BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE FAILED
A plague on both your houses.” Shakespeare
When this was originally written some years ago I advocated a third party but also stated that it could be too late for a third party. I am now 90% convinced it is too late for a third party but the problems remain and have only gotten worse. There is still definitely need for a change as both parties are corrupt past the point of no return and are holding the population hostage. At the time this was written estimates varied but it was generally felt about half the population was fed up to the point they held the prospect of a third party favorably. In another essay I will give the only two viable alternatives to a third party and the present dysfunctional state of affairs. There are actually three choices but ignoring the situation is not a choice so subtracting that leaves two.
A Gallup poll released October 11, 2013 said that 60% of Americans say a third political party is needed. A breakdown by present party affiliations had 52% of Republicans and 49% of Democrats in favor of a third party. The poll did not take into account independent voters who now happen to be a rapidly growing constituency and have been for some time. There are and have been numerous minor third parties in the United States, some influential and some merely annoying or humorous. They usually are of either a predominantly liberal or conservative ideology, are usually led by a well-known figure (or figures), are populist in nature, are a backlash against or a push for a certain issue focusing around that issue and often tip the election by siphoning off enough votes from one of the major parties to give the victory to the party that probably would have lost had the third party not been in the picture. They usually fade after, or shortly after, the election but some manage to hang on for a time. The requirements to get on the ballot vary from state to state and most don’t even make it to the ballot as often it is not easy to get on the ballot because of high fees or of a failure to obtain enough signatures of registered voters on a petition. There are some that manage to get on ballots in local and state elections and even in national elections. Some manage to get on in some states but not all 50 while others manage all 50. Usually the ones that have the best showing are those formed by a well-known figure(s) that the disillusioned voters side with. Some past examples are the Progressive Party led by Teddy Roosevelt, the States Rights Party by Strom Thurmond, the American Independent Party by George Wallace, and the Reform Party by Ross Perot. As well as being popular it certainly doesn’t hurt to be wealthy either.
In a 1992 Miami Herald article by Carl M. Cannon, from the Herald Washington Bureau, stated political scientist Gordon Black from Rochester NY interviewed 1600 voters and found dissatisfaction with the two parties was so great that the candidacy of Ross Perot and his Reform Party was inevitable. The article went on to say “most Americans find the Democrats too liberal on welfare, crime and the budget, while Republicans are too conservative on military spending, drug rehabilitation, money and abortion. A party based on pragmatism instead of ideology, he says, would have enormous appeal.” (I will add that most tend to think the Republicans are too lenient on environmental issues also.)
In another Miami Herald article (9/22/1995) columnist Robert L. Steinbeck wrote, “Only now, evidence is trickling in that more and more Americans have had enough of this silliness. The major parties go on blaming each other for America’s problems-while the problems grow more and more daunting.” He also went on to say, “Most Americans defy simplistic labels. They are conservative on some issues, liberal on others…….They’re most comfortable with balanced interests rather than absolutes-….” (((Keep in mind this was written in 1995. Things have only grown more daunting.)))
And in still another Miami Herald article (10/20/1996) Harry Browne, the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, expressed his philosophy. His philosophy was basically eliminating all taxes; sell all government owned property such as buildings, parks, lands, pipelines, power companies, oil rights, mineral rights, etc., to the private sector. Get the government out of everything including welfare, education, healthcare, housing, transportation, agriculture, crime control, regulation and other areas, and get the government out of Social Security. This is totally unrealistic. (It is as unrealistic as the Socialist Party platform. I will post the two platforms as examples of the two extremes neither of which is workable.)
Columnist Matthew Miller in the Sun Sentinel (2/18/2005) wrote an excellent article on third parties. In it he said, ”As the 2004 exit polls showed, a clear plurality of Americans identify themselves not as liberal (21 percent) or conservatives (34 percent) but as moderates (45 percent).” He continued, “My intuition is that if Washington Republicans continue to veer right, and Washington Democrats find themselves trapped in ‘reactionary liberalism’, at some point a critical mass of leaders on both sides will (and should) start to think about a new force that can move the nation toward real answers.” He concluded by saying, “And when that happens, watch out.”
