Americans Want a 3rd Party. What They Don’t Want Is a 3rd Presidential Candidate.
Poll after poll shows nearly 40% of Americans think a third political party is needed to fix the political system and another 47% think it needs improvements (NBC/WSJ).
What they also agree on is that there is little support for a Ross Perot, Ralph Nader or Starbucks Howard Schultz running for president.
Bingo! A 3rd party, a party platform, but no chief cook and bottle washer
Exactly my position as well. So, if we were to have such a middle-ground third party, what might the disenchanted 40% respond to as a platform to run upon? An overwhelming majority of independents (81%) continue to “lean” toward either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. Among the public overall, 17% are Democratic-leaning independents, while 13% lean toward the Republican Party (Pew Research).
Those are the voters we’re after. Only 7% of the overall 40% have no leanings and they tend not to vote anyway.
So, what do they say they want?
A government that Works: 70% of Americans who feel that people like them have too little influence on the government, 81% think wealthy people have too much sway and 78% think large businesses have too much power in Washington.
Gun control: 70% of Americans want gun control, not even so much for taking guns from owners as ruling out ‘open carry’ that brings armed protesters out into the streets.
The end of partisan politics: 70% seems to be the magic number, as that same percentage favor an end to gerrymandering (realigning voting districts to favor a party). That will help, but the Supreme Court isn't on our side in that matter, so the real fix is in third-party politics.
There follow a raft of other issues from health care to racism upon which a solid minority have opinions not shared by the major parties.
A name, a platform and funding
Hard to get the chicken before the egg, but a national convention could certainly hammer out all three. The emerging party platform would serve as the basis for candidates in both national and state elections. Certainly, there must be enough enthusiasm among the billionaire class to get such a thing off the ground without having to be named a presidential candidate. They all claim to be on our side.
Running on our magical third-party ticket ought to be far less costly than a Republican or Democratic campaign, as our candidate is essentially attracting the ‘none of the above’ voter. If 40% approve of ‘none of the above,’ our guy or gal ought to attract enough attention to win a few races—possibly more than a few.
Remember, every two years there’s an election
Every two years all of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate face a ballot. Each of those institutions now battle over razor-thin majorities. If our third-party attracted enough leaners toward either major party, think what might happen and how quickly the effort would find reward. First year, 40 in the House and 3 senators? That’s enough to negotiate decisions on major issues. It can only build from there.
That’s a far better solution than waiting for the next rich man or woman to run for president, lose and thereby screw up an election, most likely shooing-in the least popular of the major candidates.
If we’re tired of the government we have, then we must invent a new one
Image Credit: George Danby / BDN