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Hey, America, You Want a True Conservative Party?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/29/hey-america-you-want-true-conservative-party

“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”
― Barry Goldwater

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I always enjoy reading Mike’s articles, however I do hope that he is wrong on the viability of a third Party. Without at least one Party that represents the left (the majority of people), the sixth mass extinction is inevitable.
I have always said that the U.S. has two Party’s… one right wing and one extreme right wing. There are no other possibilities when the corporation runs the government, the media and even our educational system.
The “Make America Great Again” rallies to return to the days of slavery and genocide may not be that far off. Democracy seems nothing more than a distant fantasy especially in the light of so many Americans falling for the “Democrats versus Republicans” corporate narrative. In more developed countries, the public would immediately recognize the ‘illusion’ of a functioning democracy and vote for any party that gave the public at least a hint that they were not controlled by a handful of powerful, special interest groups.
The first step is to create a real Party rooted in principles and unwavering support for basic human rights. The second step, which is far more difficult, is making people aware that an alternative choice exists. The entire planet’s future is resting on our ability to deliver such a party.

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Nope. Lofgren is correct. Something that all the promoters of “third” parties here never like to acknowledge:

“Third parties don’t fit the American political system. Countries like Germany can support more than two political parties because they have proportional representation. At all levels of government in the United States, “first past the post” is the overwhelming norm.”

Lofgren is correct. The structure of the voting system in the USA very strongly resolves into a duopoly. If you want “third” parties to be viable here, start a long-term strategy to alter the voting system.

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Conservatism is simply the inability of having an open mind to alternatives that serve the masses.

It serves these two Corporate Warmongering political parties only because the clear majority of Zombies haven’t the ability to see anything past “these two Corporate Warmongering political parties.”

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There has to be a long term first. Our current trajectory has us on a path of self-destruction.

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i know, i almost added that to my reply, but i figured what the heck.

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I agree that our system of government isn’t set up for a third party to flourish. Also, with the exception of the Independent Party, all our third parties tend to be ideological in nature and not something that can appeal to a large enough demographic to be successful. Our best hope of a viable third party IMO is for enough Independents to be elected or defect from the two main parties and form something similar to what the Democratic Party used to be, which I don’t see happening.

The easiest thing to do if people want to live somewhere with more than two main parties is to immigrate to a country that already has this system of government in place. Given the results of this last election I don’t have much hope for this country’s long term future.

Waiting for the punchline…

No, I do not want a f*cking “true” conservative party. Whether it’s “true” or “false,” it’s still a load of garbage.

Agree. That is something the right wing determined more than six decades ago. The right did and does have much more wherewithal than the left, but even in the 1950s, it planned to co-opt the Republican Party instead of creating a third party. That is what they did, and it has been working all-too-well for them. From my perspective, that is what the left has to do to the Democratic Party, but it won’t happen overnight. It, too, is a long-term strategy–as the right well knows.

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Mike Lofgren is on the money, all right. And let’s remember that Barack Obama must also be counted as one of the conservatives. All his favorite policies seemed to originate with Republicans. He campaigned as a progressive but governed as a “centrist” – today’s code word for “neoliberal corporate shill.” He was certainly preferable to McCain and Romney, but that’s the problem with a first-past-the-post voting system: too often you have to settle for the lesser of two evils.

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@dara

Dara,
With the assessments of duopoly and prospects for “third” parties in the above article and this comment thread, with Lofgren saying proportional representation is needed in order to break the duopoly, i bring to your attention an article today at Counterpunch from libertarian writer Thomas Knapp. Similar to your proposed PR reform of the Senate, but PR for an expanded 1000-member House. And not PR in the classical sense, but “proxy voting” of reps based on apportionment of proxies from the electorate, and voters can change their proxy monthly if dissatisfied with how “their” representative is voting. So a step closer to direct democracy.

FYI:

~https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/29/why-not-take-congressional-proxy-voting-all-the-way/

I clicked on the article from its title, with the intention of remarking that all mainstream (and most lower level) political parties in America are “true Conservative,” political parties. I confess to being more than a bit surprised that the author seems to share at least some of my perspective!

It isn’t inevitable, it is ongoing, …and accelerating.

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Canada and the UK use first past the post and have third parties. We do not and have never used PR here in Canada yet were able to elect the Bloq (in Quebec). Green party members and NDP party members to office.

Prior to that we had parties like the Reform Party and the Old Social Credit party.

The Reform party is gone having merged with the old Progressive Conservative party but in so doing they forced that party to the right and the name progressive was dropped to reflect that. The Progressive Conservative party of Joe Clark in the late 1970’s was far to the left of todays Conservative party.

In fact from wikipedia

MOST Countries with first past the Post systems have multiple Parties. the USA is one of the few exceptions.

~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-past-the-post_voting

If the US does not have multiple parties it can not be laid on first past the post. This does not mean I do not feel PR a superior system. I think it much more Democratic and Canada should implement it.

The major reason the US does not have Multiple parties is that the Media in conjunction with the Republican and Democratic parties collude to ensure it does not happen. These groups are fundamentally opposed to Democracy which is another reason a person should NOT vote for them.

There was nothing in US electoral law that suggested Jill Stein be handcuffed to a chair so she could not speak at a Presidential debate.

(As a reminder it was a PR system that saw Adolf Hitler ultimately gain power in Germany. We do not use that example to prove why PR does not work so should not look to the USA to claim FPTP voting results in 2 political parties. Both systems can be undemocratic if the Parties in power choose to act in such a fashion which the Republicans and democrats do in the USA)

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More on how the Democratic party acts to ensure the Green Party and other Third parties do not get on the Ballot. This can not be laid on FPTP. It squarely on the corrupt Political parties in office. (just as the Nazis did in Germany which used a PR system)

~https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/24/gree-a24.html

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There is no Independent party in America, all there are is “Independent” voters (or “decline to state”/“no party preference” voters).

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George Wallace ran with the American Independent Party. But i guess that was 50 years ago…

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Friedman, sometimes known as the NYT’s house liberal, is pathetic.

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Fairly cogent right up until he said the GOP has descended into “pure nihilism.” That was a head-scratcher. Wouldn’t a party of nihilists dissolve into the ether?