Start a New Political Party?
America is ripe for a new, mainstream, political party. There is a market niche begging to be filled by a new party. If neither the Libertarian nor the Green Parties seize this opportunity, then it is time to launch a new party from scratch.
Disbelieve? Think new parties are always doomed in the U.S? You have lots of data supporting this position. Most third parties fail under the U.S. system. I have been there as witness to many such failures; years of hard experience with such failures have taught me why. And knowing why previous efforts have failed, I think I have found a recipe for success.
A new party in the U.S. is subject to two constraints. Ignore either and failure is virtually guaranteed.
- Radical parties don’t work. The U.S. has district-based elections, with winner-take-all. You have to actually win elections in order to get in the legislatures. Achieving 5-10% at large wins nothing here. (It does in many parliamentary systems. This is why green and libertarian parties have done better elsewhere.)
- A third party must have a core support base that is equally distant from the Republican and Democratic positions. Otherwise, it is always subject to the lesser of two evils dilemma. Green Party activists wonder if they should return to the Democratic Party, while Constitution Party activists wonder about returning to the Republican Party. The Libertarian Party has survived as long as it has because it does try to pull from both of the legacy parties, though it probably pulls more from the Republican base.
Now, have another look at this chart from the front page of this site:
Notice the gaping hole in the upper-left quadrant. This hole extends almost to the center, the status quo. A political party which fills this hole could be close enough to the center to be viable, while at the same time its political center would be equidistant from the two legacy parties. The core activist group would have little incentive to bolt and join either the Republican or Democratic parties. Such a party could grow large.
In fact, such a party has the potential to grow even larger than one of the existing major parties, given time. The center of the graph is not the political center, but the status quo of where the laws are. Since the parties in power are pulling this country down and to the right, there is a good possibility that the true political center is in the upper left quadrant. This would explain why a great many people don’t bother to vote.
A Business Plan for a New Party
Getting a new political party off the ground and making it successful is a major undertaking. However, I think it is possible, and I can call my thoughts to be educated, as I was a member of a third party for a quarter century, and for the latter years of this period was very active and performed many experiments. From the lessons learned over those years, I have put together a Business Plan for a New Party. It is written such that it could be used either to launch a new party or reform one of the existing third parties. I suspect the former is more likely.
Admittedly, it is rather pretentious of me to think in terms of setting up a new political party. 'Tis a rather large undertaking, and no political party since the Republican Party has gone from third party to major party status. However, I have some good reasons for pretention:
- I had been a member of a third party for a quarter of a century, as passive member, activist, and leader. I have much relevant experience.
- I have identified two potential loopholes in the dynamics of the American political system that lead to there only being two parties.
- As a founder of the Libertarian Reform Caucus, I have gained significant experience in launching a political faction from scratch.
- The ideas on this site have proven popular in the field when explained—a feature not shared by the messages of either the Green or Libertarian parties.
- The ideas on this site are substantially different from those of any major party, something that cannot be said for the Constitution Party.
I have posted the plan on another of my web sites, and will eventually set up a forum for discussion of said plan. Click here to read my Business Plan for a New Party.