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From time to time over the last few years there have been some of our fellow Progressives/Liberals who despair of the Democratic Party getting its act together and thus out of anger or frustration float the idea of abandoning the Democratic Party and forming a new one to the left of the Democrats. The Dog is not in favor of this, but he thinks he has not been very clear in why it is a bad idea. First off if you want to bail on the Democratic Party, don’t wait! You have a hell of a lot of work to do in order to get an agenda passed so why are you hanging around here? In the spirit of being helpful, the Dog would like to offer a bit of a run down in what it will take to get your new party up and running.

"Originally posted at"

Most of the issues the blogasphere focuses on are national level issues and this is where many of the folks the Dog sees floating the new party idea have the most heart burn. In order to influence national policy, you will need a party that is national level too. So while most of this organization takes place at the local or county level, to get to the changes desired there will need to be a roll up to a national party.

Getting Started:

So, lets get started! First off you will have to found your party. The laws on this are going to vary from State to State, but you will have to find enough people in at least one State to get things rolling. The best way to do this is to have a convention, as you will have to create the By Laws for everything your party will do internally. Will you Caucus or will you do Primaries? What officers do you need for your Party? You will have to have a Chairman, a Treasurer, a Secretary and a Vice Chair at the very least. Who is qualified to hold these offices? What are their responsibilities? How long are their terms office? Can they run again? How many times? Who gets to vote? How is the vote held? What does your party stand for? What are the rules for joining? What are the disciplinary methods? What is your platform right now?

These are all questions you will have to answer before you can really say you have launched your Party. They are not all of them, but they are good sample.

Candidate Recruitment:

So, now you have your shiny new Party! Congratulations! Now it is time to find some folks to run for office. This is going to be hard, as even established Party’s’ have trouble recruiting people to run. Since you are leaving the Democratic Party, you are not very likely to have any experienced folks to run. This is not a complete disaster, everyone who would serve has to have their first campaign, right?

What makes a good candidate? Well you want someone who is going to follow the party platform right? They will be someone who is more to the left of the Democrats as this is the primary reason to form this new party, right?

The Dog thinks there is going to be a real problem finding quality candidates, at least at first, since most of the time your new party is going to lose until it really gets established. It is really hard to find someone who is going to step up to get their ass kicked in an election, but there are true believers every where, so there should be a few who will take one for the team of this new Party.

Getting On the Ballot:

Now you have your candidates, you are ready to try to get in front of the people of your State and make the case about how electing them will be better than a Democrat! But there is going to be a real problem now. Getting on the ballot is really hard in many States. Here are a few facts you should keep in mind as you start your Party:

  1. Some States require really high filing fees. The State of Florida requires fee of 7% of the annual salary of the office you are filing for. This means for a US Representative campaign the filing fee is upwards of $9,000. You will need these fees for every office you want to run for.
  1. There are also the signature requirements to get on ballots. The State of Georgia has requirement of 5% of the population, not the registered voters for a third party to get on the ballot. As of the last census this makes the requirement for your new party to get on a State wide ballot (Representative, Senator, Governor, Sec State, AG, etc) upwards of 484,000 legal signatures. It is expensive and time consuming to gather signatures, so you better be ready.
  1. One more from Florida – In addition to the high fee you will have to collect more than 196,000 signatures to get on the State wide ballot. If that does not seem to bad, you need to know the following fact: No third party candidate has ever completed a signature requirement over 135,000 anywhere in the US.

These are few of the worst examples, but even in places where the laws are more lenient there are fees and signature requirements which you will have to meet. It looks like you are going to need a lot of Staff to be successful.

Recruiting Staff:

What the Dog means by staff is the pro’s the folks who do the organizing work for a living and are the ones who keep your army of volunteers going in the right direction. These are the folks who have the specialized skills to keep the campaign on track (including the Candidate). To raise the money, to define the field strategy which not only targets the voters but gets them to the polls as well, they are the ones who keep track of every penny since rising or spending money improperly can send your candidate and Treasurer to jail.

This is going to be another really tough thing. The pros are all working with the existing party’s. The ones who are going to be simpatico with your goals are mostly going to be from the Democratic Party. There will be some who are feed up like you, but they still have to make a living, so they are not going to be real excited about running candidates against the party where they do most of their work.

Still there will be the young hot shots who will throw in with you, in order to prove something. Some of them may even be in the top tier of skill sets, but finding them in all the places you need them to be a national party is going to be hard. You are going to have pay well and be ready to grow a lot of your own.

Which brings us to fund raising.

Funding the Party:

This is another trouble spot for a new party. This is doubly true for a new party on the Left. There are lots of left leaning groups who will support your platform goals, once you get them established. After all you want to be more than left of center in this new party. But the thing is they will want to support a party and candidates who are going to get elected and will be able to do something with their support. The Trial Lawyers and the Labor Movement have to able to show their members something for their efforts.

Your new party is going to have unknown candidates, inexperienced staff and a hard time getting on the ballot, so there is going to be hell of a hard sell to get them to throw some ducats your way. It seems likely you are going to be really short of dough. Maybe you should look elsewhere.

Getting a billionaire or two to really back you might get this new party off the ground pretty good. The downside of this route is billionaires, even more than interest groups are going to want a lot of say in what they give money too. They are used to pulling the strings with their funding, so this has it’s problems too.

There are always your party members, though! They will support you in some level or other. However, it takes a hell of a lot of small donors to get to the millions you are going to need to raise. The other issue is the Democratic party is going to be asking many of them for these dollars too.

Being National:

Let’s assume you get this all together in one State and have some good success (the Dog is willing to be an optimist as much as the next hound), now the challenge is going national. Let’s look at some numbers.

There are 3,140 Counties in the United States. In order to be a national party which elects national office holders you will have to have County and State level elected officials. To do this you have to have County Party’s. Lets assume you don’t have to have a party in every county in the nation to be a national party. Let’s call it 80%, no, let’s call it 70% of the counties.

That means you will have to go though the above processes 2,198 times before you will get there. That is a hell of a lot of work. How long would that take?

Well, let’s look at a party which has been working on doing this very act for a while, the Libertarian Party. They Libertarians where founded in 1971. They have been around for the last 38 years. They have founded State Party’s in all fifty states and have 250,000 registered voters.

In their 38 years as a party they have elected no national office holders. They have elected no Governors, no State Senators. They have had 12 State Representative victories, but currently the do not have any holding office.

The Libertarian Party is a example of a good success story for third parties. If we combine the total votes for State House races received by the Libertarians in 200, 2004 and 2006 it tops one million, which is more than double the number received by all other minor parties combined. This is what a successful third party looks like after nearly four decades of existence.


So, here is the way it looks to the Dog. Even if you do every thing right, even if the Dog is completely underestimating the desire and size of the group who wants to split way from the Democratic Party and found a new one, the ROI is really bad.

It looks like a hell of a lot of work, for a hell of a lot years, and at the end of that time you will not have gained enough prominence to work on the issues which you find critical today.

But let’s take the wildly optimistic point of view, shall we? Lets assume you bust your asses for only a decade, and in that time you are successful beyond belief. You have tapped the zeitgeist. The is a significant portion of the American Electorate who is buying what you are selling and you elect say, 15 to 20 Representatives, two Governors and some State Reps. Now you have voice at the table. The problem is, you will have to ally yourself with the very party you split away from in disgust to get anything close to your agenda moved. Yes, you might be able to hold up legislation, but you will never get to write it. Your party will never hold Committee Chairs and you will still have to justify your compromises with your base, who left the Democratic Party because of its compromises.

All in all that does not seem like a winning plan for moving the nation to the Left, does it? However there is another way. It still requires a lot of work over a lot of time, but it has a far better chance of succeeding. Get into the Democratic Party structure yourself. You don’t like our candidate recruitment, well get on the group that does and make your case. You think we need to be harder lined with keeping discipline? Well that happens not at the national level but at the State level. If your ideas are better, then go where you can prove it, get involved where you can have a decent chance at making a difference. Don’t kid yourself that you will be able to jump the leadership right away. You might if you bring in a lot of new Democrats, who think like you, but even then you are going to have to spend some time paying your dues, this is true in any organization, even one you might want to start from scratch. Party politics takes a lot of hard work, so be ready.

But if you do get in there, work hard and rise in the Party, then you will have what you were trying for with a new Party without having to start from scratch. You will not have the problems of becoming national, you will not have the staffing or fund raising problems for your candidates, you will not have the issue of never getting on Committees or Chairs. You will be able to affect change.

One last thing, it is never going to go all your way no matter what. If you are going to be part of the governance of a democracy, you are going to wind up with compromises you don’t like. You are going to have allies in your party who don’t follow through with their promises. You are going to have differences inside the party as to what the goals are and they all get decided by compromise, every single time. All you can really hope for is to get a few things you want. To do that you have to have most of the party structure behind you, no matter what party you are part of. This is why it is so critical for those who are to the left of most of the Democratic Party to get off their asses and get into the structure! If there really are enough of us to form a new party, there are more than enough to take over the existing party.

The Dog is going to end as he started, by saying the following: If you don’t like the Democratic Party enough to stay and try to make it better, then Go! Get out there and form you new political Party. You have a ton of work to do, and staying around and arguing with those of us who are going to stay does nothing to get to the day when you can affect the course of the nation.

However, if you are really ready to do all that work, why not take the best shot and make the Democratic Party a party you can be proud to be part of the leadership of?

The floor is yours.

Originally posted to Something the Dog Said on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:26 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips? Flames? (205+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    N in Seattle, Mike S, Renee, Kitty, JekyllnHyde, Ed in Montana, DeminNewJ, tmo, Cheez Whiz, Ray Radlein, catdevotee, Odysseus, Timaeus, askew, Christin, abarefootboy, Dump Terry McAuliffe, nicolemm, BigOkie, TheGreatLeapForward, Jim W, Plutonium Page, TarheelDem, HappyMichBlogger, abbysomething, sardonyx, Justina, missLotus, cardinal, Wee Mama, sarahnity, understandinglife, CoolOnion, ShadowRunning, buckhorn okie, RanxeroxVox, wader, hhex65, Urizen, TiaRachel, exiledfromTN, penguins4peace, Steveningen, hazzcon, arielle, riverlover, alizard, tomjones, dnta, leftover, valadon, vivadissent, Timroff, Gowrie Gal, Tinfoil Hat, Heiuan, Lying eyes, willibro, panicbean, clammyc, Turkana, Fury, Ice Blue, rb608, FightTheFuture, phriendlyjaime, begone, aimzzz, trashablanca, gwilson, Pinko Elephant, vigilant meerkat, Yellow Canary, tecampbell, cats in the curry, Crashing Vor, Bush Bites, JVolvo, Dauphin, Andy30tx, lazybum, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, pierredude, Picot verde, Hedwig, mariachi mama, Eryk, Aaa T Tudeattack, anotherdemocrat, Loudoun County Dem, Femlaw, dmh44, moosely2006, linkage, Duccio, Inventor, Matt Z, Jimdotz, terabytes, DWG, kann, ubertar, Moderation, Rumarhazzit, Empower Ink, MKinTN, kafkananda, Dem in the heart of Texas, Involuntary Exile, Judge Moonbox, bugscuffle, skohayes, royce, Gemina13, valsagem, a night owl, Troubadour, allie123, caps lock on, greenpunx, Diogenes2008, shortgirl, papicek, SolarMom, maggiejean, SciMathGuy, Finck II, rsmpdx, Rick Aucoin, velvet blasphemy, ProgressiveTokyo, batgirl71, Rational Choice, zizi, NWTerriD, soms, sanglug, allep10, billssha, Lava20, northernlights, Bene Gesserit1, vcthree, AkaEnragedGoddess, citisven, Leftcandid, susan in sc, xsonogall, Lazar, Norbrook, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, mamamorgaine, My Stupid Opinion, marabout40, pyegar, stegro, voracious, green minute, LeanneB, Giles Goat Boy, Lost and Found, freedapeople, AJ in Camden, JRandomPoster, nickrud, twohundertseventy, MsGrin, Oh Mary Oh, nosleep4u, JClarkPDX, pinkbunny, BrowniesAreGood, gobears2000, thegrump, truesteam, Quackerz, Amayi, vc2, Mistral Wind, soothsayer99, Situational Lefty, Shes a Riot, Cinnamon Rollover, smileyman, dle2GA, BarackStarObama, ThePedro, felldestroyed, Mother Shipper, lizard people, Dixie Liberal, The Rational Hatter, jediwashuu, whaddaya, Daulphin, MinistryOfTruth, Wom Bat, agoner, blue aardvark, Wonk Hussein, tjampel, Edward Spurlock, lol chikinburd, The Cheshire Cat, anthony21

    I get why many of us are so unhappy with our Democratic elected officials. But leaving the Party to form your own is a good way to make sure your voice is never heard on these issues.

    •  I gave up on 3rd parties (43+ / 0-)

      decades ago. Something for idealistic college students to discuss, but not realistic until or unless one of the two majors collapse.

      "...this nation is more than the sum of its parts ..." Barack Obama-18 March,2008

      by Inventor on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:30:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Better to work from within (27+ / 0-)

      the established party, than to have to build a whole new one.

      If your bathroom sink is leaking, is it easier to fix the leak, or to build an entirely new home because you don't feel like fixing the leak?

      "Life is defined by how much you improve the lives of others." - Keith Olbermann

      by Diogenes2008 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:33:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How do we progressives take control of the... (6+ / 0-)

        Platform of the Democratic Party so as to marginalize the influence of Blue Dogs?

        What legacy do you want to leave?

        by Jimdotz on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:03:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Speak up (14+ / 0-)

          Speak up often, loudly, and clearly.

          Call Congress, talk to friends, family and neighbors, spread the word, and push the truth.

          It will take ALL of us, but we can do it if we are all willing to work and work HARD.

          And keep telling friends, family etc. about Countdown, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Ed Schultz Show, Bill Moyers, etc... raise funds, etc etc etc... President Obama showed us that we can be an effective grassroots organization.

          We got him elected - we can get these guys out of office if we're willing to work together for what's right.

          "Life is defined by how much you improve the lives of others." - Keith Olbermann

          by Diogenes2008 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:09:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  We don't win by marginalizing the Blue Dogs. (7+ / 0-)

          We win by co-opting them, using various pushes and campaigns to by alternativing force and persuasion to move leftwards.  The key is, we don't cut them out, We bring them into our camp, so we have fewer defections.

          In other words, make them BDINOs.

          Reject the drama like Barack Obama!

          by Stephen Daugherty on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:13:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  We are marching steadily in that direction... (3+ / 0-)

          Younger voters are increasingly Democratic, more progressive than older generations.  Progress is often slow, but we are moving in that direction in my opinion.

