

[ Parent ]
Yeah, sure...
That's why the tea party sues and harasses anyone who tries to run as an independent on the Tea Party line.  The teabaggers have it right.  They don't play spoiler like so many on the left want to do.  They take over the dominant party from within instead of handing votes to their enemies.

As for the rest of the party, I doubt their vision of a third party would be very appealing to the left.  Most of these people long for something like Ross Perot's reform party with goals that are very dissimilar to what progressives want.  The idea that a "green party" would ever grow bigger than folks' self described ideology (liberals tend to hover at around 20% of the population in most polling) is pure fantasy.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

If we could have coalitions
A Green/Working Families/Social Liberal/Blue Dog coalition would have to be formed in order for it to work

I figure the breakdown of the Democratic Party on those lines is something like 15%-20%-10%-15% respectively.

So that still doesn't escape us from having to deal with Blue Dogs, because that 15% will decide whether we or the radical right gets to form a government.

[ Parent ]
Sure, but you will have a stronger position in the negotiations!
In such coalition negotiations after the election, a legislative roadmap is created which includes areas where the goials of one party make it into laws, and other areas where a compromise is created giving weight to differing opinions. And all involved parties get a share of the important posts in the administration (which becomes problematic if there are too many parties, like in Israel). This results in a much stronger standing of the smaller parties, who can ensure that they'll have at least some successes to show for their voters (if this wouldn't be so, there would be no incentive for them at all to participate in the governing coalition). So, in a multi party system the way the right wing Dems run roughshod over the progressives, almost every single time (really, what have we got beside Warren?) is impossible. Of course, there's also the danger that the right wing Dems can form a coalition with the moderate rethugs. But at least voters have a better choice, and can much better influence which political direction the nation shall take.  

[ Parent ]
you're right
that's why I support the idea, but there's still going to be the same jockeying for power and threats of Blue Dogs bringing down the government will Republicans.

And God forbid progressives win no seats at all.  

[ Parent ]
And you run the risk of the Blue Dogs
cutting us completely out by forming a center/center colaition, or joining with the Republicans explicitly.  The only thing that keeps them even approaching being in line now is nominal party loyalty.  

[ Parent ]
what do you mean by "THE tea party sues and harrasses anyone..."?
Unlike MoveOn, e.g., I don't think the tea parties have a hierarchical governance structure. I think they are more like the Progressive Democrats of America, wherein individual chapters can do their own thing.

I think what you mean to say is that a tea party group (I assume connected to Armey or the Koch brothers) has sued and harassed, on behalf of Republicans.* Nobody should doubt that Republican operatives would just love to coopt every last Tea Party group, and every last Tea Party member, in the country. Nobody should doubt that they will, in fact, attempt to do exactly that, and keep trying to do that, as long as there are tea parties.

However, whether or not they are as successful at creating a "veal pen" for Tea Party dissident, as the Obama White House has been in "veal penning" lefty and enviromental groups, remains to be seen.

Please supply details, so we can evaluate your claim. I frankly don't know much about the governance of tea party groups**, but I find the lack of details about their governance, by lefties who nevertheless feel justified in dismissing them as "astroturf", to be a rather significant omission. I'm predisposed to view such omissions to be significant, having found other claims by lefties, such as that of the Tea Partiers being "upper middle class", to be sheer nonsense. I'm not inclined to accept anything that Rush Limbaugh says about liberals, for similar reasons. His track record is not very good, to put it mildly.

I think the key thing to try an figure out is whether or not tea partiers will generally throw Republicans under the bus, or not. liberalmaverick asks the very good question, above, of whether they will vote for a third party.

However, a less radical strategy which would still refute the Republican bot charge is that, if they can't find a sufficiently Tea Party'ish candidate (whatever that might mean) running in a particular contest, then they simply won't vote in that contest.

Even if the answer is "no", you'd still have to do further research to determine if that's because they are merely holding their noses, while they work from within the Republican Party to remake it in their image(s), or whether, e.g., they really believe that Republicanism is the next coolest thing since sliced bread. The coolest, since slice bread, being a pure, official 3rd party, Tea Party.

This may be a meaningless question, to people whose only concern is whether they will vote for or against Democrats, but other people are more interested in details, finding simplistic generalizations of dubious veracity not to be very appealing.

* You know, kind of like you can't say that Democratic operatives who sued Nader left and right, represent the will of Democratic voters, as a whole.

** I've been meaning to call local Tea Party groups to ask them about their governance, but it's about #230 on my To-Do list.

