The Rise of the Moderate Independent Party (MIP)
Drain the swamp? Political Parties have become swamps. The best way to drain that swamp is to just get out of it. How? Register and identify as an Independent voter or support the creation of a Moderate party. Elect Independents. Stop voting for far right or far left candidates and instead, vote for moderates in Primaries.
Political Parties are supposed to bring order to the process of policy making. As party members, individual politicians have a ready-made group of allies that will usually cooperate with their efforts to pass and implement legislation. At the national level, this means that a rookie Congressperson is supposed to arrive with a network of allies that would support their efforts and that he/she would support in turn. That best works when the Party is flexible and willing to compromise. Otherwise a newly elected person basically gives up their vote to Party leaders who in one way or another helped candidates get elected (and re-elected) and control committee assignments.
Clinton Rossiter begins his classic book “Parties and Politics in America” with this declaration: “No America without democracy, no democracy without politics, no politics without parties, no parties without compromise and moderation.”
- Clearly we have little compromise and moderation in American politics so that would say we might be better off without Parties, doesn’t it?
Fareed Zakaria stated that a partyless system would lead to political dynasties, celebrity officials, and billionaire politicians.
The Democratic and Republican Parties have moderates and extremists but extremists are growing in numbers.
Extremists typically don’t compromise with moderates, not even within their own party. The political process has become overly competitive and combative. The result is gridlock and public anger with government.
The Founders of the United States warned against Parties because they thought politics was supposed to be rational and collaborative, not competitive.
Not since 1912 has a new Party been created and it didn’t last long. Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party of 1912. It was nicknamed the Bull Moose Party.
Instead of new Parties being created people have shifted back and forth between parties.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act for instance sent droves of Southern conservative Democrats to the Republican Party. The war in Iraq and immigrant issues is now sending more liberal Republicans to the Democratic Party.
The 2016 Presidential elections results probably were mostly due to overall low grades Congress had with the voters.
A moderate Party can come into existence with a suddenness that surprises and astounds us.
In France this June 2017, President Emmanuel Macron’s fledgling party is set to trounce France’s traditional main parties in a parliamentary election and secure a huge majority. France’s socialist and conservative parties that had alternated in power for decades until Macron’s election in May blew apart the left-right divide.
The Problem of Force taking the place of Power.
We should demand to get spin-free news. Force is used to achieve a means through the use of a hammer. Power is used to achieve a means through logic that serves the best interests of people.
The Problem of Obstructionism:
Obstructionism’s roots lie in the powerful fringe wings of each party but carries over to the rest of a party’s membership due to party affiliated voting. Obstructionism is not leadership. “Obstructionist Leadership” is an oxymoron. Obstructionism is to leadership as sarcasm is to humor. There is a need to promote something tangible. Not allowing the other party to accomplish something is not tangible.
The problem of deceitfulness:
Voters are no longer being told the truth or given the facts. Voters only get spin. Politicians are destroying their profession by falsely discrediting the other party or members of it. Spin has become a game played by too many politicians and it includes defaming, libeling, slandering and intentionally trying to put a false negative label on the opponent or the legislation.
The problem of Group Think:
When voters register with a Party they begin to participate in Party Group Think and now, more than ever, voters have stopped thinking as individuals. Non office holders need to register as independents and vacate allegiances to current Parties if they want to free themselves from Party Group Think.
In the case of voting for president and the US Congress, since the 1970s, party identification on voting behavior has been increasingly significant. By the late 1990s, party identification on voting behavior was at the highest level of any election since the 1950s. People overwhelmingly voted for their party’s nominee in the general election. If voters can’t get themselves to vote for candidates from the other party, then a third party is needed.
This problem is magnified by Party’s platforms being pulled away from their historical center where the majority reside and instead pushed into the fringe wings where the money and energy reside.
The problem of campaign financing:
There is too much private money in campaigns. The campaign season is too long. Campaign reform is needed to retain our democracy.
The Democratic and Republican parties receive so much money from the powerful few that elected officials are overly dependent on that money to get elected and thus are too often puppets to the puppeteers that hold the strings. Who cares about the qualification of the politicians when they vote as a block and as told.