          Younger voters are more likely to get their information from the Internet.  That also works to the advantage of progressives.

          •  It's NOT linear like that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Something the Dog Said

            Look at the election results from last year, look at any deep political attitude poll, and you'll see vacillations.  Yes, the youngest group 18-29 is the most progressive, but the 30-44 year old group is substantially more conservative not only than the 18-29s but also than the 45-59s.  So there's an oscillation, and relying on a generic march leftward leaves one wide open to the next cohort like today's 30-44s.

            "99% of the battles and skirmishes that we fought in Afghanistan were won by our side." ~ Marshall Akhromeyev

            by ActivistGuy on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:32:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's less a thing of platform (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bablhous, Jimdotz

          and more of a situation from the book Dune.

          Power comes from the willingness to destroy.  The Blue Dogs don't really care to have this reform happen at all, so they are perfectly comfortable adding conditions and terms, because the worst case scenario is that they can just take the ball and walk home.

          The Progressives in the House have it right in this case.  It is a known fact that the health care system has large problems as it is today.  There is just a large disagreement on how to fix it - kill off malpractice suits, eliminate regulations, subsidize the uninsured, create a government competitor, make the government the source of payment, etc. etc.  The new bet from the Progressives is that there is a deep need, even for the Blue Dogs, to return to their districts and claim some kind of "reform" victory for the majority of their ill-informed constituents.  The key for the Blue Dogs is to get plenty of steak sauce on a bad bill.

          But if the Progressives are willing to say "the status quo is better than this train wreck" then there's nothing to put steak sauce on.  And so the Blue Dogs need to figure out a new game.

        •  the platform does not matter nearly as (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Justina, Jimdotz

          much as running progressives in primaries and changing the party that way. That is really the main way to change a party.

          Also, progressives need to run for state wide and national party offices.

          This will be a state by state effort to remake the Dem party.  It takes alot of work and more than a year or two.

      •  Change This Analogy A Little Bit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fool mee once

        The leak is not in your bathroom sink but is instead in a pipe under your foundation.

        You've had a ton of experts come in, you've asked all of them if there is a way to core drill the foundation such that the portion of the pipe which is leaking can be replaced, thereby dodging the bullet on tearing down the house, tearing up the foundation and tearing down the foundation.

        All of these experts have told you it can be done, they have charged you tons of money, and they have cored a bunch of holes -- but in the end you now have a foundation with a bunch of holes in it, less money in the bank, and a leaking pipe under the foundation.

        What do you do? Do you simply sit there in the house and continue to watch the concrete in the foundation crumble? Do you pay for yet another expert to come in, tell you they can fix it, and core another bunch of holes?

        <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

        by superscalar on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:07:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Should Be (0+ / 0-)

          tearing down the house, tearing up the foundation and tearing down the foundation

          tearing down the house, tearing up the foundation and rebuilding the house.

          <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

          by superscalar on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:08:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  let's say that in that house (0+ / 0-)

        there are suddenly a whole bunch of people who've moved in that you do not want and can not get rid of?

        With the collapse of the GOP, just where do you think their politicians are going to go?

        Ask Arlen Specter where the Democratic Party's next batch of Congressional Blue Dog DINOs will be coming from.

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:41:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why don't we just focus on the guys who suck (16+ / 0-)

      and kick their asses out? Let THEM start the new party, or in the case of Blue Dogs, go join the Republicans.

      "Sean Hannity...he's the guy who put the 'a' in moron" - Jed Lewison

      by voracious on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:46:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with you that in the current (6+ / 0-)

      environment a third party is probably not viable.....yet.

      That is why the true first step to forming a third party is two pass a bill that provides for federally funded election campaigns.

      Then any party that met the requirements would have access to the same amount of funds and air time as the one corporate party (with two marketing departments) we have now.

      "I am on nobody's side because nobody is on my side" -Treebeard

      by waf8868 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:50:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would say you have more chance of (8+ / 0-)

        putting a new party together like I detail than getting those laws done at the national level.

      •  IRV would help as well, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a gordon

        but of the two, I think comprehensive finance reform would be more beneficial.

        "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." - Ted Kennedy

        by Lazar on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:38:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ah, no (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Something the Dog Said, soms, renbear

        These programs are designed to exclude third parties, at least in races where any kind of serious funding is available (Maine and Arizona actually have relatively low thresholds to qualify, and races are inexpensive anyways).

        A federal district court judge just tossed out Connecticut's "citizens election program" for precisely that reason (well, the unconstitutional "rescue funds" part didn't help either). You can check it out here: Federal Judge Blocks Taxpayer Financed Political Campaigns in CT

        The current rage among "reformers" is the so-called Fair Elections Now Act. Most of my concerns and problems with the bill probably aren't yours, but here's the analysis my group did of it: Fairly Flawed: Analysis of the 2009 Fair Elections Now Act.

        Check out section 5, dealing with the qualifying requirements. Basically, they're set so high that only incumbents, celebrities, and those with the political establishment behind them have a chance of qualifying. So, third parties can pretty much count on not making it, except for maybe in a few very populous states that have large enough membership bases. I'm thinking, the Conservative Party in NY, maybe a handful of states with well organized Green Parties, could probably get a handful of candidates - maybe.

        No, taxpayer financed political campaigns are not the answer. Because if you just fix the obvious problem of high qualifying standards by putting in low, easy-to-meet standards - well, I for one do not look forward to having 3 Ku Klux Klan candidates in each district funded by my taxpayer dollars, and you can pretty much assume the majority of voters won't either, and that will be the end of that.

        Sean Parnell
        Center for Competitive Politics  

    •  I'd like a Not-A-Bastard plank in the Democratic (4+ / 0-)

      Party Platform.  I think that might solve a lot of the problems that inspire people to consider a third party.  I know if I was to form another party right now, I'd call it the Not A Bastard Party.

      The views expressed above are not necessarily those of the Democratic Party, because I'm broke.

      by Leftcandid on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:09:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IOW Dog, Lead, Follow or get the hell out the way (3+ / 0-)

      Spot on

      This is why it is so critical for those who are to the left of most of the Democratic Party to get off their asses and get into the structure! If there really are enough of us to form a new party, there are more than enough to take over the existing party.

    •  most assuredly tips n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said

      Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

      by valadon on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:48:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, Dog, but this is far too sensible... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said, zizi

      ..for the most vocal supporters of left-wing third parties, who are into it more for the rush of moral self-righteous rather than something as dull as, y'know, actually being in power and doing stuff.

      The biggest bit of nonsense spouted by third party fanciers is that the two-party system is favored by "Corporate America."  Actually, Corporate America favors a thousand-party system, in which 999 parties are on the left, and one is on the right. But they'll settle for what Saint Ralph and his supporters gave them in 2000 -- a right-wing pro-corporate government made possible by a left-wing third party movement that split the progressives into two powerless pieces.

      •  If corporate America favored a thousand parties, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        we would have a thousand parties. - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

        by chuckvw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:30:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If they are that all powerful, they why do you (0+ / 0-)

          bother? Really, if you find it that impossible to change, what is the point of coming here or anywhere on the internet?

          •  That's a good question (0+ / 0-)

   - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

            by chuckvw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:57:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  See, Chuck, I don't believe that you are that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, chuckvw

              cynical. I think you want things to be different but you fear that you can't make a difference. I am here to tell you that you can make a difference, but it never happens as long as you argue for your opponents omnipotence.

              Get a little hope brother, what the hell, all they can do is beat us, but lets make them beat us and not cede the field of battle to them without a single blow struck, eh?

              •  First of all, I appreciate your sincerity (3+ / 0-)

                and I mean no disrespect.  I am no more cynical now than I was 40 years ago when I was getting arrested at anti-war demonstrations, or when I was a very lonely Virginia poll watcher for Mcgovern.  I have a long and nuanced relationship with the Democratic Party.

                I will continue to support progressive candidates, most of whom will be Democrats, but I am a progressive first and always.  I will go where my principles and values lead me.

                History is full of surprises.  If one believed the grownups and experts, the Berlin Wall would be celebrating its 49th anniversary this year, and, for that matter, we'd be singing God Save the Queen before the game.

       - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

                by chuckvw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:22:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  So corporate America likes the EPA, the FDA (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Something the Dog Said

          ...and minimum wage and eight hour work days and the many hundreds of other gains for workers and consumers made possible by generations of activists and progressive politicians?  Yes, business interests are extremely powerful.  But all powerful?  Yes, it is very hard to fight them.  But impossible?   They'd love you to believe that but history tells us otherwise.

    •  I'm sick of "this is all we've got"... (5+ / 0-)

      ... or can have as a rational, a poor excuse, to continue to roll in corruption and in the hands of an unrepresentative economic elite.

      I'll not ad my support to this phony change and reform dog and pony show. I'd rather burn the system to the ground and start over than continue claim to be a part of what I and the vast majority of the American people have no voice in.

      Real change means change from the ground up not trying to play within the rules put in place by the national parties and controlled by an elite that have no intention of real reform or change. Real change means rewriting the rules from the precinct up. Real change mean not cooperating in any form or fashion with the grifters now running the system.

      They, the parties, structure and leadership, have had their chance and failed miserably and continue to do so day after day, and refuse to get out of the way. To hell with them or anywhere else with them, we should just get them completely out of our political lives. At this point it is unrealistic and foolish to believe anything can be accomplished from within the system and especially under its rules, which were designed to eliminate political reform and or competition.

      I’m also sick of what appear to be apologist diaries for a sick and corrupt system that has no intention of change or reform that serve only as a sorry attempt to create a little more consensus for what is daily destroying the working middle classes of this country and enthroning and international corporate financial elite under the guise of the neo-Liberal/conservative label of Globalism. This political system does not deserve and has not earned any more chances...

      The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

      by Bobjack23 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:59:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Burning it to the ground is the idea of those (0+ / 0-)

        who don't want to work to earn leadership. It is the lazy mans solution to everything. It demands that the whole world be shaken up so that those who think they deserve to be on top but don't want to put in the effort can get there.

        If that is how you feel, you have the outlines of what it takes to make a new party. Go! Astound me at how wrong I am about the viability of a liberal third party. But don't wait, you have a shit load of work to do.

        •  I don't know... (0+ / 0-)

          our country was founded on a revolution.  Maybe not so much with the burning...but I too feel like working with the in the current system isn't working.

          "Only now with the advent of potato day has tyranny come to our shores." - Jon Stewart

          by methinshaw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:37:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  3rd party is tough, even if split is at the top (0+ / 0-)

          Having a few grass roots activists splitting the party at the bottom is unlikely to work.  Historically splits with leaders that already have national recognition have had the most influence, and even someone of Theodore Roosevelt's standing could fail, so it is still a long shot.   Furthermore, I think the election methods used in the U.S. drive us to a 2 party solution, and our legislature's committee assignment model also rewards a 2 party system.  On a side note, while I'm not entirely happy with the 2 party system, I am not sure that having many small parties and coalition governments is better.

          •  Many countries are faring well... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a gordon


            I am not sure that having many small parties and coalition governments is better.

            ...this which most call a parliamentary system and it appears to be far more democratic and harder to subvert than our outmoded, totally corrupted by corporate money, system.

            The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

            by Bobjack23 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:25:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Necessity dictates doable courses of action... (0+ / 0-)

          As for this:

          Burning it to the ground is the idea of those who don't want to work to earn leadership It demands that the whole world be shaken up so that those who think they deserve to be on top but don't want to put in the effort can get there.

          That is pure personal opinion and or conjecture based on no supportable data, not to mention being a personal insult, which by its nature earns this...Sit on it and spin.

          The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

          by Bobjack23 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:19:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I fully second this n/t (0+ / 0-)

        the day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution- paul cezanne

        by green minute on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:51:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not unless we start a REVOLUTION! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said

      It's time librls! ;) I mean it.

      the day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution- paul cezanne

      by green minute on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:31:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  tip? OK, always take wooden nickels (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they're collectibles, and "they ain't makin' any more of them.

      That said, I'm sure that there were quite a few people who gave the identical political advice to the chairman of the Illinois State Whig Party when he decided to quit his job in favor of starting a new national party. Were they right? That chairman's name was Abraham Lincoln and his "minor third party" got him to the White House.

      The value of your diary is that it's one of the few honest and accurate descriptions I've seen of what a massive PITA it would be to start a new party. It's bad enough that we actually should give some thought to taking over the Green Party to get its ballot slots.

      What your diary does NOT take into account that unless and possibly even if the Democratic Party is seen to visibly screw the pooch on the economy and health care, the party Abe Lincoln helped found is collapsing.

      Spector is not going to be the last Republican to defect to the Democrats without changing either a single bad political idea or a single corporate special interest group he represents. We're going to find elected Republicans defecting by the hundreds. And centrist DINOs are going to welcome them because with enough corporate-friendly "New Democrats", they can exclude progressives from any public policy discussion in government. They won't have to deal with us to get legislation passed.

      IOW, the Democratic Party is about to become the official party of the corporate right, replacing a GOP on which Big Business is no longer going to waste money trying to prop up. Is this trend for real? Ask Glenn Beck where his corporate sponsors are going.

      With the end of the GOP, we're going to need a second major political party if progressives are going to participate meaningfully in public debate.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:34:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You assume there will not be a Right wing party (0+ / 0-)

        formed from the ashes of the Republicans. That is a bad assumption. Corporate interests are always going to be uneasy that the Dems might actually toss them to the curb. They would rather have a new Right of Center Party and that is what they will get with their money.

        •  I certainly do assume that there will be (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, greeseyparrot

          a corporate-right party.

          It's going to be the Democrats.

          It sort of has to be. Big business is no more eager to spend the time and money it takes to build a new corporate party from scratch than we are to build a progressive party, and they've already got a seat at the table on Capitol Hill and at the White House. In fact, some might say that for practical purposes, they own the damn tables.

          The shift in K Street dollars has already happened. IMO, the only reason why Republicans still get K Street bucks are to make sure that the health and environmental legislation in Congress are massive corporate giveaways.

          Do you REALLY think that big business interests are the least bit uncomfortable in dealing with people like Rahm and Reid? Or that more ex-GOP politicians following Spector's lead won't make them even happier to help out their Democratic Party friends?

          Your concern that big business interests will be worried about remaining political ideals and idealists in the Democratic Party is IMO, unfounded. Ideals and idealists can easily be corrupted by determined people with serious money. Remember, the GOP has gone from "the party that freed the slaves" to the party of "N*****, N*****, N*****, and that's happened in the last couple of generations.

          Political change now happens in Internet time.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:10:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  proportional representation... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gordon, Something the Dog Said

      is the one and only way a splinter party works.

