Third Party Time....Again?
Los Angeles Times columnist, Ron Brownstein has an interesting column about the need for a third party or independent presidential candidacy come 2008. He talks about how both parties have catered to their extremely partisan bases, leaving the middle wide open.
In the last few months, I've been wary of the prospects of third parties. In the 90s, we saw Ross Perot and the Reform Party flower. Jesse Ventura really did shock the world back in 1998 when he beat to two major party candidates for the governorship of my adopted state of Minnesota. But in the end, the Reform Party was nothing more than a vanity party for Perot, and Ventura failed to grow the Independence Party, the main third party here in Minnesota.
In the mid to late 90s, I was involved in the Reform Party/Independence Party. I left because I didn't see the movement getting anywhere and I thought that the view of most centrist parties like the Independence Party was too much of "we take a little bit of the left and a little bit of the right" approach that seemed to mushy and weak.
However, maybe now might be a better time. Think about it; we are seeing the GOP hurtling towards towards theocracy. The GOP has lashed out at long held institutions like the judiciary and attack judges, even those appointed by Republican presidents for not ruling the way they want. They may talk about democracy, but in reality they want Taliban on the Potomac. Democracy is about tolerance and making room for other opinions. I don't hear that among the current GOP leadership.
The Dems aren't as bad, but they aren't much better. The Dems are out of power and are looking at the Republican "red meat" strategy as the best way to go. They have dropped the Clintonian "Third-Way" approach, in favor of the Dean "rally the troops" approach. Out is the Democratic Leadership Council, in it's place is MoveOn.org.
So, if a Third Party came about with a solid platform, say Fiscal Conservatism, fixing Social Security, Federalism and the like, there might be a chance for that party. If they could promote a strong centrism, instead of the mushy middle approach, then things might happen.
However, this could also be done in the parties as well. It would take a while, but it could be done.
2008 will be interesting. Maybe it acutally will be the time for new, strong movement.