A search of the internet under “third political parties” yields results such as: “Why the US needs a third political party”; “Many students would welcome third major political party”; “Can a third political party bring America back to center”; and “Does the US needs a third political party”. A search under Americans dissatisfied with political parties yields: “In U.S., Perceived Need for Third Party Reaches New High – Gallup”; “Third-Party Candidate Could Rise Due To Voter Dissatisfaction”; “Voters Unhappy With Both Parties – KTRH” and numerous others.
In the United States there has been talk about a third party for some time now. The most vocal and visible supporters of the Democrats and Republicans are the extremes and dominate the media attention and have actually hindered or sabotaged any effort to come up with logical solutions to our problems. Both major political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, have denied or ignored the problems and if they could not be ignored or denied they fought to delay any useful dialogue or plan. Each one wants the credit to go to their party and try to maneuver whatever is in question for their advantage. Considering the continually worsening problems we face it is surprising a serious third party has not yet taken root. As I previously said I believe it is too late to form a viable third party as the system may not have that long to survive without Draconian measures. Today, more than ever, Americans are discontented and have been for some time and are becoming increasingly so. A third party might not be able to become successful now as the forces of the deep pockets of the wealthy wield too much power and the US Supreme Court and elected and appointed officials have given them strength in recent decisions and in legislation. What is possible is that with or without a third party the internet has the potential to make a long term difference.
Extremists and fanatics of both sides tend to be in lockstep with others on their side of the spectrum. Many are single issue voters. Single issue voters are voters that have one issue that they feel so strongly about it determines their political alignment. They are almost always, if not always which is usually the case, emotionally motivated and emotions and fanaticism make a poor foundation for rational decisions and action. History is full of examples of emotions, at minimum, complicating an already bad situation and more often than not making matters worse. In his book Power Bertrand Russell, after discussing fanaticism and power, wrote “The cases in which fanaticism has brought nothing but disaster are much more numerous than those in which it has brought even temporary success.” He goes on to give several examples. The single issue voters on one side of the aisle support the issues of others on the same side of the political spectrum whether they are in agreement or not in exchange for support of their position on their pet issue. The “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours” trade off. They exchange information with each other that has very seldom been checked for accuracy and willingly accept such information as gospel because it fits their visions, ideologies and agendas. Those that have views that are decided on logic and merits on a case by case and issue by issue basis and actually think are held in thrall by those that have an all or nothing attitude. Most people are intelligent enough or possess enough common sense to know that those that go for all or nothing usually end up with nothing. Two emotionally charged and polarized positions at odds with each other often cancel each other out and both sides end up with nothing and do extreme damage to the nation in the process. We in the United States, and the West, are at that process now.
The heart being the metaphorical seat of emotions and the head being the seat of reason are often in conflict. Emotions are usually powerful enough to override reason. While positions of the heart most often are based on humanitarian and unselfish concerns the heart through error and misplaced compassion can easily kill the head and end up with what was most feared. F.A. Hayek in his Road to Serfdom said: “When the course of civilization takes an unexpected turn – when, instead of the continuous progress which we have come to expect, we find ourselves threatened by evils associated by us with past ages of barbarism – we naturally blame anything but ourselves.” …………………………..” However much we may differ when we name the culprit – whether it is the wicked capitalist or the vicious spirit of a particular nation, the stupidity of our elders, or a social system not yet, although we have struggled against it for half a century, fully overthrown – we all are, or at last were until recently, certain of one thing: that the leading ideas which during the last generation have become common to most people of good will and have determined the major changes in our social life cannot have been wrong. We are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis of our civilization except one: that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our own part and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those which we expected.” And, “Is there a greater tragedy imaginable than that, in our endeavor consciously to shape our future in accordance with high ideals, we should in fact unwittingly produce the very opposite of what we have been striving for?” This is transpiring now in the U.S. and the West. The advocates for social change and justice are focusing too much time and energy on issues that are not survival issues and are often in the realm of absurdity. I am not unsympathetic or unsupportive of many of their aims but they cannot ignore the vital survival issues or enact change at a rate too fast for the system and humanity to assimilate, digest and adapt to. They have the blind zeal of groups they claim to despise: those of religious cult fanatics. They can’t, which they so often try to, go against human nature. They argue things that are as absurd as arguing something akin to what is for breakfast on a Titanic that won’t survive until morning. They are bringing about a totalitarian regime that will be far beyond their worst nightmares. They cannot see it because of that emotional blind zeal.