      The only thing to do is for progressives to emulate Goldwater's call for the right to take the GOP away from it's pro-business masters. A good republican landslide ought to make that possible.

      Too many books, too little time. . . .

      by papicek on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:38:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Amen. This is why they call this the REALITY site (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said
    •  And, on the flip side... (0+ / 0-)

      Could it maybe be to our democratic nation's benefit if the Dems made at least a symbolic gesture of inclusion to the Libertarians?

      Further split the Republican membership by possibly including Libertarian candidates in the 2010 elections?

      And paint the Dem party even more as pro-inclusion pro-democracy in the process?

      After all, wasn't Joe the plumber more Libertarian than Republican? Muhahahahahaha!

    •  Ralphie should have read this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said

      Instead of his one-man crusade to muck up presidential campaigns.

      grok the "edku" -- edscan's "revelation", 21 January 2009

      by N in Seattle on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:26:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You dog, you! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said

      Good work.

      "Not the truth in whose possession any man is, or thinks he is, but the honest effort he has made to find out the truth, is what consitutes the worth of man."

      by Lying eyes on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:19:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  who are you arguing against? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't see people running around here calling for another 3rd party or to split the democratic party.  I think you spent a lot of time typing against a strawman.

      Can we bitch about "blue-cross" dems, dems that voted to invade Iraq, dems that failed us on illegal wiretapping or the patriot act, without appearing to start another third party?  Yes we can!  In fact we have to.  If we didn't we wouldn't have won the house, senate or white house.   Now we have to hold those elected to the progressive agenda they promised.

      If anything, we progressives in our party are trying prevent a "split" in our party between our actions and our rhetoric.  We want to lead our politicians the same we we lead them to victories, and not let them be misled by the same clowns that were happy to mis-lead the republicans when they controlled Washington.

      My political compass: Economic: -7.38 Social: -5.79

      by musicalhair on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:33:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  who in the not-so-right (16+ / 0-)

    fucking mind is advocating such a thing?
    It's a surefire portent to disaster.
    Anyhow,great diary you have here.

    •  Well, there is a blogger by the handle of (17+ / 0-)

      Rusty1776 over at DocuDharma who is constantly floating it. There are others at other blogs I post at.

    •  There are an amazing number of people (18+ / 0-)
      There are quite a few people who are in, what might be called, the left wing of the Democratic Party, who are very impatient and think that Obama has sold everybody out and are now sorry they voted for him and think the Democrats are too willing to compromise with Republicans and the swing voters.  They want more sharp and cutting remarks like those that Ralph Nader gives coming from the President.  Some of these people are calling for a rejection of the Democratic Party and going with either the Green or another third party.  

      They believe that the US is not getting out of Iraq fast enough and are in a pretty foul mood.  They say that Obama is already an abject failure as President.

      A lot of these people seem to have taken over the forums over at the news alternative website.  A lot of that sort of sentiment can be found here on Daily Kos.  

      I tend to think that Obama is in a tremendously difficult position and to be able to govern as President, he has to walk a tight rope over an alligator pit.  There has almost never been this degree of animosity and unfairness aimed at a President, except possibly for Kennedy.  I remember the atmosphere of hatred that pervaded the environment in those days.  It may be a major factor in getting him killed.

      Obama is mindful of history.  He is also mindful of the situation he is in and as far as I can see is playing it mostly right.  No one is perfect, however.  

      I think the main problem is that some people in Congress need to be reminded of Profiles in Courage.  

      •  I wonder how many of them (6+ / 0-)

        Are true progressives... and how many are right-wingers looking to sow discord among progressives?

        I'm not saying it is a majority, by any means... but I have noticed that the right-wing propaganda is stickier than Elmer's Glue, oftentimes.

        "Some people say" often ends up being "some progressives say" if we're not careful.  

        "Life is defined by how much you improve the lives of others." - Keith Olbermann

        by Diogenes2008 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:42:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very small, really. The left has always (7+ / 0-)

          been good at eating it's siblings, it doesn't require ringers.

          •  True (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tinfoil Hat, soms, Dixie Liberal

            But:  There are those out there who love to sow discord.  I've SEEN them.  

            One who pretended to be a progressive (on another site), calling Obama "our candidate" while subtly putting him down.

            The problem with this was that some of us remembered him from before - and he was a rabid Republican.  It was just a ruse, to try to get new members of the forum to believe he really was progressive, and then slowly turn them off to Barack Obama.

            We hit him, and hit him HARD... letting the newbies know that this guy was nothing more than a shill and a liar.  

            So yeah - I think there might be some here, doing precisely the same thing this asshole tried to do.

            "Life is defined by how much you improve the lives of others." - Keith Olbermann

            by Diogenes2008 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:05:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  a few. There's always dirty tricks going on (4+ / 0-)

              But there's little doubt that the vast majority are home grown.

              •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Something the Dog Said, soms, nickrud

                But it only takes a few people to spoil an attitude... it's that of the bully saying "Oh, you don't want to hang out with HIM... he's not 'cool'."

                And far too many people will fall in line if they believe that others will think less of them.  Peer pressure is very strong, unless you have a strong mind and the will to resist it.

                I know I will never be truly "popular" (and I don't give a rat's behind) because I will always - ALWAYS - stand up for those I believe in, regardless of the circumstances.

                Whether it is Keith Olbermann, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, President Obama or whomever - I will stand up for them if they are being reviled.  And I will never apologize for that fact.

                "Life is defined by how much you improve the lives of others." - Keith Olbermann

                by Diogenes2008 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:18:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I am a true progressive who regards... (5+ / 0-)

          Obama as an impotent moderate and I regard the demo leadership as to be so deep in the corporate pocket as to be useless.  I came to these conclusions after watching them all bow down and give it up over and over.

          I am not a RW troll and I do not get my talking points from whomever, and there are a lot of democrats, all of whom contributed to, and voted for, Obama, who feel the same way.

          If he pulls the same shit that Clinton did, of whoring out party principles for corporate cash, then this party is, again, headed down the tubes.

          As far as I can tell, that is just what Obama is doing.

          The ekpyrotic theory hypothesizes that the origin of the observable universe occurred when two parallel branes collided.

          by rubine on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:37:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  O.k., you're certain correct the fact of the Dem (0+ / 0-)

            Party being up the ass of the corporations and Wall St., but the only answer is still reform from within.

            The fact still remains that the Party is a vehicle that we're stuck with, even as we need to work hard to purge it of the faux moderates and actual right-wingers, as well as the large percentage of purely mercenary corporatist shills.  

            It CAN be done!  We almost took out Tail-gunner Joe in CT, and we can do things like that again, even if the bad guys win this round.  I like you am also a true progressive who nonetheless acknowledges The Dog's (diarist's) point that organizing a complete alternative in the system as it is presently constituted, is nigh buy impossible.  

            So the IRONY, however, is that we ignore the carping accusations of "Democrats being great at turning on themselves" and we do just that:  We turn on the traitors like Baucus and the rest of the Blue Dogs, and tell Rahm to go suck an egg when the WH looks like it's betraying the principles it was elected for, and work to get more progressives in positions of influence.  

            It's the only way, and it's going to take time.  No short cuts available, sad to say, and embracing megalomaniac shitheads like Nader is a fool's hope, and only splits the votes in elections handed to the REALLY bad guys.

            "I once asked a literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, 'Ransom notes.'" - Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm in "Get Shorty"

            by Vtdblue on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:38:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  When I think of Congress I (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buckhorn okie, soms

        think of people who won't have courage. They would, however, be stimulated by judicious use of a potato, crème de cassis, a sharp stick, and chili.

        Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

        by Dauphin on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:42:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They are not reality based (7+ / 0-)

        Personally they will never produce results like a Teddy Kennedy did, because he was tireless in his fight in the situation at hand, and not just leaving the party to do it his way.

        He kept his principles, but worked with the hand that he as dealt, and sometimes he won, and sometimes he lost, but he never stopped working.

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King

        by pinkbunny on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:47:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Boy is this part of your statement wrong (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greeseyparrot, soms, DawnoftheRedSun

        They want more sharp and cutting remarks

        They want results.

        The crooks are leaving have left office, unprosecuted and scot-free.

        by BentLiberal on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:58:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm trying to be patient with Obama... (0+ / 0-)

        and the Democrats.  But when they do things that will help Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, it really makes me start feeling like maybe I'm being deceived.

        It's so obvious to us that the Republicans use the social conservatives to get their big-business agenda passed, but what if the Democrats are trying to do the same damn thing to us?

        I haven't completely lost hope but...kind of discouraged.  

        "Only now with the advent of potato day has tyranny come to our shores." - Jon Stewart

        by methinshaw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:53:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, it would be cause for (5+ / 0-)

      celebration if there were a decent-sized RIGHT WING party splitting off from the GOP. That'd decimate their numbers in Congress, and ensure a Democratic in the White House for a generation or two.

      I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

      by doc2 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:48:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cenk Uygur mentioned the idea recently (0+ / 0-)

      in a fit of exasperation over health care.

      "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." - Ted Kennedy

      by Lazar on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:39:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Proving himself to be a (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew, Something the Dog Said, soms

        self absorbed blowhard rather than a serious analyst of politics.

        Sometimes the self absorbed blowhards say things that sound like real insight so people mistake one for the other.

        When people begin listening too much to self absorbed blowhards it generally means their ideas aren't going to go very far.  Case in point would be republicans listening to self absorbed blowhard Rush Limbaugh: since he became the de facto leader of their party they've crumbled to about 20%.

        •  Sorry, NO: Cenk and others are expressing genuine (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Justina, zett, Lazar

          frustration and legitimate despair over the actions of their Party.  And while he may have spoken foolishly, or at least ill-advisedly, about doing a GBCW with the Democratic Party, his progressive perspectives are more often than not spot-on.  

          The "My Party, Right or Wrong" sentiment that you seem to be pushing here is just as corrosive to the Democratic- AND progressive causes in the end.  If we do not force the Dems to be the Party of the working stiff and middle class, and allow them to continue to kiss the asses of the corporations and conservatives, then everyone goes down with the ship.

          Cenk and the rest will, hopefully, come to terms with the realities of American electoral politics, and begin to channel their well-merited anger toward kicking out the prostitutes from the only Party that is viable to oppose the Barbarian Party.  

          "I once asked a literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, 'Ransom notes.'" - Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm in "Get Shorty"

          by Vtdblue on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:47:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You miss the point (0+ / 0-)

            It's not "my party right or wrong" at all.  In the first place it's our party and it will take more than one or two election cycles to change it very much.  Each time we set ourselves apart from it (like Cenk did) we reduce our value to it and our capacity to change it.  To me that's just pure narcissistic stupidity.

            We won't force anybody to do anything by blathering at them.  Out of a hundred million or so voters, nobody cares very much about a few dorks wanting to take their toys and go home (most people find that sadly humorous and pathetic).  Sometimes that's useful, but generally not so much.  If we want to get people to do the things we want them to do, we'll have to convince more people that our points of view are better than somebody else's.  In other words we need to get the most votes and elect the best candidates.  That only comes from work, for expressing ourselves persuasively, from organizing.  Not from being holier than them.

            Better than kicking out the prostitutes would be (since we're stuck with them for the short term) convincing them that it's in their best interests to side with us.  Down the road, fine, replace them.  That will take a lot of work too (maybe even more than winning them over for a crucial vote here and there).  Right now that gets us exactly nowhere.  We will never see a time when everyone agrees with us, so what we most need to do is make ourselves so indispensable that a majority feels like going along.

            •  Only way you can change their behavior (0+ / 0-)

              is if they have something to lose.

              We won't force anybody to do anything by blathering at them.  Out of a hundred million or so voters, nobody cares very much about a few dorks wanting to take their toys and go home (most people find that sadly humorous and pathetic).  Sometimes that's useful, but generally not so much.

              So if it's so useless to "blather" at them, and nobody listens to us anyway, WHY is it that so many people on this blog are so adamant that those of us who do speak up against the corporatists STFU??  If it doesn't matter, why all the condemnation?

              Basically, what you're saying is that there's little we can do, so we might as well keep quiet so as not to jeopardize our already shaky position and lose Democrats at the polls.  Seriously man, that's such a fatalistic viewpoint.  You don't "convince" Blue Dogs to side with you by entreaty.

              I and many others here believe the ONLY way you get politicians to change their ways is to suggest there will be consequences -- carrots and particularly sticks.  Leaving the Party is an extreme version of that, but campaigning against them, giving money to their opponents, and yes, threatening to vote them out of office are the ONLY ways that Democracy works.

              "I once asked a literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, 'Ransom notes.'" - Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm in "Get Shorty"

              by Vtdblue on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 08:56:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Some of us don't see the point (0+ / 0-)

                of blather.  

                Not at all saying there's little you can do, just that blathering is basically useless.

                Fr'instance, why not go persuade somebody instead?  That's what we need, more support for this, not more of us acting petulant.

                Dunno, does somebody (like Hannity, maybe?) yelling at you that you're a commie, or whatever, do anything to change your mind?  Never does much for me.  The best way to persuade anybody to side with you is to find a community of interest.  Offer support (contingent on support).  

                Always looking for a negating solution seems unproductive to me.  If we want to build a better stronger party, it'll be be from positive work we do, alliances we build, not having hissy fits and yelling at people (that is, by the way, what teabaggers do and it ain't working for them).

                It's important to remember that politics is about all of us, not about you or even us (progressives or democrats).  It's about every citizen and getting as many of them as possible to agree to the best deal we can make.

                •  Oh, c'MON! You're not seriously comparing (0+ / 0-)

                  progressives complaining about specific policy positions by Democrats to effing HANNITY, are you?  Wow... guess there's nothing left to say to that. Why not compare us to Hitler and get it over with?

                  Bottom line: Your "blather" is our democratic political pressure and conveyance of our displeasure at the positions of our elected representatives, which, if they want to get reelected, they all recognize is a serious thing to be considered.  This country was built on open public dialogue, not S'ingTFU.

                  "I once asked a literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, 'Ransom notes.'" - Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm in "Get Shorty"

                  by Vtdblue on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 09:59:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Whiners are a lot like other whiners (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Something the Dog Said

                    purists are a lot like other purists regardless of where they sit in the political spectrum.  Draw your own conclusions from that.  

                    I'm not telling anybody to shut up, merely questioning the efficacy of what they're saying and the real motivations behind it.  That to me is part of the activist discourse.  Does this help our cause, or not?  I feel like that's a very legitimate question.