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[ Parent ]
The have the money and the media to take over a party
we don't, so spoiler is the way as it doesn't require many people.  Furthermore it is well know to those of us who followed a long time that the religious right sat out on several moderate republicans historically, the most famous being George Bush Senior.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
Hell I support the idea of third parties
but it has to be on both sides to work and we need to reform the election system nationwide and perhaps even change our government structure for it to work.

The problem is, even multiple parties will come down to just two. In order to govern, a 50+1 coalition has to be formed, meaning even if a, say, progressive party wins 30% of the vote, it still needs another 20%+1 from a not-so progressive party to govern, and we're back to square one anyway.

unless you think a real progressive party will win 50%+1, at which point we'd be back to two parties anyway.

No, that's not the problem!
Of course, my judgment is biased, because I live in a parliamentary democracy with a multi party system, but even US citizen should be able to see it isn't true that "multiple parties will come down to just two". Those coalitions will CHANGE from time to time! And different parties forming a coalition is a much more transparent process. The coalition negotiations will actually determine which points of the involved parties will make it into the bills, and on which issues there will be compromises. This is done at the start of the legislation period, and will be the roadmap. So, the citizens see that their vote make an impact, are enabled to make an educated judgment if their points of view received a fair consideration, and can check if the contract has been kept by the other sides.

That's MUCH better than the muddling through in a two party system, where the different positions aren't that clear from the very start, where the compromise process isn't that transparent at all, and where the majority wing of a party runs roughshot over the minority time and again! So, sry, DTO, but it's NOT the same. The multi party systems have very clear advantages, because they increase transparency, diversity, and accountablity! And probably this results in more satisfaction with the political system, too.

[ Parent ]
Are different parties forming a coalition transparent?
Coalition forming always seems to be done in backrooms, with a bunch of logrolling and dealmaking done in order to cajole minor parties into coalitions.  Look at what happened in the UK--everything came down to what Nick Clegg throught.  

[ Parent ]
I don't think that blue dogs have a voting base as big as
you believe it is.  Self Identification means nothing in comparison to a person views on individual issues.  Also third parties can become second parties which is what I think needs to be done, and is the only thing that can realistically be done.  I just think we should pick existing third parties.  My choice is the Green Party. I also don't think third parties must win to justify their existence.  We also get a more progressive environment by spoiling and targeting neoliberal democrats, so that it isn't worth it to run them anymore.  Then democrats become more progressive and we leave those progressive dems alone.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
I still think the most viable way forward is to take over the Democratic Party
Minor parties can become second parties, but that usually requires a collapse of one or both of the existing major parties, which may be somewhat out of our control.

Plus, it's not like the Democratic Party is completely alien to what we want.  It was very much a liberal, even borderline social democratic party before the 1980s.  It's a logical home for liberals and progressives - we just need to kick the bums and freeloaders out.

I do like having minor parties around though, cuz they serve as useful outlets for liberal dissatisfaction with Democrats.

[ Parent ]
Not necessarily true
At least not in a Presidential system like ours--you don't need the same majority on every issue.  You'd still have an independently elected Presidency, and then different Congressional coalitions could form on different issues.  

[ Parent ]
"but it has to be on both sides to work"
this is what OFA-types really believe

[ Parent ]
My socialist buddies resent the term "third party". They say we need a
first party - a labor party and let the 2 "legacy" parties compete for 2nd & 3rd places. I strongly agree.

Understandable, but this falls way short of the problem.
Those folks should suport a total overhaul of the US democratic system first! What's the point of having a third party in a two party system, really?

Btw, what the eff did the founding fathers THINK....
...when they created a system that tolerates only two parties, reducing the choice for the voters in this extreme way? For the 18th century, when political problems became much more openly discussed in society, this is a strange example of black and white thinking....

[ Parent ]
They were trying to create a system
that tolerated no parties.  That didn't work, as parties started to form almost immediately, but they can't be blamed them for intending a two party system.  

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Well, what in the US system is actually so different from the UK... prohibit the formation of parties? Especially, why did Congress then give people the right to assemble, without exceptions for parties? And is there evidence of the intention somewhere, in old discussion papers or correspondence?

Sorry for pestering you with questions, David, but this is an interesting topic for me!

[ Parent ]
No worries, I'm glad to answer
The idea wasn't to prohibit parties, but rather to set up things that would make them difficult to form.  One element was the separation of powers - the president, Senate and House all had different methods of selection, different terms and represented different constituencies, which would (they thought) make coordination difficult.  The most important thing was size - they believed that the US was so large (even then) that it would be impossible to form. Back then, lacking phones, computers, etc., they couldn't envision how you could coordinate over such large distance. They also figured that there would be too many different interests over such a large area to allow parties to form - people wouldn't have enough in common to come together that way.  As Madison said, (they often used the word "faction"), you couldn't prevent parties unless everyone had the same opinions (which would be disastrous in a representative government) or you destroyed the liberty that allowed them to form, which was a cure "worse than the disease."

