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Subject: How to get a viable third party in this country rss

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Junior McSpiffy
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With Trump and Hillary being such wildly unsavory options except to the most hardcore of each respective party, there are some discussions here and there popping up about how nice it would be for there to be a viable third party. Myself, I am planning on voting for Gary Johnson. But relying on the disgruntled to be the lasting basis for a party seems both a fantasy and a really bad idea.

The problem I see it is right now it always seems to be working from a top-down approach. If you get a Gary Johnson or a Ross Perot or a Ralph Nader showing up once every four years, it creates a blip on the radar for a moment, but then fades away. It's like an Olympic sport. I mean, is anyone going to be watching the epee fencing league next year? So while the national candidate is one who will get the most bang for the buck from a notoriety standpoint, for a party to become more viable in the long-term, I would think it would need to be a more local affair. And not once every four years.

The solution as I see it: poaching. Find Republicans who are disgruntled with the Tea Party faction driving the bus. Find Democrats who are trying to rein in spending only to be thwarted by their party. Find a few governors who are minority shareholders, much like Gary Johnson as a Republican in a hard Democrat state. And make a massive push to get them to break from their party and join yours. And it can't be just one or two at a time, otherwise it will just be seen as a novelty. But if you can get ten or fifteen congressmen, senators and governors to join your ranks all at once... suddenly people see it as being something that is possible.

And THAT is when you can see some change coming. Then you start getting people at local levels running as a third party. That is when you start getting grassroots infrastructure that you need to motivate voters. Get people to see and recognize those on the ticket each and every election, not just once every four (or eight or twelve) years. And if that happens, then you have a chance of drawing the independents into a third choice, as well as taking those who are only part of their current party because they see the other major party as a danger and a threat that must be thwarted.
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Trey Chambers
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The problem is the disgruntled on both sides are usually from opposite sides of the political spectrum, so I doubt they could find much common ground.

I'd rather see a Centrist party rise up, that seems like it would be most sustainable. Then the more radical elements on both sides of the spectrum could have a more "pure" party.
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David desJardins
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I agree with Trey---the most disgruntled Democrats are those farthest to the left, and the most disgruntled Republicans are those farthest to the right, so it's hard to see them joining together to give a new party critical mass.

I do agree with Junior that the only way this is ever going to have much impact is if you can get a lot of elected officials, preferably from both parties, to join it en masse. I don't think that's going to happen, but if you really think this is what the country needs then that's what you have to work towards.

I don't think it would be good for the country, I think it would just make things worse. If you think the two existing parties have too much power, then what I would propose instead are electoral and governance reforms, many of which we have now in California: ballot initiatives, term limits, top-two primaries, nonpartisan redistricting, etc.
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Boaty McBoatface
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How about one man one vote (and that man not being a member of some electoral college).
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Junior McSpiffy
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Those disgruntled that their parties aren't far enough to the outer edges are the loudest, to be sure. But as we ask ourselves how so many people can be voting for Trump, the answer is at least partly that he isn't the other candidate. And the same thing with Hillary. But if there was a major party who was more moderate than either of these two candidates, how many of those people would be willing to pull the lever for that party's candidate? All it would take is to dispel this belief that voting for that candidate is akin to throwing away your vote and getting them some exposure so the casual voter is even aware there is a third major party, and it would happen. "Well, I don't want Trump no matter what, so I have to vote for Hillary who I don't like. Oh wait... what's this?"

If those on the extremes of the party are feeling frustrated that there's too much of a pull to the center, then how do those in the center feel toward those who are trying to pull the party out to the edges? There is a large disgruntled pool of people in each party. I am one of them. And my facebook feed tells me I am not alone, not by a long shot. But that just speaks to the need for a third party. The viability of a third party... that is more of mechanics.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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So how many have voted for Donny who are not Republican right wingers or who thought it was not a joke getting him selected?

At this time we do not know how really popular Donny is with electorate. Only how popular he is with one branch of one party.
 
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David desJardins
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slatersteven wrote:
How about one man one vote (and that man not being a member of some electoral college).