                    I understand a lot of people want the political process to be about them, they have a need to project themselves (and their egos) onto the process.  They rationalize this with trite phrases about "holding feet to the fire" and "drawing lines in the sand(box)", as if their opinions meant much of anything to 350 million other americans.  These kinds of people never like hearing anything about how democracy actually works: if something isn't the way they like it they want to yell a lot and throw tantrums, they want to feel holier and more righteous than other folks.  Some would rather sulk and feel martyred than do any of the small things that make life somewhat better for the fellow citizens.

                    But in the end politics is about everybody, about getting more votes, more representation, and the only way to do that is by changing the minds of the people who disagree with ones views in order to form a more perfect consensus.  I don't see the blather doing that.  Particularly not in an echo chamber.  To me those who blather and celebrate blather demonstrate themselves to be self absorbed blowhards or wannabe SABs rather than genuinely productive contributors to the goals of our political activity.

                    When somebody like Cenk wants to quit the party because it's not living up to his projections, what he's saying to me is that in the end his ego is more important to him than being whatever part he can be of making our country and our party a better place.  Just like a brat who takes his ball and goes home because some other kid gets to play quarterback.

                    The politics of selfrighteous outrage?  I'm sick to death of it after watching the other team play it for the last couple of decades.  I don't respect it any more from those I agree on issues with than from those I don't.

                    •  You ought to do a diary about that. It is a good (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      point we need to make more often.

                      •  Thanks. I get falmed for this on a daily basis. (0+ / 0-)

                        I'm not the GBCW type, but I've been spending less and less time around here these last couple of months because I feel like a lot of us (majorities many days) want to be just like redstate.  Sometimes it feels like trying to inject reality into the proceedings is as foolish as shoveling shit against the tide.

                        BTW, I really loved this diary.  Clever, sly, and insightful.  Thank you.

                    •  Listen to yourself, dude. "Self-righteous" is (0+ / 0-)

                      an automatically biased word.  When you were unhappy and complaining about depravities of the Bush administration -- like lying us into a war, torture, shredding the constitution, etc., were you being "self-righteous"?  Or perhaps you considered it your patriotic duty to complain for the sake of yourself and the rest of the country.

                      THAT's all we're doing now.  We're NOT saying Obama is Dubya, but Obama IS a politician, and in a free society, politicians need to hear from their constituents if they are fucking up.  We are "blathering" about issues that in fact DO effect 350 million Americans, and Cenk and many of us feel the Democratic Party is in the pocket of corporations.  I do not believe we have the ability to leave the Party, given the electoral structure of this country.  But I thoroughly understand the frustration with it.

                      So I would ask you again: How do you manage, aside from framing it with your own subjective perceptions, to distinguish "blather" from "robust public dialogue" and that silly constitutional "petitioning the government for redress"?

                      ... yeah, I thought so.

                      "I once asked a literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, 'Ransom notes.'" - Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm in "Get Shorty"

                      by Vtdblue on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 09:10:35 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  When we're trying to get them out of office (0+ / 0-)

                        during election season, it has a point.  When we're a disempowered minority (as during the Bush years) it also has a point.

                        Right now, these are the people we have to work with, the only government in town.  I'm not saying they're great or even much less than horrendous (giving the horrendous championship to the previous administration and the congress that enabled them).  But right now, if we're gonna get a PO, Heath Shuler et al have a lot more ability to DO something than Cenk or some other bloviator does.  

                        So yeah, I question whether Cenk's (and he's far from the only one) I'm gonna hold my breath till I turn blue approach contributes anything at all toward achieving our goal.  It may make some residents of the echo chamber feel important, but aside from that, it isn't really doing anything.  Smarter, less self referenced people are out working on swaying the people who don't agree with us, the votes we need to convert to win this.  They aren't doing that by yelling at them, by issuing impotent threats (yeah, right, Cenk's gonna start a new party when he gets off his fat ass and turns off his video camera).  They just fucking aren't.

                        Go get some blue dog to come over to our team.  Call or write to people in their districts.  That actually makes a difference.  Hosting a martyrfest, nope.

                        Next year, do some fundraising, canvassing, volunteering and get better people elected.  Right now, talking about doing that, does very little to advance anything because the people whose votes will make difference THIS YEAR have already been elected.

                        You want to blather, fine.  You have every right.  If you want me to think it's productive, different story.  

                        Selfrighteous?  To me that's when the politics are about one person's or one group's opinion instead of making the entirety of the body politic function.  Easy distinction actually.  Somebody writing or saying things that persuade more people to support our cause(s), that's robust public dialogue.  Someone throwing a hissy fit and wanting to take their ball and go home, that's blather and nothing else.

                        •  It's all about straw men with you, isn't it? (0+ / 0-)

                          That was the ONE instance when Cenk deviated from his otherwise spirited but incisive analysis, and you're fixated on it.  I'm sure, however, you're highly critical of Glenn Greenwald, Krugman, and others who make extremely well-informed critiques of Democratic as well as Republican positions.  You are little better than the Freepers if you think that maintaining some mythical monolithic Party position is even possible.  

                          And your "self-righteous... hissy fit" is another's defense of liberty, the constitution, the right to economic prosperity, health care, and yes, free speech.  Guess it's like pornography for you: You know it when you see it.

                          "I once asked a literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, 'Ransom notes.'" - Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm in "Get Shorty"

                          by Vtdblue on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 11:33:52 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Krugman makes his points (0+ / 0-)

                            I think he's right most of the time.  I'd call myself a fan of his.  But he's not actually in politics.  He doesn't have to answer to anyone for anything.  In any case he's a real nobel prize winning economist, not a self appointed pundit.  He achieved his position through merit, not through self promotion.

                            I think Greenwald's just a narcissistic blowhard, not happy unless he's carved out some space in the discourse that makes him feel special.  Has he ever done anything but preach to the choir?

                            Cenk is where this began, I've been sticking to it.  Nobody made him write that, it was his idea.  To me it shows what's most important to him.  Another choir preacher IMO.  Masturbating his ass off to the cheers of the faithful.

                            I'd be way more impressed if they used their verbal gifts to change minds, to make a difference instead of bitching about there not being enough difference for them.  BTW, there will likely never be enough difference to suit me until private property is abolished.  In the meantime I, poor and uninsured, want access to a doctor.

                            And you keep missing the point (quite willfully I spoze).  This isn't about being monolithic, it's about "what are we accomplishing?"  Is this a highschool civics debate (the level at which Cenk and Greenwald participate) or is it real life for real people?  If it's real life for real people, what difference is Cenk or Greenwald making?  Particularly when they're throwing selfrighteous hissy fits that are all about them and not about reality.

                            So, tell me, what difference are Cenk and Greenwald making in getting the PO passed?  Do they communicate anything to anyone who doesn't already agree with them?  I don't think so.  Do they organize?  No.  Do they make deals with hard to budge reps?  No.  Do they craft arguments that win over fence sitters?  No.  Do they win elections?  No, they just blather.

                          •  Greenwald's a constitutional scholar, if you must (0+ / 0-)

                            ask, so he has considerable expertise.  You're making a simplistic either-or argument that EVERYONE has to be organizing in the trenches.  Cenk and Greenwald and Krugman and many others all make well-reasoned arguments inform, and that might indeed inspire people to action.  You are either an Eeyore, bordering on troll, if you think Hannity and those folks are the same, or just tremendously naive about the power of persuasion in a good argument.  

                            You have failed repeatedly here to distinguish blather from incisive commentary, and if you want affordable healthcare, which clearly you do, you need to recognize (or not) that the informed pundits you disparage have a role just as the in-the-trenches organizers like nyceve and slinkerwink do.  Maybe THEY should also be disparaged for their "high school civics debate" bitching and blather?  Your "masterbating" is another's reasoned argument, but you tip your troll hand by comparing intelligent progressive voices with shitheads like Hannity.

                            "I once asked a literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, 'Ransom notes.'" - Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm in "Get Shorty"

                            by Vtdblue on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 05:55:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

  •  As Inventor pointed out (6+ / 0-)

    above, we have to consider the national level.

    Consider: The Republican Party only has the trust of approximately the population of Deliverance. If they do not reform themselves they may slide into history.

    On the other hand, the battle between the Blue Dogs and progressives is fierce in the Democratic Party. Which faction will win is anyone's guess. If the progressives win, we have our progressive party. If the Blue Dogs (saner Republicans) win, we have demand for a new party.

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:36:19 PM PDT

  •  Depends on your goal. (4+ / 0-)

    If you want to creat a little machine that keeps a few donations coming in, this is the way to go.  Also, if you like to see "Candidate for -----" next to your name, this is also a good way. If you wish to make some philosphical point that you think isn't being adequately addressed, by all means do it.

    If you want to win office and help make policy, this sucks doneky.

    Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

    by bugscuffle on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:36:25 PM PDT

  •  let's call it (8+ / 0-)

    the happy birthday party! we may not win anything, but we can wear funny hats and eat cake!

  •  Already been done (3+ / 0-)

    It's called The Green Party.  Sure they've done a few stupid things, but all in all, they are the party further to the left than Democrats many people are looking for.

    "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

    by Futuristic Dreamer on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:37:21 PM PDT

  •  Nice idea (4+ / 0-)

    But very unlikely to work in the United States.

    Glenn Beck seems the very essence of a one-clown pie fight. His brain wears gigantic puffy shoes and comes with a bicycle horn. -- Hunter

    by Page van der Linden on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:39:56 PM PDT

  •  I'd rather the progressives (6+ / 0-)

    take over the Democratic Party.

    The machinery's already there, and the looks on your faces would be priceless. :-)

  •  Moving the country to the left (8+ / 0-)

    is best a process that doesn't involve "party" work whatsoever.    Both trying to build a new "third" party in isolation, or trying to move the Democratic Party to the left from the inside are losers' games.  The first because the duopoly has built barriers to entry that are virtually insurmountable, the second because the Dem imperative on winning every possible office now preclude any serious movement to the left from ever happening as a matter of internal self-development.  In fact, the Dem Party has never in its history moved to the left as a result of internal institutional climbing.

    Want to move things left?  Then do what has always worked to do so.  Build progressive social movements and their institutional organs of power outside the party structures and force the parties to come to terms with independent popular power.  Then watch things change.  It worked for the labor movement, it worked for the civil rights movement, it worked for the feminist movement, I don't see what keeps it from working for a movement for social and economic justice today either.

    "99% of the battles and skirmishes that we fought in Afghanistan were won by our side." ~ Marshall Akhromeyev

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:41:45 PM PDT

    •  most pertinent argument yet. Except (0+ / 0-)

      instead of the vacous 'social and economic justice' focus on specifics, as those movements did.

      •  I don't put my self in position (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to be the arbiter of what the specifics of what movements should focus on should be, though I don't view economic and social justice as "vacuous" objectives.  But those specifics necessarily develop organically, and those engaged in the founding of hem are likely to be inspired by broader visions and motivations.  Remember who it was that were the main driving forces in the founding and building of the labor movement after all.

        "99% of the battles and skirmishes that we fought in Afghanistan were won by our side." ~ Marshall Akhromeyev

        by ActivistGuy on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:12:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There are serious limits to that strategy. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The most important being that opponents will use the government's power to retard or destroy any challenge to their authority.

      Regardless of form, there must be a solid electoral component in movement politics.

      They tortured people
      To get false confessions
      To fraudulently justify
      Invasion of Iraq!
      -Seneca Doane

      by James Kresnik on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:33:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the early phases that makes no difference (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If such movements should be successful enough to reach a stage where such questions do make a difference, by definition they will have achieved a critical mass that will force politicians and then parties to react to their presence.  Then it becomes the classic matter of rewarding friends and punishing enemies, tempered by the understanding that there are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.

        "99% of the battles and skirmishes that we fought in Afghanistan were won by our side." ~ Marshall Akhromeyev

        by ActivistGuy on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:14:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The activitst stage is well underway. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Progressive activists have been developing an effective infrastructure since the Dean campaign. With organizations such as DFA and MoveOn, we are well past the 'early phase.'

          We have the formations and effective techniques. What the progrsssive/left-libertarian coalition needs now is a coherent and clearly deliniated electoral slate that can stand up to corporatist influence and corporate media assault.

          If we can make this work with the political duopoly, then that's great. If we are rebuffed by the party elites - especially when they work in open defiance of the voter's mandate - then it is more effective to split.

          They tortured people
          To get false confessions
          To fraudulently justify
          Invasion of Iraq!
          -Seneca Doane

          by James Kresnik on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:15:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  while there's something to what you say (0+ / 0-)

      noticed any public slave auctions in even the reddest of Red States lately? The reason why there aren't any is because a large portion of the Whigs went third-party... enough that the Whig Party ceased to exist, replaced by a Republican Party whose official purpose was to free the slaves.

      They succeeded.

      Doing this was a lot more difficult in a day when information was something that lived on paper and moved on horse-drawn wagons and trains wasn't easy, but they made it work anyway.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:26:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right conclusion. (4+ / 0-)

    major parties have things pretty wired, law-wise.  Much better to hold your noes (sic?) and dive in with the party that exists.

  •  It's all well and good to tell folks to either (7+ / 0-)

    fix the party or build their own, but lots of folks (approximately 50%, on average) choose the third option of just sitting out politics altogether. Sure, we can scorn those folks and high five each other about how they deserve what they get and politics will take an interest in them etc, but it's a choice nonetheless, and a rather rational one at that. Just a reminder that most things in life are rarely either/or.

    "All wars end with talking." - CKendall.

    by haruki on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:43:46 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for such a wonderful common sense diary! (3+ / 0-)

    We waste too much time on party infighting and arguing on the approach and notion of ideology.

    Principles are important yes, but so are results! We need to focus on working hard to get the work done.

    It's not easy and it won't happen overnight, but if everything in life was easy, it would have already been done.

    Let's focus on what needs to get done!

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King

    by pinkbunny on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:44:02 PM PDT

  •  Precisely, Dog. (4+ / 0-)

    Nothing to add to this.  Anyone wishing to start another leftward party should read this before they commit one blue cent to start up.

    You want trouble? Well, you're gonna get trouble.

    by vcthree on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:48:50 PM PDT

  •  The problem as I see it is a party that is moving (9+ / 0-)

    to the right or staying in place while much of its base is moving to the left.

    I would agree, in an ideal situation, one would try to influence the existing party by working within it, but the problem is a perception of a Party that is out of touch both with its base and with its local apparatuses.

    And to the degree that the Party is being added to, it's being added to by disaffected self-styled moderates, independents and Republicans.

    What the answer is, I don't know, but one thing that I might agree with with the libertarians is that the laws that prevent third parties from coming into existence and making a difference are too restrictive.  If things don't change a great deal, an Unholy Alliance is a possibility to get that changed.

    We talk about how this is a two party system and there is much truth in that, exactly what you talk about.

    But this is not a ONE party system and that's what I see the current political situation devolving to.