As for the evidence, it's a major theme in the Federalist Papers, as well as most other writing from the time. A great source on how parties figured into republican political thought is The Idea of a Party System by Richard Hofstadter. I'm not a fan of some of his other work, but I highly recommend this one.

This failed pretty quickly, as men who had talked (and continued to talk) about the evils of parties formed them, justifying them on extraordinary circumstances. Washington's allies believed Jefferson and his supporters were a threat to the Constitution (because they were Jacobins, that time's political equivalent of commies) while Jefferson believed Hamilton and other members of the Washington Admin and their allies were a threat to the Constitution because they were monarchists.  When the election of 1800 almost deadlocked, they added the 12th Amendment to the Constitution which took a party system for granted.

This is one reason why the talk of the "Framers' design" to describe today's Constitution are off their rocker. In some ways, the system they designed failed in fundamental ways right out of the gate.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Thx, David, this was VERY informative!
Food for thought, and very helpful in getting a better understanding of the constitution-. Great!

[ Parent ]
You really should at least read Federalist #10
Teabaggers get stupid with the Federalist papers, but they really are an amazing resource as to what the founders of the US were thinking when they wrote the Constitution.  

[ Parent ]
Michael Parenti discusses what when on in the Constitutional convention
as per the extensive documentation kept by James Madison. (Which wasn't published until after his death.) Parenti's a very interesting guy, and his discussion on this subject was no exception. (Recorded talks by him, many free, are here.)

If I recall correctly, Parenti said that most of the founding fathers weren't keen on having any representation by common folks, but Benjamin Franklin and George Mason objected, as the little people had fought, bled, and died in the Revolutionary War.

Their arguments were persuasive beyond their numbers, but even so, Mason refused to sign the Constitution, believing it inadequate.

Hearing Parenti talk about Madison's book Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 reported by James Madison inspired me to buy it, but I must say that I've read very little of it, and I've found it, so far, dry as dust. Listening to Parenti is much more fun.

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[ Parent ]
they can be blamed for f"£king it up :)

[ Parent ]
They wanted no parties
they didn't know it would lead to this  

[ Parent ]
The only model that existed back then was British SMD
And the UK has traditionally had a two party system, too.  

[ Parent ]
chicken egg....
need to elect people willing to change the system before the system will change.  The status quo crowd is perfectly happy with the way things are.   Bill Maher said it best when he posed the questions, "why does Obama do everythig half-assed?"   Why is Obama half-assed?    He should have gone for broke before they all got organized.  If he had, they would all be where they belong - on the fringe.  It is hard to comprehend how this is "leadership or leaders" American style.   They're just plain crazy and stupid.  How did they get to lead?    

[ Parent ]
We all need to vent from time to time...
...and I can connect to the anger that drives your rant, dk. But, come on, seriously now, what do you advocate for CHANGING the thoroughly unsatisfying situation? I somewhat fail to see how a third party that will only divide up the vote will result in anything else than enabling the opposing political side to win election with less than a majority of the vote. But maybe I should look up the few historical instances in US history where a politcal party died and was replaced by a new one. Not that this made that much difference in the long run imho, but still...

[ Parent ]
here is how it would work
structural changes to the economy are driving overall politics towards more populist policies (i.e. relatively high unemployment, likely long-term decline of u.s. in global power, need for working class and middle class people to have enough money to purchase things to run a global consumer capitalist economy, collapse of populist rightwing-business class alliance)

In that vein, all parties will need to respond to the overall trend if they want to stay in power.  In political terms, this largely leaves two main winners in terms of gaining power - the rightwing populists in the Republican Party and the leftwing populists in the Democratic party.  This is why the evidence from moderates like Jon Stewart shows that the Democratic leadership is  insane and are f"£king things up.  That makes sense because they've been 'following' the Republicans and their rightwing social movement for 30 years rather than leading by being driven through a leftwing social movement.

As a result, a third party on the left would be instrumental in ensuring that either the Democratic leadership learns to adopt a more populist message or is replaced or, failing all else, the whole party is replaced as a major party by the new third party on the left.  

It could also work by drawing in people who would be prone to listening to rightwing populist arguments, pushing the Democratic party to become the pro-business party and thereby eliminating the republican party, etc. etc. etc.  Either way, it's just a support / alternative to the same goal of ensuring that there's at least one major party that's left-progressive-populist.  