The partisanship is worse in Congress than in the Presidency, and the electoral college doesn't have much to do with that. Electing the President by national popular vote also has some disadvantages as well as advantages, as long as the states run their individual elections. All in all, it might be a modest step forward, but it's certainly not going to solve the problem.
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Steven Woodcock
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slatersteven wrote:
How about one man one vote (and that man not being a member of some electoral college).



Um....do you know how elections work?

Unless you're Democrat, it IS one man one vote. If you're Democrat it's as many as you can steal/lie about/fake, but that's been an ongoing problem for the last 50 years or so since JFK's election.

What do you propose, exactly?


Ferret
 
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Steven Woodcock
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slatersteven wrote:
So how many have voted for Donny who are not Republican right wingers or who thought it was not a joke getting him selected?

At this time we do not know how really popular Donny is with electorate. Only how popular he is with one branch of one party.


I never had the chance to vote for Trump (I assume that's who "Donny" is?) as I'm a registered Independent, so I can't speak to the Republicans who did.

I know the handful I've spoken to did so because they wanted real change, not the fake "hopey changey" stuff we've been stuck with the last 8 years. A few voted Cruz for the same reason.

None of them are particularly what I would characterize as "right wingers", but then if you're left of Stalin pretty much anybody is I guess....



Ferret
 
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David desJardins
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GameCrossing wrote:
If those on the extremes of the party are feeling frustrated that there's too much of a pull to the center, then how do those in the center feel toward those who are trying to pull the party out to the edges?


I'm toward the center (i.e., I'm more moderate than the Democratic Party platform) and my inclination is just to pull back. I don't see how a third party could help. I also hope to pull back on the Republican Party---if there were some non-crazy members I could hope to support them.

Quote:
The viability of a third party... that is more of mechanics.


But mechanics are everything. This is like arguing that neither jet planes nor helicopters do what you need, so we must have a fleet of dirigibles. But it's a salient question whether it's actually better to build dirigibles than to just make the planes and helicopters better.
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David Hoffman
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You want to know how to get a viable third party in the United States?

Patience.

Patience.

Start small. Start in local elections. Build. Expand. Slowly. Don't look at this year's election or next year's election; start small, start local, and in ten or twenty years, build something strong. Build power on the local level. Get good people into office and let them build their resumes and experience. Win elections. Win lots of elections.

The problem with so many of these third parties is that they're trying to build from the top-down. Don't start with the White House; start with the City Council. Run for Dog Catcher. Build a party from the ground up and take the time to do it right.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Ferretman wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
How about one man one vote (and that man not being a member of some electoral college).



Um....do you know how elections work?

Unless you're Democrat, it IS one man one vote. If you're Democrat it's as many as you can steal/lie about/fake, but that's been an ongoing problem for the last 50 years or so since JFK's election.

What do you propose, exactly?


Ferret
Direct elections, I thought that was obvious to even the meanest intellect.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Ferretman wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
So how many have voted for Donny who are not Republican right wingers or who thought it was not a joke getting him selected?

At this time we do not know how really popular Donny is with electorate. Only how popular he is with one branch of one party.


I never had the chance to vote for Trump (I assume that's who "Donny" is?) as I'm a registered Independent, so I can't speak to the Republicans who did.

I know the handful I've spoken to did so because they wanted real change, not the fake "hopey changey" stuff we've been stuck with the last 8 years. A few voted Cruz for the same reason.

None of them are particularly what I would characterize as "right wingers", but then if you're left of Stalin pretty much anybody is I guess....



Ferret
OK then, for the meaner of intellects.

The wing of the party to the right of the Rhinos, and the party grandees (you know, the ones who are now opposing him with tin the GOP?).

 
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David desJardins
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ohbalto wrote:
The problem with so many of these third parties is that they're trying to build from the top-down. Don't start with the White House; start with the City Council. Run for Dog Catcher. Build a party from the ground up and take the time to do it right.


This won't ever build a national third party, because the more successful you are the more one of the existing parties will adopt your ideas and platform. They respond to incentives and if you're winning they will change. That may be what you want, but it's not going to produce a national third party that competes with the two major parties.