    In 15 years, I see the Republican Party as being gone.  A tiny minority in Congress.

    And if it becomes a one party system with the Democrats as being that one party, that's bad -- very bad.  They need to and will become the new right wing party .. next to .. what?

    I'm not saying I have the answers to these questions, but a single relatively right wing party in this country is dangerous and not an option in the long term.

    "I'm sorry, I just don't have the votes" - Me, sometime in November, 2010 (-6.62, -6.26)

    by AndyS In Colorado on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:51:32 PM PDT

    •  Progressives vs Fiscal Pragmatists (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AndyS In Colorado, keikekaze

      that is what will happen if the GOP goes Whig.

      At least, as far as I see it, and as far as I can hope.

      If you had a national break down of

      Progressive 40-50%

      Fiscal Pragmatist Dems 30-40%

      Neo-Con 15-25%

      That would just be fine by me

      The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

      by MinistryOfTruth on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:58:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What do parties do, anyway? Maybe the future (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AndyS In Colorado, James Kresnik

      model bypasses the party system.

      As more and more Americans become disenchanted with the government, it will become more difficult to pit Republicans against Democrats.

      •  Unless you are talking about Direct Democracy . . (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chuckvw, AndyS In Colorado, sweeper

        I don't see it happening.

        And I always say, the best political advertisement is GOOD GOVERNANCE, if the Dems can do it, they will benefit from it.

        The fastest way to lose people is to be slightly less crappy then the other guys, that is what turns people off, IMHO.

        The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

        by MinistryOfTruth on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:02:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Somehow grass roots fundraising could play into (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Kresnik, MinistryOfTruth

          this.  Beat the crooks at their own game.

        •  agreed, and that's where we're headed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AndyS In Colorado, sweeper

          I'm not abandoning the dems, but it seems clear that we're doing exactly what you warn about.

          This thing will be a balacning act.  as kos has said in recent days, right now we're done with "more" Democrats and need to focus on the "better" Democrats piece.  We've seen that there is no magic number where suddenly progressive policies get passed.  So if we get down to 56 Senators by losing a couple of DINOS, then we do.  But maybe we don't want to get down to 52-53.

          Like I said, a balancing act.  It's sort of a crappy situation, but it's better than all the alternatives, like trying to form a third party or bailing on the whole concept of political involvement.

          That said, I'd love it if we took away some of the regulatory advantages that parties have.

          Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to for a free audio thriller.

          by eparrot on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:11:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Right now the Democratic Party at the national (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw, sweeper

          level is wedded to tea leaves that were first strewn about in 1994 or earlier.

          They are trying to read the wishes of a constituency that no longer exists.

          Maybe the solution really is sub-parties.  Yes, we have rules that say you have two parties, but to try to make up for the disparity you have things like caucuses (caucii?) with limited powers in Congress on their own.  But that could be changed as well.

          You don't have to literally break the two party system to simply go around it.

          What you said is right on the money, it's about good governmance.  But what I fear is how this is translated is to intellectually incoherent faux-centrism.

          "I'm sorry, I just don't have the votes" - Me, sometime in November, 2010 (-6.62, -6.26)

          by AndyS In Colorado on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:22:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  One not negligible thing they do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is provide jobs and career tracks for "party professionals" who quite understandably defend the current system.  It's a living. - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

        by chuckvw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:52:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Corporate money is dragging the party right. (3+ / 0-)

      Since we're not looking at meaningful public campaign finance at the national level anytime soon, I propose an alternative: find a candidate who is seriously dedicated to a populist, grassroots, community-oriented voting and support base, and have that candidate make a public campaign pledge to refuse any and all donations from any and all corporate interests.

      If the candidate wins, we have a model even better than Obama's.  If the candidate loses, we'll have a lesson in how important it is to change our system, going all the way to a Constitutional Convention to alter the 14th Amendment to specify that corporations are under no circumstances a natural person.

      The views expressed above are not necessarily those of the Democratic Party, because I'm broke.

      by Leftcandid on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:06:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My opinion is, there's a "coporate center" group (4+ / 0-)

      of politicians. That group essentially remains the same, politically and on policies - it's just the name of the party that they belong to that changes.

      That doesn't mean there are mass, wholesale party defections - there rarely are. It's just that those who want power, pick the easiest route to it, whether it's being a Republican or a Democrat. The party affiliation is only a vehicle for them - a vehicle to obtain power by getting elected and staying in office.

      The crooks are leaving have left office, unprosecuted and scot-free.

      by BentLiberal on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:21:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A guy I respect a whole HELL of a lot, Thom (3+ / 0-)

    Hartmann, tells us to stay with the Democratic Party.
    Go to meetings, contribute, steer them PROGRESSIVE over time as much as possible. We'll have tons of back-and-forths, and we'll go one step forward then two steps back, but the Democratic Party has an established apparatus that a new party might take decades to build.

    In the meantime this new party will lose elections for Democrats and put some of the worst nightmares in office that we can imagine. Imagine fifty new monstrous spawns of Imhofe that are even WORSE than Imhofe and his ilk.

    If you want a fairly established party vote for the Greens candidate locally. Or vote for a Naderite locally. See if you can build that way. I myself would love a Greens candidate for mayor of a large city for example, but for POTUS? A big NAHHHH!

    •  I don't advocate a third party. (0+ / 0-)

      It would be much simplier to just get progressive candidates elected in primaries.  I mean...that's how we got Obama.  Now it remains to be seen whether he's actually going to walk the walk and not just talk the talk...but regardless of whether he meant to or not, Obama did show us how to get true progressives into office.  

      "Only now with the advent of potato day has tyranny come to our shores." - Jon Stewart

      by methinshaw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:21:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But (0+ / 0-)

        Obama ran to the right of Clinton, Edwards, and Richardson in the primaries. Maybe next time people should make sure the progressive they're supporting is, you know, actually a progressive (and yes, it is my contention that Obama is a corporate Democrat, not a progressive).

        Mr. President, you have a choice to make: single payer, or a single term.

        by New Deal Dem on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 08:17:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If you don't like the Democratic party, then (5+ / 0-)

    don't give it your money.  Give it directly to progressive candidates.

  •  As much as I DO sometimes dream of a (5+ / 0-)

    nationally viable Progressive Pary, it's just way easier to steal the Democratic Party back from the people who bought them away from their constituents.

    I do, however, wish that I could convince more people that the time to primary key members of the Democratic Party Leadership has arrived.  Because, quite frankly, until the grassroots demonstrates that we are capable of picking off Democrats who don't represent their constituents... we'll just be useful idiots to them and never gain any semblence of power in Government close to what industry lobbyists have.

    "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people." -Tony Benn (-6.38,-6.36)

    by The Rational Hatter on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:56:47 PM PDT

  •  The bottom line (3+ / 0-)

    The US is not conducive to third parties--and will not be for a very long time, if ever at all. Unlike the proportional Israeli system, where even minor fringe parties can win a seat or two in the Knesset if they poll a few percent of the vote, the US is winner take all. Third party candidates have absolutely no shot except in states like ME, MN, and VT, where voters have sometimes been willing to elect independents. Voting third party is supporting the GOP. It's that simple.

    Also the toughest state to get on the ballot is OK. Nader didn't make it on the ballot there in 2000.

    •  Right! Change the system from winner takes all (0+ / 0-)

      to proportional (as is the case in much of Europe) and suddenly 3rd parties are a dime a dozen.

      Freedom is not a game whereby the one who waves a flag the hardest has the most of it.

      by FudgeFighter on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:27:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're limiting the future to history. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Now, what happens if the Republicans continue their descent into a regional, ethnic party while the Democratic leadership uses their wealth and media influence to continue odious and destructive policies?

      What might well happen is the Democrats split, or split in all but name.

      Then you have a three party stand-off with confederates and corporatists competing for the the South, progressives and corportists competing in traditionally blue states and the Midwest, while the Wests turns into a battle royale as various factions make fragile alliances to support individual candidates.

      They tortured people
      To get false confessions
      To fraudulently justify
      Invasion of Iraq!
      -Seneca Doane

      by James Kresnik on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:51:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope. Then you have President Palin. (0+ / 0-)

        What everyone seems to forget is that the Republicans got 46% of the vote in 2008, and that was with the craziness on full display and a horrible candidate, to boot.

        They are a long way from electoral irrelevance.

        •  Hypothetically... (0+ / 0-)

          I think most of that vote was still from McCain.  I know a lot of old Vietnam vets that voted for him just to represent.  Many Boomers are still stuck in 1968.  

          Palin on her own would probably only get 25-30%.

          "Only now with the advent of potato day has tyranny come to our shores." - Jon Stewart

          by methinshaw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:25:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  25-30%? (0+ / 0-)

            I wish it were so, but you're dreaming. Palin starts with 40% of the vote, minimum. That's her floor. Sure, she might only be able to pick up a few more points, but with a split center-left vote, that might be all she'd need to win.

            •  Gov. Palin couldn't even clear 40 percent (0+ / 0-)

              in most states outside of some really far-out scenario. She's utterly lacks articulation, restraint, charisma and her base, falling into racialist extremism, is almost politically spent.

              She is absolutely poisonous to the Hispanic vote and Mormons would be terrified of her style of evangelical dominionism. Therefor she's not getting Florida, New York, California or most of the west.

              Even in a three-way knife fight the EV split would be highly unlikely to fall in her direction. Rove couldn't save her presidential aspirations. She's clearly damaged goods. So, for the purposes of this argument, Palin is not really a factor.

              Now, with that being said, Huckabee and Jindall are real threats. However, in the face of a real threat, progressives will probably close ranks with the Democratic establishment to block the Republicans from the Oval Office.

              They tortured people
              To get false confessions
              To fraudulently justify
              Invasion of Iraq!
              -Seneca Doane

              by James Kresnik on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:42:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are imagining way too rosy a scenario (0+ / 0-)

                for this country.

                Nobody thought that Bush could get elected in 2000, either. We all saw how wrong they were.

                •  Bush was smart enough to look pretty (0+ / 0-)

                  and say what his handlers were whispering in his ear Gov. Palin was not, so her rep is toast.

                  This nation is past serious hope of rosy scenarios and safe-harbors anyway. A progressive has few choices: lash themselves to the sinking establishment ship and struggle to stay afloat or find a life raft and risk life on the open sea.

                  They tortured people
                  To get false confessions
                  To fraudulently justify
                  Invasion of Iraq!
                  -Seneca Doane

                  by James Kresnik on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 01:07:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Need to be prepared for all eventualities (0+ / 0-)

        If we need a progressive party, and the Democratic party is going to be moving further to the right and cementing itself with corporatists, then that can't be it. But from the analysis above, it is clear that we can't start a new party.

        The only thing to do is lie in wait. Be prepared for when the Republican party is at its lowest point, in its darkest moment, and seize it from the fascists. They are so clueless they won't know what hit them.

        Just a thought.

        If wanting the country to succeed is wrong, I don't want to be right.

        by Angela Quattrano on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:31:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  At least half of elected Democrats... (5+ / 0-)

    ...would consider ditching the Democratic Party and joining a new, better party IF they had guarantees that prominence, fundraising, national infrastructure, etc., were as good.  That would take a hell of a lot of money, and maybe a lot of trigger agreements (i.e., I will leave if and when 50 other representatives and 25 other senators have pledged the same).

    The only people who oppose the "public option" have cushy health insurance to begin with.

    by cartwrightdale on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:58:26 PM PDT

  •  I think I'll just go surfing and pray (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sweeper, Ezekial 23 20

    that I don't ever really need health insurance before I turn 65 . . .

  •  Got Ranked Choice Voting? No? Then no 3rd party. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caelian, mftalbot, zett, VelvetElvis, UTvoter

    It's that simple.  3rd parties in our current voting system are reserved for Ross Perots who can buy a shitload of what is dismally called free campaign speech.

    The city of San Francisco has a ranked choice voting system, and there Greens can and do win elections.  So anyone who wants an alternative, get your local Greens and Dems together to put a Ranked Choice Voting system on the local or state ballot via proposition.  This in all seriousness should be the sole policy mission of the Green Party, for without it they and all newcomers will fail.

    The views expressed above are not necessarily those of the Democratic Party, because I'm broke.

    by Leftcandid on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:02:30 PM PDT

  •  PoliSci 101 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caelian, Sean Parnell

    Winner-take-all elections, like ours, force a two-party system. Any consensus building must take place before an election or the party will not win anything.

    Percentage-based legislatures (if your party gets 5% of the vote, you get 5% of the seats) have more parties, but they still must find a consensus to get anything done, but they do it after the election. These governments are less stable, though, since they simply call for a new election when they reach gridlock.

    Either way, things will always stay somewhat near the middle in a true democracy, although the center will move a little now and then. You still have to find a way to work with your enemies, unless you want to start shooting people and taking over by force.

  •  The Question for Democrats (7+ / 0-)

    is: What are you going to do to keep progressives in the Democratic Party?

    Look, in some areas of the country including mine, southern Ohio, the Democratic Party is rotten to the core. I don't mean lesser-of-evils hold-your-nose rotten. I mean the most stinkin corrupt bald-faced-lyin sons-o-crap you'd find on the planet.

    Progressives in these areas often wind up voting for Republicans, just to break the stranglehold of the corrupt Democratic machine.

    If the national and state Democratic party organizations don't do something to break the back of these local organizations, to clean up the party, then the party is going to lose its progressive wing, whether to third parties, or to apathy, or to the GOP is irrelevant.

    The burden of "new politics" is on the Democratic Party, not on people trying to create a politics with integrity.

    So...what's your reform plan for the Democratic Party?

  •  There is a way to avoid a lot of the work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dump Terry McAuliffe, gmb

    A party split where some state Democratic parties join the new party and bring the cadre and ballot grandfathering with them.

    I suspect we will see this in the Republican Party before we see it in the Democrats, though.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference.

    by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:03:39 PM PDT

    •  I think your last statement is correct. (0+ / 0-)

      I think what you are missing in the first is that the Democratic Party will always be bigger as a national party than any of the splinters. They will use the resources they have to oust all those who leave and they will have a pretty good shot at it.

      This means the first thing the new party gets is a drubbing at the polls. Not a good way to encourage candidates or donors.

      •  I think parties are organized at the state level (0+ / 0-)

        If the California Democratic party has nothing to do with the NY Democratic party, each would retain the advantages of an established party in their respective states.

        But there would be two national conventions calling themselves Democratic, and great would be the dispute about which candidate was listed in which state.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference.

        by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:31:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Isn't a filing fee just a latter-day poll tax? (0+ / 0-)

    Y'know, something to keep the women and blacks off the ticket. Can't have them poor folks on there, either...