And, entirely separately, if one is interested, one can propose structural reforms like IRV or shortening Supreme Court Justices terms or changing the composition fo the Senate or a Constitutional convention that would be worth at least discussing and would be FAR more likely to come from a party that was formed outside the system of 1980-2008 rather than from one within it.

[ Parent ]
You dont explain how the Nader effect would help... winning any elections, doc. Sry, but I stay with my view that in a two party system, a third party only results in the other side winning every single elections. No amount of lipstick on that pig will make it win the Miss America pageant. And that's the inconvenient truth.  

[ Parent ]
well if you read it, i do
As a result, a third party on the left would be instrumental in ensuring that either the Democratic leadership learns to adopt a more populist message or is replaced or, failing all else, the whole party is replaced as a major party by the new third party on the left.  

It could also work by drawing in people who would be prone to listening to rightwing populist arguments, pushing the Democratic party to become the pro-business party and thereby eliminating the republican party, etc. etc. etc.  Either way, it's just a support / alternative to the same goal of ensuring that there's at least one major party that's left-progressive-populist.  

This means that some elections would be lost by Democrats (like now) and some elections would be won by Democrats (like now).  But overall, all elections would be changed by changing the narrative in them, including when the progressive third party loses (which it won't, always).

What I'm suggesting is not a third party system - that would require the kinds of reform in the last paragraph.  What I'm suggesting is replacing one of the two major parties or fundamentally transforming the political dynamic so BOTH are more responsive to society.  It's not incompatible with 'more and better' democrats - just one step further.

[ Parent ]
Imho, the two party system is too deeply enbedded in the US.
Just think of the wideranging consequences once you try to give third and fourth parties a fair chance in the system, while still wanting to uphold that the majority of voters rule! The direct election of candidates at all levels will become much more arbitrary, because the division of votes favors the candidates of the strongest party, even if it represents only a minority. To ensure that the other votes are presented, too, you need a two tier system that allocated parliament seats according to the share of the popular vote. Such a wideranging reform would be very difficult to push through in the US, incumbents simply aren't that interested in having to face "losing" candidates of the other party in congress again, and to share power with them.

As I see it, what's possible now, and may lead to more democratic reforms in the future, is a workaround where caucusses in the main parties form and demand a bigger share of power. We see the first developments in this direction in the PCCC and the black caucus. Those blocks with the party should get stronger, and more determined in playing an active role. They should seek negotiations with the party leadership, and demand a roadmap. Like the (in)famous "contr5act with America", they should push for a "contract with the Democratic party", but one which isn't a publicity stunt, and instead puts up clear cut rules about the extent of cooperation with the centrists.

However, this requires stubborn determination to withdraw support in the cases where the boundaries are crossed, of course. Like not voting for legislation that is too much too the right. Even if it's an effing healthcare reform. Appeasenicks won't accomplish anything, you have to stick to your guns to make an impact!  

we don't have proportional representation
and we elect our executive separately from the legislature instead of having a prime minister. Fix that and you can have an effective national third party. Short of that, third parties will continue to come to grief they way they've done since Teddy Roosevelt's day.

Duverger's law. How is it that the presumably enlightened advocates of a third party in America have not heard of this basic tenet of political science, which one can find in any college textbook on the subject?

Has anyone noticed that the right has figured out a way around this? Instead of trying to build a third party after Goldwater's landslide defeat in 1964, they took over the GOP at the grassroots level. Then they worked to push it further and further to the right.

Why bother to be a third party, when you can be the party-within-the-party?

This leaves me puzzled, too.
They all act if simply starting a new third party is good enough. Afaics, no serious discussion on all the problems attached to this, not to speak of an acknoledgement that this needs a systemic change to bear real fruit. Weird.

And I totally support your point that "party-within-the-party" is the much more realistic way to build up poltical power, which then can be used to change the system. We have to strengthen the PCCC, so they act like a party within a coalition, with negotiations, a contract about the legislative roadmap, and a share of the power!

[ Parent ]
Maybe this is no surprise
If you look at the General Social Survey, as Paul Rosenberg has presented their data in the past, a solid majority of Americans support government involvement in helping the economy grow and taking care of people. Yet we have the most conservative government whether we elect Democrats or Republicans. My guess is that disconnect drives this polling result.

The economic elites have a choke hold on our political system. You can't be elected President or dog catcher without supporting their programs. They have a mostly unreflective media to push their positions as gospel.

The Tea Partiers are pushing solutions that have failed historically (e.g. solving racism by respecting property rights of businesses to, among other things, discriminate) while dodging the economic elites (e.g. the Koch brothers) trying to harness their nuttiness to re-elect the elites.