The problem of the fringe party constituents:
The voters that volunteer thousands of hours to help a candidate win an election are part of the fringe. They represent less than 15% of party membership. They are usually very liberal or very conservative. Politicians can’t vote against these people or they will support another candidate.
The problem of false wedge issues:
There are issues that both parties have for decades supported but couldn’t agree on the content to pass legislation. Today those same issues are wedge issues. If one party is for something, the other party is against it. For decades both parties have wanted some form of universal health care and now it is a wedge issue. The Trans-Canada pipe line has its pros and cons but it is a wedge issue with one party talking about the pros and the other party talking about the cons. The list keeps growing.
The problem of Independents not having the power of an entrenched Party:
Independents need unification and while “unified-independent” is an oxymoron, there needs to be a platform that attracts a voting block in order for moderates to advance from the Primaries and compete in National elections. That platform needs to attract moderates from both parties and include a provision to exclude puppeteers.
The Moderate Independent Party (MIP) would need money but maybe individuals that run for office under the MIP flag would not be allowed to receive more than $20,000 from any one source or receive money from a PAC but until election reforms are instituted, the MIP could.
Sorting Out the Three Parties
The Libertarian Party is not included here because it has had time to succeed and I consider it a failed Party.
- Demographically has the oldest set of white Americans as members.
- Philosophical roots are tied to the aristocracies.
- Marked by elitism and respect for authority.
- Include a disbelief in natural equality and a general disinterest in public participation in politics.
- Believes in trickle down economics.
- Tend to be skeptical of both community investment and attempts at social engineering.
- Members often have strong emotional ties to single issues such as Right-to-Life and Guns.
- Demographically has the youngest set of Americans and broadest ethnicity as members.
- Philosophical roots are tied to immigrants of middle and upper middle class.
- Marked by advancing the good of the community before the good of the individual.
- Include strong communal institutions and desire to proselytize American culture to the rest of the world.
- Desire cultural diversity and commerce.
- Value a large tax base and government funded infrastructure.
- Supports strong minimum wages and higher education.
- Members often have strong emotional ties to single issues such as Pro-Choice and LGBT.
Moderate Independent Party
- Demographically would have the most middle age set of Americans as members and although much smaller than the Democratic and Republican Party, would be the swing vote that decides elections and passes legislation. If moderates from the Democratic and Republican Parties leave their old parties and join this Moderate Independent Party, and do it in droves, America would have what France achieved this year.
- Philosophical roots are tied to Quakers, German farmers, Hispanic settlers, and frontiersmen.
- Generally is dominated by the middle class.
- Ethnicity and ideology is not a priority.
- Political opinion is moderate to apathetic.
- Believe Government should benefit ordinary people.
- Marked by live-and-let-live mentality.
- Includes a group that fully support a strong government financed infrastructure that creates jobs and supports commerce but do not want Federal government to intrude in their lives or the lives of people in other nations.
- Includes a large segment that are generally pacifists.
- Includes a large segment that believe in community advancement but not social engineering.
- Composed of a large segment that are known for being independent, self-sufficient, adaptable, and work-oriented.
- Generally believe in diplomacy backed by strength.
- It’s a party that, while it does not include activists or emotionally charged single issue adherents, can draw moderates from the other two Parties.
- It is a Party that fully accepts these words from The Declaration of Independence: “We foremost hold truths to be self evident, that this nation was conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
While Americans have moved from state to state, job to job, young to old; there has been a political battle for control of the direction America takes. The direction is dependent on how we incorporate into our voting these words from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:
That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth and shall have a new birth of freedom.
Does America move in the direction where we believe that all people are born free and equal before the law, that we all possess at least certain minimal rights that have to be mutually respected, and that we are capable of self-governance.
Or, does America move in the direction where we believe we are born into bondage, that our liberties are granted as a privilege, that most of us are not capable of self -governance, and that only a very few of us should enjoy the full blessings of liberty.
Or, does America move in the direction where individual personal religious beliefs determine whether we want to focus on improving the world through such things as promoting labor protections, minimum wage, universal health, environmental protection, and non-discrimination or instead focus on promoting saving individual souls who have strayed away from our individual religious beliefs?