    We no longer have Ted Kennedy to fight the Good Fight or Walter Cronkite to tell us about it. Each one of us must now wear a small bit of their mantles.

    by SciMathGuy on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:07:45 PM PDT

    •  No, it goes to the cost of the election. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Not every state has the kind of fees FL does.

    •  Not quite (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I see what you're saying, but being a candidate is not the same as simply voting, and realistically a candidate that can't raise the money to pay a filing fee isn't going to be able to fund a campaign.

      Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -6.50 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.67

      by bythesea on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:13:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The alternative is a 10 page ballot (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That includes every name from Gary Coleman to porn stars.

      Am I wrong?

      Never forget: it's a slippery slope from providing all citizens with affordable health care and exterminating 6,000,000 Jews.

      by Scott Wooledge on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:20:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, you're wrong. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, greeseyparrot, SciMathGuy

        All the European parliamentary democracies manage to live quite well, thank you very much, with a decidedly much more open system. There are generally about ten or so parties competing in any election. When no candidate (this is the French system) gains a majority on the first vote, there is a runoff election between the two top contenders.

        Forming a government often requires a coalition that embraces the wishes of a number of sectors of the electorate, and is thus more representative than the monolithic governments that result from winner-take-all elections. The high abstention rate in US elections, compared to those in Europe, probably reflects this sad truism.

        The US system has the misfortune to have been the first on the block. The European democracies, which came later had the opportunity to observe what was wrong with it and do better.

        We cannot win a war crime - Dancewater, July 27, 2008

        by unclejohn on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:47:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Political parties are Unconsitutional (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Gannon, bucadibeppo

    Well, strictly speaking they're non-Constitutional.  They are not mentioned by the Constitution.  Given that representatives are supposed to represent their constituents and nobody else party membership can be a Conflict of Interest.  I do not want my representative to put Party interests ahead of what's important to me.

    This is treated well in C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength, where a character discusses why Loyalty to Ideas is more important than Loyalty to People.  I believe I should support candidates and causes that are loyal to Ideas that I consider important -- and withdraw support when that loyalty vanishes.

    Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
    Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

    by Caelian on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:08:33 PM PDT

  •  I am sure you convinced those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that were, are and always will be members of the Democratic party. As for anyone else? You probably just pissed them off more. Heckofajobbrownie!

    ePluribus Media
    Collaboration is contagious!

    by m16eib on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:08:55 PM PDT

  •  There's an alternative the Dog didn't mention (3+ / 0-)

    Continuing to vote in Democratic primaries and for the Democratic candidate in general elections (assuming the race is competitive and that the Democrat needs your vote), but re-directing the time and money you currently spend on electing Democrats to an advocacy group, cause, or organization that is better managed and better reflects your priorities.

    For me, it might eventually come to that. I still hold out hope that we can get rid of the Democratic deadwood, both elected officials and party officials, but they're not going down without a fight.

    "You can never guarantee victory, but you can guarantee defeat."--Hall of Fame baseball writer Leonard Koppett.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:11:57 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps instead, let's reform an existing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Gannon

    party, with new thinking and new politicians and...

    'All I really want to say, is they don't really care about us' MJ

    by publicv on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:12:26 PM PDT

  •  What party does Bernie Sanders belong to? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said
  •  Independents (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dump Terry McAuliffe

    I am thinking of changing my voter registration to Independent.  Often independents are mentioned as 1/3 of the electorate and younger voters.  For those of you who are independent, could you tell me how you like it.  Thanks.

    •  Don't kid yourself. Most people who (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amk for obama

      are registered independent vote for their old party. Plus young people are actually registering for the Dems more than Indy.

      Being an Indy means you are going to say that only your actual vote counts to those who are running, you won't have much say as to who you get to pick from and that is the really big deal.

    •  No Party Affiliation (0+ / 0-)

      I'm a California voter with No Party Affiliation.  I usually vote for Democrats since they usually represent my views better than other candidates.

      In California, NPs are allowed to vote in Party primaries if the Party has an open primary.  For example, in the last election I could vote in the Democratic primary but not in the Republican or Green primary.  So I was able to influence the Democratic party's choice of candidate as much as a registered Democrat.

      I think the chief advantage of NP registration is less bulk mail to recycle.  The other advantage is that I'm not taken for granted by the Democratic party so they have to represent my views better to get my vote.

      Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
      Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

      by Caelian on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:36:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In Michigan we have no party registration (0+ / 0-)

      In non-presidential primaries, you can vote either party's ballot. Michigan presidential primaries tend to be 117-car, toxic train wrecks.

      "You can never guarantee victory, but you can guarantee defeat."--Hall of Fame baseball writer Leonard Koppett.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:51:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Look at Canada (2+ / 0-)

    There is one right-wing party in Canada, the Conservatives, and no less than FOUR center and left wing parties, in approximate order of size, the Liberals, the New Democrats, the Bloc Quebecois, and the Greens. Result? The Conservatives win elections with 35% of the vote. And that's true even though Canadians are used to strategic voting, and many NDP and Green supporters will cast ballots for Liberals if their own candidate has no hope of winning.

    If Side A splits, and Side B does not, Side B will always win.

    On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

    by sagesource on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:20:21 PM PDT

    •  Well, Comparing Parliamentary Systems... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said

      ...with our winner-take-all system with an executive branch and a separate legislative branch misses a lot of pertinent differences.  Seldom does anyone get a majority, and also, when you say the conservatives are only at 35%, it misses important details like the regional isolation of the Bloc and the limited regional dispersal of many of the left parties.  

      "The first answer follows the first question asked..." Steve Earle: The Seeker

      by Dana Houle on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:26:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

        Sorry, but "regional dispersal of many of the left parties"?  What?  Other than the Bloc, which runs only in Quebec of course, what other left party is regional?

        And what does parliamentary vs. presidential matter?  We are talking about the election of the legislature - the fact that the US has a separate executive hardly matters in discussing how the legislature should be elected.

        •  No, We're Talking ABout Third Parties... (0+ / 0-)

 the US system, and there hasn't been any president elected who didn't have a sizable bloc of fellow party members in Congress, and no sizable Congressional bloc who didn't have one of the two major presidential candidates since the creation of the GOP (with the one exception, iirc, of the 1912 election, when former GOP pres Teddy R finished ahead of the GOP nominee for Pres).

          As for regional dispersal, you miss my point.  It's not an even 35-65 dispersal of power in all regions.  There are plenty of places where parties on the left other than the Liberals are mostly non-factors.

          "The first answer follows the first question asked..." Steve Earle: The Seeker

          by Dana Houle on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:44:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, I don't see your point (0+ / 0-)

            The original point was that third parties hurt the cause, and Canada was given as a good example.  You suggested that somehow Canada didn't apply because it was a parliamentary system.  How does the fact that it is parliamentary system change anything?  When talking about the Canadian parliment vs. Congress, it is a reasonable comparison.

            As for your analysis of Canadian election results, What exactly are you trying to say.  Are you seriously arguing that the NDP and Greens don't hurt the Liberals?

            If it was straight up Liberals vs. Conservatives, the Liberals would win in a walk everywhere outside of Alberta and in very rural distrits.  I say this as a supporter of the Green Party of Canada, who I will continue to support even though I am aware that they hurt the Liberals.

            •  No, It's Not a Resonable Comparison (0+ / 0-)

              But it's clear you don't see that.  Thus, it's not surprising you support a party you as much as admit helps the conservatives.  

              "The first answer follows the first question asked..." Steve Earle: The Seeker

              by Dana Houle on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:13:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Again, you haven't explained at all what it isn't (0+ / 0-)

                a reasonable comparison.  All you have said is that the US doesn't have a history of third parties.  Yes, we know that.  That is why people are looking at Canada to see how a multi-party (dys)functions under the plurality voting system.

                And the fact is that a multi-party system doesn't work under the plurality voting system.  It leads to great distortions, due to "vote-splitting".  I could elaborate on why despite this I support the Green Party of Canada, but it is hardly relevant.

    •  Yes, and what do Canada and the US have in common (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caelian, billlaurelMD


      They both use the archaic first-past-the-post electoral system.  This distorting and undemocratic system perpetuates two-party rule.  In nations with decent proportional representation systems (or preferential balloting for that matter), multiple parties can run without fear "vote-splitting".  This leads to a multitude of voices, electoral choice, and legislatures that actually approximate the views of their constituents.

      The only path to a multi-party system, and with it a vibrant democracy, is through changing the electoral system.  The good news is that this doesn't have to be done federally - individual states can elect their representatives as they see fit.

  •  Maybe the thing to do is keep a constant threat (5+ / 0-)

    of a third party, so that the centrist faction of the Democratic Party is forced to appeal to the left to try to get them to vote Democratic instead of third part. Without such a threat, the centrists are more likely to move to the right. They have to be made afraid that if they don't move to the left, they will lose left votes.

    That is, rather than the centrists holding the leftists hostage, the lefists should hold the centrists hostage and make them appeal for votes. That is, rather than the centrists trying to scare the left, the left should try to scare the centrists. It's just a matter of which side can stare the longest.

    And then, when elections are lost, blame the centrists for not appealing enough to the left.

    "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. . . . It is time for these settlements to stop." --Obama, June 4, 2009

    by tr4nqued on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:27:13 PM PDT

  •  Dayymn, you do kick puppies for fun, don't ya ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said


    Rec'd for reality.

    Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

    by amk for obama on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:30:55 PM PDT

  •  A hypothetical question for the Dog (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    What happens if the Health Care Bill gets gutted, and in a fit of rage, 40-60 members of the Progressive caucus of the Democratic Party announce they will be leaving the Democratic Party, effective immediately, and forming their own party (call it the "Progressive Party" for arguments sake)

    Does that change your equation at all?

    •  Then I will paint my ass red and run down the (0+ / 0-)

      middle of Pennsylvania avenue. The Progressive Caucus is not going to bolt the party. I would mean they are in their last term in Congress as the full weight of the Democratic Party would be behind their opponents from the Democratic Party.

      They would all face the issue of getting on the ballots, and getting the people on the ground. How many of their staff would stay and how many would go to where they know there is going to be new Reps.

      I am sorry this is not going to happen.

      •  I'm just saying... (0+ / 0-)

        ..that would be the quickest and easiest way to form a 3rd party, is if the Progressive Caucus did that. I can guarantee you a lot of the blogs on the progressive/liberal left would soon follow with their support.

        I'm just talking from a country that has 4 parties represented in the House of Commons where it is comparatively easier to form a party.

      •  Yeah but who's gonna vote for them? (0+ / 0-)

        The Democrats I mean.  The corporate wing of the party has money but it doesn't have people willing to volunteer for them and get people to the polls.  We are the part of the party that does that.  They going to get their banker and CEO friends out into the streets?

        I think we'd get a lot more support too from middle America.  We could run an economically populist message.  Leave the culture wars behind and start talking about how to really help middle America.

        "Only now with the advent of potato day has tyranny come to our shores." - Jon Stewart

        by methinshaw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:21:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've Got A Crazy Idea (0+ / 0-)

    Let the two parties go on as they are now, but make some changes in campaign financing.

    1.) Track those people who have voted in both of the two party's primaries, keeping track of those who did not vote for the candidate who won either of those primaries.

    2.) Provide some funding from the government based upon the amount of money raised by those candidates who won both of the two major primaries.

    3.) Split that money evenly amongst those candidates who lost the two major primaries, and those candidates from third parties who qualify for the ballot in some number of states.

    4.) Have a third primary with all of these candidates, allow those who either voted against the winner in the two major primaries or did not vote in these primaries at all to vote, and guarantee that the winner of this primary is on the ballot in all fifty states.

    In other words, make sure that there is a viable alternative to the strict two party system which has, in my opinion, gotten us nowhere for the past twenty odd years.

    <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

    by superscalar on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:38:44 PM PDT

  •  So, basically, what you are saying (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Swill to Power, haruki

    is what I have always said: The Property Party with its Republican and Democratic right wings has skewed the playing field so that nobody else can enter it. Somehow that seems entirely reasonable to me, since the guys who own the Property Party, the corporate elite, skew the economy so that nobody can enter it and compete with the massive international corporations that own America.

    Gore Vidal has some pithy remarks about the Property Party:

    There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party...and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.

    We cannot win a war crime - Dancewater, July 27, 2008

    by unclejohn on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:39:59 PM PDT

  •  Great Diary. Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

    I suppose it is justifiable to be disappointed and lose enthusiasm for Obama because he hasn't done enough so far.  Fine.

    Just don't complain when the GOP takes over the white house and the congress in 2012.  Because the way it is looking right now, seems like Obama is going to last just one term.  

    And when the Dems get power again, when we don't move the party further left again because we are soooo disappointed that <insert not-so-progressive candidate here> didn't do anything in his first 8 months in office.  

    I used to come to dailykos and huffpost when I felt like Obama and the Dems were being unfairly attacked by the MSM and the right (which is usually the case).  Seemed like a good place to circle the wagons.  I haven't been around much lately because it is getting too depressing, seeing many progressives bail on the president already.  If they're disappointed now, I can't imagine how bad it will be in 2012.

    The GOP kicks ass in elections because their base is so gullible and eager to be lied to by their leaders that they fall in lockstep regardless of their values.  See: the religious right.

    "If these Republicans can't stand up to Rush, how can they stand up to the Iranians?" - Redmond Barry

    by xsonogall on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:40:57 PM PDT

    •  President Obama Has Not Disappointed Me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      didn't do anything in his first 8 months in office

      In fact, if anything, he has lived up to exactly what I expected of him. Barack Obama is a centrist Democrat and his largest supporters came from the ranks of Goldman Sachs.

      It is those who had some mistaken vision that Barack Obama was a progressive in the Teddy Roosevelt mold who have been disappointed.

      In my opinion President Obama is a classic Council On Foreign Relations Chicago machine politician, nothing more, nothing less. The proof of this, in my opinion, was his choosing of Rahm as COS.

      <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

      by superscalar on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:46:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And The Democratic Party Is Not Gullible? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pkbarbiedoll, haruki

      The GOP kicks ass in elections because their base is so gullible

      How's that whole 'transparency and accountability in government' thang going for you?

      <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

      by superscalar on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:49:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know... (0+ / 0-)

      if only we were more gullible and eager to be lied to.  That would be much better.  Then the Democrats would never lose elections and the country would be so much better because...

      "Only now with the advent of potato day has tyranny come to our shores." - Jon Stewart

      by methinshaw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:25:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My party: The ITFUOW Party (0+ / 0-)

    Is This Fucked Up Or What

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:43:12 PM PDT

  •  That's what I learned from Michael Moore (2+ / 0-)

    When he came to town promoting "Stupid White Men," he said as much, that the Democratic Party already had the organization, the stationery, the infrastructure--all it needed was some liberals.