It should be painfully apparent to anyone that even casually follows current events what has happened with the American political scene. There are two polarized, antagonistic positions that are diametrically opposed and will never listen to each other or to reason even though there is a moderate position. In such a chaotic environment little is accomplished but there are those that benefit. To understand who benefits in a dysfunctional environment where two opposing views have an impasse we need only remember the old saying: “follow the money”. We need to follow the trail from beginning to end and not just what is superficial and obvious. We also need to realize these issues are supported and instigated by those on the very top, the top 1% of the 1%. In the present we also have to realize what the hidden agenda is and connect the dots that lead to it. Who benefits in the long run. (Remember that as I will refer you back to that occassionally.)
In the fall of 2013 we came close to defaulting on our payment on the national debt. An action or inaction as the case may be, that is totally unrealistic. In a default many nations that do business with us would view us as unstable and a high risk and could call in their loans. Now the world uses the US dollar as its reserve currency. Reserve currency is a currency that is basically a middleman currency being of high value and is very stable with a high credit rating which the US dollar has,…..for now. Being a reserve currency makes it easier for the US to borrow money. Some nations of the world are trying to set up other currencies and dump the dollar. Our options then would be to stop printing money which would tighten the money supply which could, and probably would, result in a depression, or, we could just continue printing money which would cause hyperinflation, making the dollar worthless. This happened in Germany prior to WW2 and was one of the things that created a situation ripe for the Nazis to gain power. It was brought about by economic conditions created by Britain, France and the US with their post-war (WW1) policies. It literally took a wheelbarrow of money to buy a bag of carrots. Venezuela is now going through a period of hyperinflation. Google it. I have a genuine 100,000,000,000,000 (One hundred trillion) dollar bill from Zimbabwe which is not worth the paper it is written on. The answer to their economic crises was to continue to print money that became worthless. A third possibility would be foreign nations holding a large amount of dollars as reserve currency which would become unstable and use the debt as leverage in bargaining for American property or concessions. As it is now China owns a large amount of property in the US and China also holds a lot of our debt. There are numerous sites with information on the large sections of land being purchased by China. Like most things it is a two edge sword. On one edge they can play the debt card to leverage US lands and property and on the other edge they will have more to lose if the US collapses so they will be more protective. There are cracks in their economy and if they collapsed it could bring about a large range of other possibilities, all unpleasant I might add.
I have added theses links (Feb 2019) that show China’s using debt to acquire strategic areas by leveraging debt. It could happen here as we owe them a great deal of money.
Another possible scenario is the US gets so far in debt and when the world stops using the dollar as reserve currency and if America is asked to repay the loans and can’t the private sector would buy up much of the public land and the US would use the proceeds towards the debt. Ecuador sold the rights to an entire mountain to the Chinese for copper mining. They also leased a large section of one of their national preserves to the Chinese for oil exploration. This was done by the socialist government to meet their social obligations. (See Winner Take All in the Books Worth Reading section of this site.) This only kicks the can down the road to the future where the problems will be worse and social needs more while the amount of resources will be less. Like typical socialists they do not think about tomorrow. Socialists are perennial infants in their reasoning . That is one, only one, of the reasons socialism fails. If it operated in partnership with capitalist businesses they could have reaped much more. (I have much animosity and contempt for capitalism also. I will kick them in the seat of the pants in the future. A mixed economy is the only logical solution.)