A variant idea is something like the Working Families Party, which generally runs the same candidates as Democrats, but on its own ballot line. This can let you build political power gradually. However, it's not permitted in many/most states (it's effective in New York state, to some extent).
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Walt
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Boaty McBoatface
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Who said first past the post?
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G Rowls
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Expel the current crop you imported from Columbus onwards. Teach the new ones that just because you are to the right of Hitler doesnt make every one else a socialist.
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Walt
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slatersteven wrote:
Who said first past the post?

The US Constitution. I don't think the UK does anything different, though Australia does.

And if you watch the video, it explains how FPtP makes third parties impossible.
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David desJardins
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Tall_Walt wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Who said first past the post?

The US Constitution. I don't think the UK does anything different, though Australia does.


The US Constitution doesn't dictate first-past-the-post. For example, states could choose their Representatives by proportional representation, if they want. They could also choose their Electors for President however they want, and those Electors could vote in various ways (the National Popular Vote project is based on this, for example). The idea of Electors being pledged to a particular candidate developed after the US Constitution was written.
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Steven McKinney
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The system is designed to have two parties only, without a certain percentage of votes, third parties do not receive any government money.

Besides whoever controls the media controls the mind, and the major networks more or less are affiliated to certain parties.
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Walt
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DaviddesJ wrote:
The US Constitution doesn't dictate first-past-the-post. For example, states could choose their Representatives by proportional representation, if they want. They could also choose their Electors for President however they want, and those Electors could vote in various ways (the National Popular Vote project is based on this, for example). The idea of Electors being pledged to a particular candidate developed after the US Constitution was written.

I think at this point the USSC would rule that first-past-the-post is understood (common law). NPV is interesting, but 12th Amendment? I'm unsure.

IAC, I think initiative is the most important priority. I think this can get sold to Congress as removing the need for them to make polarizing decisions. I would allow it to propose Constitutional amendments, but the amendments would have to be approved in the traditional way.
 
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David desJardins
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Tall_Walt wrote:
I think at this point the USSC would rule that first-past-the-post is understood (common law).


Certainly not. First, the Supreme Court avoids "political questions". Secondly, before 1842 many members of Congress were elected from multi-member districts. Congress changed that with the Apportionment Act of 1842, but obviously it was constitutional before the law and so still constitutional after the law; Congress would just have to change the law. And even as late as the 1960s several states still had multiple-member districts, until that was finally ended by the Uniform Congressional District Act of 1967. But, again, that's just a law. Congress can change it.

Several states still use some kind of proportional representation for their state legislatures.

I don't think a comeback is likely, but the reasons have nothing to do with the US Constitution.
 
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David desJardins
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Tall_Walt wrote:
IAC, I think initiative is the most important priority. I think this can get sold to Congress as removing the need for them to make polarizing decisions. I would allow it to propose Constitutional amendments, but the amendments would have to be approved in the traditional way.


You can't get anything interesting or significant ratified by 3/4 of the states. The country is too polarized for that---whatever is popular in some states is unpopular in others. So this would do nothing at all.
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Walt
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Tall_Walt wrote:
IAC, I think initiative is the most important priority. I think this can get sold to Congress as removing the need for them to make polarizing decisions. I would allow it to propose Constitutional amendments, but the amendments would have to be approved in the traditional way.

You can't get anything interesting or significant ratified by 3/4 of the states. The country is too polarized for that---whatever is popular in some states is unpopular in others. So this would do nothing at all.

I'd settle for being able to pass the laws Congress won't.

But, a time limit on a Constitutional amendments is optional. The stellar example is the 27th (no changes in Congressional pay until after the next election), proposed September 25, 1789 and ratified May 7, 1992. For example, I think ERA would have passed by now.
 
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David desJardins
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Tall_Walt wrote:
For example, I think ERA would have passed by now.


Why do you think it's easier to get 3/4 of the states than to get 2/3 of Congress? It seems to me that getting 3/4 of the states is generally much harder than getting 2/3 of Congress, with the only possible exception being measures that affect the particular interests of members of Congress (e.g., redistricting reform).
 
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