    He urged us to become precinct chairs (which I've done), school board members, members of the State legislature and the U.S. House and Senate.

    You can't do all that stuff with a third party.

    Watching Pete Sessions and reporting from the Taliban-controlled 32nd Congressional District of Texas.

    by CoolOnion on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:44:54 PM PDT

  •  All left-3rd parties do is guarantee Rethug wins. (0+ / 0-)

    Check out Texas' 2006 gov race.  Everyone ran to the left of Perry.  He held the 36% Godnut+wingnut vote and he is gov.  Again.  

    See also, Nader- 2000; Anderson-1980.

    Occassionally, a right-wing 3rd party helps lefties. See, maybe 1992 (though most ev shows Perot took equally enough from both BushI and Clinton that he did not turn the election for either.)

    Hell, even right wing 3rd parties help Rethugs out more often than not.  See, Wallace-1968

    •  Then it is hopeless (0+ / 0-)

      Sunshine on my shoulders...

      by pkbarbiedoll on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:54:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No it's not. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We've already gotten a lot of progressives in office.  Most of the Dems in the Senate support the public option.  The problem is we apparently need 60% of the Senate.  

        On the public option thing...even though it looks uncertain, it's not dead.  Far from it.  But it was suppose to be.  Something crazy has been happening though.  Instead of shutting up and moving to the back of the bus, the progressives are finally standing up and saying, "F**k you!  We are sick of being told to wait for a better time.  You fight for us now, or we ain't playin' no more."

        I don't know if Obama really meant anything he said during the election, but I do know he got where he's at because he is a good politican.  If Obama is as smart as he seems to be, he's got to realize that his Presidency is going to be made or broken with whether he stands with us or against us.

        "Only now with the advent of potato day has tyranny come to our shores." - Jon Stewart

        by methinshaw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:38:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The constant blaming of Nader (0+ / 0-)

      excuses the behavior of the SCOTUS and the purging of 58,000 people from the voting roles in FL by Jeb Bush or the media that enabled the whole thing. Stop blaming candidates and voters for the crimes of actual election thieves and their supporting infrastructure in the media.

      Moon not made of green cheese, say critics. You decide.

      by 1000 Points of Fright on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 10:21:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pretty big oversight (2+ / 0-)

    You give a good rundown of the challenges to creating a new party, but you made one glaring error (unless I misunderstood you, more on that in a bit).

    Getting a billionaire or two to really back you might get this new party off the ground pretty good. The downside of this route is billionaires, even more than interest groups are going to want a lot of say in what they give money too. They are used to pulling the strings with their funding, so this has it’s problems too.

    I'm assuming you're talking about a single or a few billionaires (or, let's be a little more expansive and include hectomillionaires) putting big money into the party. Unfortunately (and I do mean unfortunately), that's now illegal, thanks to McCain-Feingold. Remember all those soft-money contributions that drove "reformers" to distraction? Well, that's what McCain-Feingold banned (among other things). So there is no legal way to get the funding needed to really kick-start a new party.

    Now, there are two ways around this, one of which may be what you'd been thinking and I missed it. The first would be to have the billionaire/hectomillionaire self-fund their candidacy for office, and use their campaign to create the foundation of the new party. You can think of this as the "Ross Perot" method, although the subsequent history of the Reform Party shows the drawbacks to this.

    The second way of doing it would be for a party to only focus on local and state office, and not field any candidates for Congress, at least not until after it's gotten off the ground after a few cycles. Then, you could - if you can find willing donors, and are in a state that doesn't restrict individual contributions to political parties - build a state party that might be able to survive. Of course, growing that beyond one state would be very difficult, particularly without the one thing generally necessary to unite a party - a candidate for president.

    So, in addition to all the other barriers you describe, current campaign finance law and specifically McCain-Feingold present an almost insurmountable burden to the formation of new parties.

    Thank you, "reform."

    Sean Parnell
    Center for Competitive Politics

  •  Party’s? The word that you want is parties (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex, Ezekial 23 20

    "The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add an useful plant to its culture" -- Thomas Jefferson

    by tommurphy on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:51:00 PM PDT

  •  Our electoral system is biased towards 2 parties (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex

    The first-past-the-post (plurality) electoral system is far from democratic.  Everybody else seems to recognize this.  The great majority of the world elects legislatures through some combination of proportional representation and/or preferential balloting.  Hell, when we went nation building in Iraq we even gave them a proportional representation system.

    But here at home?  Why do we use this ridiculously archaic system?  Because it punishes those who want third parties - they will "split the vote".  You have to work through the establishment parties or you are doomed.  This is very much by design.  The only path to real choice in elections is by changing the electoral system.  We can debate what it should be like, but I don't know any person who could argue in good faith that what we have now is best.  The only people who favor it are those who benefit from it - e.g. the two parties that we have now.

    Of course, we can't expect the parties in power now to change the electoral system to something that would be inclusive of other voices.  The only hope is through local action.  Many municipalities have changed their electoral system to more democratic forms of voting.  Hopefully at some point we can start talking on the state level.  One of the reasons why I support initiatives (at least in theory) is that they give us hope of changing some state laws in such a direction that those in power would firmly oppose.  

    But honestly, I have little hope of a change. Americans have a combination of political apathy as well as a jingoistic inability to learn from other countries that would make it very difficult to win a battle against powerful special interests.  By "powerful special interests" I mean the two established parties, who I'm sure would vigorously fight any democratic reforms with a massive fear and disinformation campaign.

    •  The first step is (0+ / 0-)
      to make  a third party a second. Let's let the dems be the conservatives, have a new progressive party and marginalize Republicans to the south.
    •  I could argue for it in good faith, I think (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not saying I agree with the following argument, but it does seem a reasonable one worth considering:

      "Winner-take-all" voting typically requires candidates (successful ones, at least) to embrace moderation and to appeal towards the middle of the political spectrum, instead of sticking to extremes. Elected officials will have to compromise with those of different perspectives and who represent different interests, leading to public policies that are less driven by ideology and more driven by pragmatism and consensus.

      The example of California shows why this approach is better to proportional representation. California in some practical sense does have proportional representation through gerrymandering, where officeholders are elected by citizens who, while not quite monolithic, are not generally as diverse as the population as a whole. This makes it difficult to legislate, because while a majority of citizens may favor some sort of compromise and accommodation on public policy issues, elected officials risk losing their seats if the compromise because their electorate is atypically right-wing, or left-wing, or rural, or urban, or whatever.

      Again, I'm not saying I agree with the above argument, but I think it can be put forward by a reasonable person (probably a moderate!).

      Sean Parnell
      Center for Competitive Politics

      •  That is not an argument for FPTP (0+ / 0-)

        but rather against proportional representation.  If one were to embrace that argument, then the voting system to adopt would be a form of preferential balloting.

        Basically, there are two distinct ways to elect a representative body:

        1. Try to elect a diverse body.  If this is the goal, a form of PR should be used
        1. Try to elect a body of moderates, where each member represents the "center" of their constituency.  If this is your goal, you should be looking for the Condorcet optimal solution (if it exists), and FPTP is quite poor at finding it.  An instant runoff ballot (while still not perfect) is preferred

        Again, I see no argument that a well-informed individual could make in favor of the current voting system.

  •  As long as we have plurality voting (2+ / 0-)

    a third party on the left will be bad for progressive causes.

    There are better methods

  •  It may suffice to threaten to leave the Dems (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex, pkbarbiedoll, bucadibeppo

    maybe if they think they will lose their base they will find some morality.

    As it is, I am disgusted. I see little difference between the two parties. So fuck it, I'll vote green who cares.

    Q: What do you call 500 Congress-slugs at the bottom of the ocean? A: Divine intervention. (with apologies to the couple dozen honest ones.)

    by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:57:21 PM PDT

  •  If you're going to mention ballot difficulties (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, Big Tex, Ezekial 23 20

    at least mention why it is so difficult to get on the ballot - because Democrats and Republicans have rigged the rules to protect their oligopoly on power.  

    Everything that you say about the difficulty of starting a new party is, of course, true.  But is always good to remember why we are faced with so few political choices: because the establishment parties want to preserve the establishment.

    •  That is true, but it hardly matters. The point is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that to get a third party going is very hard and those who want one should be aware of what they are getting into. Since it is harder and less likely to succeed than working inside the party structure, why do it?

    •  The one absolute truth about a third party? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said

      It will fight tooth and nail to prevent creation of a fourth party.

      I'm with the crowd on this one. We have two parties for better or worse, and we've seen what happens when support for one gets diluted. I don't want another W sitting in the white house.

      •  Not necessarily. (0+ / 0-)

        If somebody did form a truly progressive party, there would be no reason for them not to push for the creation of a right wing centrist party to further split off voters from the other two parties.  They could only benefit from the two major parties losing voters to a fourth party.

        Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:18:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You should do a followup diary... (3+ / 0-)

    ... (or three) about what we as progressives can do to push our party further left; to make our representatives grow spines.

    No, I'm not being snarky.  This is an excellent piece of writing - you make your argument well.  With this said, it is obvious that at least a subset of our representatives who are Democrats are not even trying to hold to the party platform, let alone push for truly progressive solutions to this nation's problems.

    Co-op is a cop out. It is not an option, let alone a public one.

    by JRandomPoster on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:02:26 PM PDT

  •  there is a role for independent politics (0+ / 0-)

    and people who want progressive change should work inside and with the progressive wing of the Democratic party, but also outside of it, when and if it makes sense.

    if there were an independent left of center party (that wasn't a sect) I think it could only derive influence if it were part of, or represented a social movement at the polls. such a party could play a role in keeping the Democrats honest, if it could find the right mix of pragmatism and principle.

    an independent party of the left that preaches the mantra of total withdrawal from and opposition to the Democratic Party, under all circumstances, would fail because most people are more realistic than that.

    but if, say 7 liberal and college-town types of cities had socialist mayors, and there were, say 5 more of them in the house who voted with the Democrats most of the time, but who articulated a common critique from the left....

    well it would have salubrious effect on american political discourse. okay it's a fantasy.  but you wouldn't have to duplicate the Democratic Party as a national institution for independent politics to ever work.

    Human reason is beautiful and invincible --Milosz, Incantation

    by juancito on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:07:16 PM PDT

    •  But that is the point, there are not those Reps. (0+ / 0-)

      There may be Socialist Mayors, but it is needs more than that. You need State Senators and Governors in order to get to Reps. You need a whole structure.

      •  The Socialist Party before WWI had elected (0+ / 0-)

        mayors and state reps, and some congressmen. But I guess what I was saying that locally-based independent politics should be possible in some places, without the "whole structure," if it has the pragmatic, yet idealistic goal of  opening up politics on the left where possible.

        Sometimes the limits have to be tested.

        Human reason is beautiful and invincible --Milosz, Incantation

        by juancito on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 01:09:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I would be interested. especially if I could win (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    Then I would run myself and fund it myself. I would call it the Cannabis party. Just kiding.

  •  I think that even most of the people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ezekial 23 20

    who want to see a viable progressive third party understand that creating one will be extremely difficult, will require a generational effort, and will encounter a number of obstacles that have been created by the Republicans and Democrats in an effort to protect their death grip on political power.  That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done, or that the desire for a viable third party should be dismissed with the contempt and derision that so many here do - as long as Dem politicians know that there aren't attractive alternatives to the party's candidates, the Democratic Party isn't going to change much for the better and may continue to get worse, and the same holds true for the country in general.  What it does mean is that we who want to see a viable progressive third party should be mindful of the difficulties we're going to encounter when considering the question of how to approach creating a third party.

    In my opinion, the first and foremost goals that we should have in breaking the Dem/GOP duopoly are to agitate for public financing of campaigns, significant reform of ballot access laws to make it easier for third parties to get on the ballot, and electoral reforms such as instant runoff voting.  By agitating, I don't mean having marches where a bunch of people with "Free Mumia" signs and papier-mache effigies will show up and dilute the message.  What I do mean is:

    1. Making it clear to our Dem politicians that if they don't support campaign finance reform, ballot access reform and electoral reform, we'll withhold our votes on election day during the primaries AND general elections, we won't donate to their campaigns, and we won't help them canvass.
    1. Giving our full-throated support to candidates who pledge their support for reform, and who follow through on their promises with their votes and with fierce advocacy.
    1. Canvassing for reform in much the same way that we're doing for health care reform now.
    1. Direct action - we need to make it perfectly clear to politicians in both parties that we won't allow them to ignore us, by demonstrating that we have the ability to impede the functioning of government and business and that we're aren't too lazy, apathetic or afraid to do so.

    Once we've laid the groundwork for third parties in general to form, it will be a lot easier to form a viable progressive third party - partly because the systemic obstacles will have been removed, and partly because there is a similar desire on the right for viable third parties which, if acted on, will make it less painful for us to withhold our votes from Democratic candidates.

    -7.12, -7.54 / "Health care reform will never take place until Rahm Emanuel is strangled with the entrails of Frank Luntz." - Diderot

    by Big Tex on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:19:28 PM PDT

  •  Well there will be other splits among the left (3+ / 0-)

    I am not sure that there is a unifying core agenda among the left either. Whether they form a new party of take over the Democratic Party, there's nothing to prevent the discord that we currently have (albeit the content of such discord would be different).

    Why? Because there is a difference between countering conservatives, and actually moving into governing mode where choices have to be made in the face of various exigencies. It is in the making of those governing choices that discord will appear as some will want to pursue one direction over another.

    What we forget is that ideological purity and agendas are easier for conservatives to impose because for the most part they are defending a status quo or restricting the rights of the masses. For progressives, it's much harder as much of the agenda is given to "building/creating" things/rights. And that is why we have a harder time generating consensus, as we are often wading in uncharted waters. Something to keep in mind.

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

    by zizi on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:25:05 PM PDT

    •  Great points! Really this is a never ending thing (0+ / 0-)

      There is no end state where you can say you got it right, since there is always a need for governance.

    •  True...but... (0+ / 0-)

      the Blue Dogs aren't blocking the public option because the people in their state wouldn't like it.  They are blocking it because K Street doesn't  like it.  Last time I checked that was pretty far away from Nevada.  

      Good governance doesn't have s**t to do with protecting campaign contributes.  I'd understand if Dems were trying to push through gun control legislation or expansion of abortion rights.  Things like health care reform aren't really cultural issues.  