Also here in America the capitalist private sector has long sought to own and control everything including public property; the privatization of jails, prisons, law enforcement; own the parks, monuments, and buildings; and to privatize social security, Medicare, control the military to name a few and whatever else the American citizens jointly own. Check out the political platform of the Libertarian Party that I posted. You ask the question is it possible? The answer to the question is it possible can be found under the Reagan regime. Conrail was a government owned railroad cobbled together from the bankrupt Penn Central and some other minor railroads. It was sold to the private sector for under market value. (I will add it was showing a profit burying the claim the government can’t run something profitably. It is government socialistic subsidy and social welfare policies that run at a loss.) After watching both political parties and their relationship to big business and the courts siding with business the answer to the question is unequivocally yes.
There are so many political issues we have to triage them much like a medical triage. In a medical triage patients are evaluated and prioritized and then treated according to severity of injuries. A medical triage is divided thus: 1) those that would probably survive regardless of treatment, 2) those that would probably not survive regardless of treatment, and, 3) those that would probably survive only with treatment. Our survival is with society not individuals although for individuals to survive society must survive and for society to survive individuals must survive. It is, like most things in human affairs, a two way street. If we do not triage political issues now we will ultimately have to triage people later, yes people, an unthinkable situation. By dealing with these serious issues now it will prevent in the future that which at this point is unthinkable but inevitable. We better act quickly as already the left is starting to look in this direction of triaging people. It will also avoid the selfish and stupid act of dropping them into the laps of our descendants who will be worse off than we are and will be in a much worse position to deal with them. We do not have the luxury of time. We need to come up with a plan and diagram it much like a problem solving flow chart. By visually looking at the issues laid out in that fashion it would make it obvious to a large enough number on both sides of the aisle as well as the middle to make our necessary action(s) perfectly clear, or at least clearer. The longer we delay the worse it will be in the future. Some issues that are not critical survival issues have been partially dealt with and a complete resolution can more effectively be resolved later. Some non-survival issues have not been dealt with at all as yet and must be placed on the “back burner” until serious social, economic and both national and international issues have been resolved or at least a viable plan has been decided on and movement towards the solution has been undertaken. Some serious issues have not been dealt with sufficiently or not at all. We must continue to move forward with the most serious issues. Some issues are not a matter of life or mass death for society and they can be shelved until we are out of danger. We do not have the time or resources to waste on them regardless of how important they seem to individual groups with individual agendas. The four areas we must focus on are: population, environment, the space program, and immigration. We need to act and stop this infernal, pointless bickering. To quote Kang, a Klingon commander from Star Trek original series episode Day of the Dove: “Only a fool fights in a burning house.”
Divide and conquer is the oldest trick in the book and the emotional American electorate is swallowing it hook, line and sinker. For an excellent take on the essence of the situation I quote H. L. Mencken from his 1926 book Notes on Democracy. “Capitalism under democracy has a further advantage; its enemies, even when it is attacked, are scattered and weak, and it is usually easily able to array one half of them against the other half, and thus dispose of both. That is precisely what happened in the United States after the late war [WWI. Remember the book was written in 1926]. The danger that confronted capitalism was a double one. On the one side there was the tall talk that the returning conscripts, once they got out of uniform, would demand the punishment of the patriots who had looted the public treasury while they were away. On the other side there was an uneasy rumor that a war Katzenjammer [German for cat’s wail used to denote depression or confusion] was heavily upon them, and that they would demand a scientific inquiry into the true causes and aims of the war, and into the manner and purposes of their own uncomfortable exploitation. This double danger was quickly met and turned off, and by the simple device of diverting the bile of the conscripts against those of their own class who had escaped servitude,….” and he went on to say “thus one group of victims was set upon the other, and the fact that both had a grievance against their joint exploiters was concealed and forgotten.” Also he went on to say a few paragraphs later “I believe that every other emergency that is likely to arise, at least in the United States, will be dealt with in the same adroit and effective manner. The same thing has been done in other democratic states: I point to the so-called general strike in England in 1926, which was wrecked by pitting half of the proletariat against the other half.” [Let that sink in]
Now that leads us to the question why have they failed?
To be continued