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 Why America needs a New Political Party

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Join date : 2009-05-04
Posts : 151
Location : Pittsboro/Silk Hope
Age : 65

PostSubject: Why America needs a New Political Party   Fri May 15, 2009 12:35 pm

By Stephen E. Ambrose & Richard D. Lamm


You would be surprised at the number of years it took me to see clearly what some of the problems were which had to be solved....Looking back, I think it was more difficult to see what the problems were than to solve them.

— Charles Darwin

America needs a new political party. The most pressing issues facing the nation are beyond the ability of the two parties to solve, because neither party can act alone to solve these problems, and any bipartisan compromise can not equal the magnitude of the problems we face. These are not issues problems we are talking about here; they are structural problems. Structural problems that we are not even seriously debating, let alone solving! Structural problems that can only be solved by a new political coalition.

A new political party is not without precedent. There is nothing constitutional or sacrosanct about the existing two-party system. Other democracies have multiple parties, which make sense in parliamentary systems which have proportional representation (i.e., your party gets 9 percent of the vote, and you get 9 percent of the contested seats). However, in a "winner-take-all" system like ours, a two-party structure is almost inevitable. Constantly shifting coalitions work out their differences using two competing political umbrellas. Thus, although a two-party system usually has many more than two parties, pragmatically only two are real contenders for power. And, generally, this structure has served the nation well.

There have been times in American history where neither of the two political parties were able to solve the nation's problems. At that point, great pressures emerge to form a third political party. In the vast majority of cases, these third political parties add to the dialogue but do not succeed in building a permanent party. Political scientist Richard Hoffesteder has observed that the role of the third political party is "to sting like a bee and then die." This truly has been the fate of third political parties for the last 140 years. Many third parties deeply impacted public policy, but they did not become institutionalized. Their issues endured, but their party disappeared. The last third political party to become one of the two major parties was the Republican Party in the 1850s.

It is now time for another political realignment. We are not arguing for a change in the two-party system into a three-party system; we are arguing that America needs a new political party that would eclipse one of the existing major parties and itself become one of the major parties.

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