On the Democratic side, the revolt appears more diffused. Yes, we're electing more and more progressives. And some, like Alan Grayson, show a real gift for lancing the boil on Republican policies and memes (e.g. Grayson's summary of the Republican health plan). But we were duped by Obama into electing him only to discover that, Obama, too, is a tool of the economic elites. Worse, he's pursued the Bush/Cheney national security policy, short of direct torture (I understand we still send people to countries that torture, however). While many of us voted for Obama with the full awareness of his voting history (e.g. voting to authorize warrantless spying without the bother of a Congressional investigation/accounting or letting the courts work on the problem), Obama's own words suggested he'd push or accept progressive policy solutions like the public option.

My personal bias is to have progressives take over the Democratic party instead of the headaches involved in creating a third party. How you take over the Democratic party, that's the problem to solve. And can you do it before the economic elites destroy everything?

Well we have a model for how to take over parties
The Republicans, 1964-1980.

[ Parent ]
monopolizing on the media
and having lots of rich people that like us!

My blog  

[ Parent ]
The media will come to us if we give them something to talk about
They can't afford not to.

But yeah, rich people will be a problem.  Hopefully we can pass public financing of elections...

[ Parent ]
Direct mail
aggressive, focused primary races against candidates hostile to our agenda.  There was more to it than just flooding the field with money.  

[ Parent ]
And the internet can be way more effective than
direct mail ever was.  It's already beginning to do the trick.  

[ Parent ]
This is getting old
There are two things to keep in mind:

a) Three-party (or more) system and Three-parties for a short time are not the same thing.  The second has occurred repeatedly in American history and occurs whenever a two-party system breaks down.  This might be happening now and everyone who continually insists that a third-party is a waste of time ought to really think hard about what the reasons are they think so, in light of this historical fact.

b) As far as I can tell, people who support third parties are dissatisfied with both major parties (regardless of who they are).  However, that doesn't mean they support third parties for the SAME reason you do so.  You can say the tea party is populist, but so are right wing xenophobes all over the place.  So, as with two major parties, I would look at third parties and decide who to support based on their politics.  I would assume the liberal/social democratic left would support a different agenda and hence political party than many tea party demonstrators and possibly supporters.  Just as they may have when Ross Perot was running and created a short-lived third party (though in hindsight, I am believing that was a huge mistake).

I would argue that the people
arguing that you can create a broad, national third party are not being realistic.  Historically, when third parties have shown up for a short time, they were regional affairs--the states rights democrats, the populists, and the republicans.  

If your'e saying 'fuck you democrats, I'm starting a third party', you should be aggressively starting in Vermont, and expanding from there. Green party building in Idaho is a waste of resources.  

[ Parent ]
sure but that doesn't matter
if you're correct, and people are mistaken, they'll still end up doing something useful.  so it makes more sense to try, given the potential upside or doing so and not tell them they're stupid, which is what happens all the time.  not saying from you - but more generally.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough
A lot of the third party talk does very much reek of 'I'm taking my ball and going home' without much thought to how these things have worked in the past or how they will work today.  A third party Presidential challenge to Obama that isn't already a billionaire is probably just pure folly that will suck a ton of institutional campaign money.  

Nader may have been able to get a Senate seat in 2000 with everything that went into his Presidential run, for example.  And that's a platform for future party building.  

[ Parent ]
It doesn't have to be either/or
I'm sure there were plenty of Greens running for Senate in 2000.  Would they have been a better use of resources than Ralph Nader's campaign?  Probably, but it doesn't mean the Greens or whoever shouldn't run a presidential candidate too, even if they don't focus their efforts on them.  It's nice for liberals to have alternatives to Democrats, even if they are token.

[ Parent ]
A third party presidential challenge to obama could launch an issue debate rather than crap from the tea party vs. obama
it would redefine obama as the center in the mainstream narrative, if a third party candidate got enough traction.  And it would do it more swiftly and effectively than a democratic primary challenge.

Not that the latter would be a bad idea, but the whole point is to help drive the message and the policy ideas and the spectrum of policy ideas in a better direction - with whatever tool you use.

I mean, I know what you mean about the 'take my ball and go home' sentiment and I share it sometimes - and I don't always or even mostly think it's negative.  There's a systemic problem and figuring out where you are most useful, rather than assuming it's in the electoral sphere where only certain people and certain ideas will be considered, is difficult.  Especially when there is also, among the major parties, a 'take your ball and go home' sentiment voiced by Gibbs et al :)

[ Parent ]

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