      "Only now with the advent of potato day has tyranny come to our shores." - Jon Stewart

      by methinshaw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:36:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

        Does your response have anything to do with anything I said? I'm talking about splits that will develop among the left if they choose to go it alone, because governing involves practical choices not just the beauty of principles alone. it is in the making of those choices that disagreement will inevitably happen. Doesn't matter what blue dogs do or don't, or how corporatist they are. Even if you take out all the evil corporate influence and have pure liberals, it won't be a nirvana. I'm not suggesting not to try, only saying that purging their ranks of blue doggism does not necessarily guarantee consensus of. These things must be thought through.

        "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

        by zizi on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:57:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Personally... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willibro, pkbarbiedoll

    I'd just go for a political party that wasn't corrupt, rather than one that is "farther left."  The problem with the Democrats aren't that they are too moderate, it's that they are too corporate.

    "Only now with the advent of potato day has tyranny come to our shores." - Jon Stewart

    by methinshaw on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:25:49 PM PDT

  •  It's impossible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex

    No, sir, as far as I'm concerned, anybody suggesting that some upstart will dethrone the Democratic Republicans and the Federalists is just plain silly. The Dog is right. Let's work within the Federalist Party to swing them toward abolition.

    Of course we will have Fascism in America, but we will call it Democracy. - Senator Huey Long

    by Marcion on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:25:55 PM PDT

  •  What we need is a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex, Something the Dog Said

    loosening of the rules with party forming and getting on ballets combined with the automatic runoff system that Australia has. Those two changes would make our democracy much more representative and stronger.

    In every moment of every day we only have two choices. Act out of fear or act out of love

    by Jlukes on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:34:35 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, Poocherino (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    From now on, when I'm criticizing Obama and the Blue Dogs and Rahm, and some troll asks why I don't just leave the Democratic Party and start my own if I'm so unhappy, I will refer them to your excellent diary.

    (Not that I haven't known all this since I first got involved with local California mayoral races back in 1970. But it's nice to have it all in one place).

  •  Yes and no, start party from bottom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ezekial 23 20

    I don't get why the current 3rd parties, Greens, Peace and Freedoms, and even ones I don't like like Libertarians, continually run candidates for President or Senate, when it's clear from the electoral laws that they will never make it.

    If you want to run a third party in the US that is more than simply a group that says alot and can do nothing, then

    You need to start from the bottom. You need to start at city councils and County boards and State legislatures. If it's a small state go for a House Rep position (Bernie Sanders anyone?), and you need to build from there. You need to trumpet your achievements to constituents and work with people in the State Capital or Washington so you can get on good committees (Baccus and Enzi have much more power in his committees than he does on the floor), you need to keep getting re-elected and be willing to bring other people in and go to their fundraisers, maybe even loan them a staff person for a day. and you need to do this for years, several 4 year election cycles. As you grow you may become a big party.

  •  I missed the punchline (0+ / 0-)

    I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places...arousing and persuading and reproaching you.-Socrates

    by The Navigator on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:45:21 PM PDT

  •  Instant Runoff Elections (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musicalhair, Big Tex

    would make third parties MUCH more viable.

    Which is probably why you never hear Democrats OR Republicans ever discuss them.

    Member, The Angry Left

    by nosleep4u on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:45:33 PM PDT

  •  Forgot something (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Very thorough diary.

    You forgot to put the part where we split the progressive vote and elect republicans for the rest of the century.

    I suggest Ralph Nader as our new party leader.  He's got experience in such things.

    I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places...arousing and persuading and reproaching you.-Socrates

    by The Navigator on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:47:02 PM PDT

  •  Agreed. What needs to happen is (2+ / 0-)

    Progressives need to get tough, ugly, and show some real power lies behind their caucus.

    We've got some good efforts going and really should just be building those.

    A Progressive war chest, built from little $10 monthly contributions could be a big stick or big carrot to be used on corporate Democrats, who just don't get what is at stake here.

    We can, over time define the party as progressive, and that will solve most all of the third party problems.


    by potatohead on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 04:53:40 PM PDT

  •  Enough members? (0+ / 0-)

    Start in Connecticut, I guess, where Connecticut for Lieberman had what, no members til 1 guys took it over?

    Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:00:46 PM PDT

  •  How well has the last 40 years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex

    of trying to reform the Democrats worked out??

    "The military industrial complex not only controls our government, lock, stock and barrel, but they control our culture." - Mike Gravel

    by Wilberforce on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:02:35 PM PDT

  •  I think the two party system is tyranny (0+ / 0-)
    We need a new constitutional convention.  The pathetic performance of the dems proves the two party system is unworkable.  The english are calling for one too, because they have the same two party ass fuck we have.
  •  oh we need a new party all right (3+ / 0-)

    but it needs to be a new Conservative party.

    It isn't healthy to have one party rule and the current Rs are bat-shit insane.

    Bring back the Whigs; they can have a few of the blue dogs.

    We'll be the progressive party.

    When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

    by onanyes on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:05:38 PM PDT

  •  Note from November, the year 2020 (0+ / 0-)

    Ultimately, We owe the success of our new, progressive party and its victories in this year's elections to this dairy from a little over a decade ago.

    Thank you from the bottom of our victorious hearts, STDS, for showing us the way.

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

    by mftalbot on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:07:26 PM PDT

  •  You seem to be encouraging another 2000. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Gore felt he didn't need the progressives much in 2000, and we got 8 years of Bush because of it.

    Wouldn't it be more sane to try to encourage the centrists to actually pass a few progressive pieces of legislation to make the lefties happy and keep them to prevent a repeat, rather than holding the door open and wishing them luck?

    Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:11:23 PM PDT

    •  That is kind of a misreading of history there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman, Justina

      Gore ran a crappy campaign, running away from the Administration which had just presided over the biggest economic expansion in history and was running a surplus. His failure to embrace the Clinton legacy combined with Mr. Nader making the factually untrue claim that the two party's were the same, allowed just enough voters in a Republican State to open the door for  Bush.

      But that is not what I am saying in any case. Look at the work it takes to get a party off the ground. There are not enough progressives who will leave the Democratic party for it to make a difference. My point is you have two choices. Do something self destructive and ineffectual by leaving and trying to found a new party, or do something which at least has a chance of working and make your current party be better by actually being part of it. It won't get done by standing on the sidelines complaining, in both cases you have to do the work.

      •  They've already got one available. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Something the Dog Said

        It would be far easier to take over, for instance, the Greens, than it would the Democrats.  There are far fewer of them out there, so a large influx of progressives could wrest control from them and set up a true progressive agenda, rather than a single issue one.  

        But I do agree that progressives should attempt to pull the Dems left, simply by aiming all their donations at progressive candidates, especially in primaries, thus forcing the DSCC and the like to choose between either abandoning those seats in the general or spending moderates' cash to try and win the seats for progressives.

        Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:22:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I just want "What's My Line?" to end (0+ / 0-)

    and for the real Democratic Party to please stand up.

    (You have to be fairly grizzled to get the analogy, sorry.)

    Educate yourself. Think for yourself. Be yourself. Act for others.

    by DHinIA on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:18:15 PM PDT

  •  Why wouldn't a successful third party eventually (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman

    become beholden to corporate interests?  Why would any corporation or industry leave influence on the table when a few million here and there can guarantee you get your phone calls returned?  Any idea whether the Liberal Democrats in England get corporate contributions? hmmmmm.

    Any success would likely run into the reality that government may touch the lives of voters, but it just as much touches the lives of business.  

    The only way to run a third party is for one of the major parties to have a schism that results in a critical group announcing they are leaving.  Once a group decides they can no longer stomach association with their former brethren a schism will occur.

    Right now, its the GOP that has the best chance of splitting, not a party that already has power.  Anyone wanting to leave the Democrats to form a party dedicated to purer ideology is welcome to try, but why not start by getting someone elected for magistrate judge or state representative and not assume a third party can be started at the top.

    •  Exactly. Better to push for real CFR (3+ / 0-)

      That is, real campaign finance reform.

      Make campaigns less expensive to run, and you don't have to sell your soul to win them.

      Visit for Minnesota news as it happens.

      by Phoenix Woman on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:22:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem you are going to run into are 1st (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Amendment ones. We have case law that allows individuals to spend their own money on "speech" about politics. That is not going to change, so there is a real problem with limiting donations and the like. Personally I think it would be better to take away the fiction of personhood for corporations. This would prevent them as a company from spending money on elections.

        •  I don't think money = speech can (0+ / 0-)

          stand the test of time.  For that matter there was a chance that corporate personhood could have been overturned (maybe a slim chance, but even Rehnquist thought the court was wrong in creating a corporate person).

          The idea the money = speech to me is pretty laughable; and while it might protect speech in the way of political ads, I think campaign finance and the activities of lobbiests could be greatly checked without treading on free speech.

          Publicly financed elections sound good to me, actually.

          My political compass: Economic: -7.38 Social: -5.79

          by musicalhair on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:24:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Remove private $ from elections (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina, Big Tex

    That's the only thing that will take the platinum thumbs of the rich off the scales.

    Visit for Minnesota news as it happens.

    by Phoenix Woman on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:20:56 PM PDT

  •  So -- you take a page from the DLC book. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You create a party within a party, then work to take over the party.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:21:30 PM PDT

  •  Most depressing diary I have read in ages. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    Change the Democratic party, only if the republican one falls completely apart and the Democratic party splits into two.

    The system is loaded against real representation.

    You are right, that's why is so effing depressing.

    It would be curious to discover who it is to whom one writes in a diary. Possibly to some mysterious personification of one's own identity. Beatrice Webb

    by LaFeminista on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:35:38 PM PDT

  •  Additionally, it's institutional. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex

    Just about every election law is premised on a democratic party and a republican party.  They are institutional.  They get on the ballot automatically.

  •  If you are a progressive (0+ / 0-)

    just go with the Democrats or go with the Greens. In some areas, you can go Peace & Freedom.

    Other than that, it just isn't worth it.

    But if you want a real choice outside of the duopoly, you still have to start somewhere.

    Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral laws are written on the table of eternity. -Lord Acton

    by Imperial on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:47:23 PM PDT

  •  what do when dems intentionaly drop public option (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We might be a big tent but there has to be a core set of principals. The Dems even have planks. I think universal health care is a signature issue for the party. Mandated health care without the private option is a give away to the insurance industry. If some of the analysis is true Rahm-bama is really shooting for co-ops so it can get the insurance industry on the Dem donor rolls. The whole appeal to the Obama campaign was that it offered up the idea that engagement could make the Dem party do what we wanted to. As it is becoming more apparent that people like me who worked many hours on the Obama campaign were punked what should we do not vote?

  •  Excellent review of American politics 101 /nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  NO NO NO NO NO (0+ / 0-)

    Get into the Democratic Party structure yourself. You don’t like our candidate recruitment, well get on the group that does and make your case. You think we need to be harder lined with keeping discipline? Well that happens not at the national level but at the State level. If your ideas are better, then go where you can prove it, get involved where you can have a decent chance at making a difference.


    I beg of you all, do NOT listen to this.  You will regret it if you do.

    Been there and done that three years ago.  The powers have no loyalty whatsoever and could not give a crap about what they do to their staff.  You KNOW that the party platform is not really believed by anyone on top when you actually go to work for them and have to put up with lousy benefits (if any), unlivable wages, and no assistance in finding work later.  "Getting into the party structure" ultimately cost me my livelihood, my credit for a while, and the entirety of my savings, when I was laid off from this "wonderful" party job from which I could "make my case."  All that did for me was make me utterly unemployable in my Red state for over a year.

    The problem with the Democrats is the Republicans.  They are so far to the right that they drag the entire political system along with them.  The party to reform, and fill with moderate and diverse voices, is the GOP.  I am completely convinced of this.  It was infiltrated by Religious Right fanatics back in the 80s in a concerted campaign; it can be infiltrated again. There ARE still liberals hailing from the Deep South.

    by PolitiCalypso on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:30:12 PM PDT

  •  Oh there already are 3rd parties to the left (0+ / 0-)

    The Green Party has been around awhile and it still is small.

    Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

    by noofsh on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:42:27 PM PDT

  •  Take the money (0+ / 0-)

    out of the election process and ALL the problems will be solved.



  •  we already have a new party (0+ / 0-)

    I understand your qualms about forming a new party, and your comments are quite accurate. However, Bernie Sanders is very much an icon on this site. Many people here, and many others in the country at large, really like Bernie. (I am a right-wing socialist, as I assume him to be.)

    Since there is a foothold in one state, admittedly a liberal one, it is possible to grow to more. In a democracy, it takes time. Bernie understands this, as do we (all us socialists)all. Many years ago now, there was an attempt to form a "socialist" caucus within the democratic party. It kind of petered out, not too much interest at that time. There later was an attempt to form a "green" caucus, which also petered out. I won't be telling anything that anyone here doesn't know, to point out that the problem with all of this was, and is, the campaign finance system. But enough money can buy almost any vote.

    But let's try to move toward a right-wing socialist party, at least as an alternative caucus within the Democratic party. The republicans already have their far-right wing asshole caucuses (club for growth, right to life, operation rescue, army of god, etc.). Why can't we?

  •  I Am 56 Years Old And Have Never Voted For (0+ / 0-)

    anyone but a democrat except one time at the local level.  I voted for the guy who built my house's brother for county commissioner.  I have been waiting for a real democratic president who is also a progressive forever.  Jimmy Carter was a real democratic president who was also a progressive, but was done in by circumstances out of his control. Clinton was a real democrat, but was not a progressive democrat.  I had hopes that President Obama would be more to the left because of him being a community organizer and also being from Hawaii.  I figured that someone from such a blue state had to be a real liberal.  But it is looking more and more that the DLCers and third way have got ahold of President Obama.  Most of us will not change parties, but it don't mean that we will be as energetic as we were when we had high hopes.  Also, Nader is an asshole, and an egotist, and what he said about President Obama being an uncle tom is reprehensible.

  •  Okay, how about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    a step by step guide to doing this?

    However, if you are really ready to do all that work, why not take the best shot and make the Democratic Party a party you can be proud to be part of the leadership of?

    Because, honestly, I don't think at this point that forming a new party would be any less daunting of a task.

    You think electing more Democrats was a bitch to accomplish?  You're going to look back and think it was a cake walk compared to electing better Democrats.  A cake fucking walk.

    That is what is so striking about our governance: it is increasingly devoid of even the pretenses of public good. - Hunter

    by Mehitabel9 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:03:17 PM PDT

  •  Ummmm - (0+ / 0-)

    If the Dems  (or the Goppers for that matter) splinter, you already have all those cadres, candidates, lists that you are talking about.

    Yeah, the folks with the old organization usually have the advantage - but not always, as the Republicans proved with the Whigs.


    In Canada, today's Conservatives are not the same Conservatives as Mulroney's.  They are far more right wing.  The Progressive Conservatives self-destructed after Mulroney in one of the greatest political collapses of a party in a democracy.

    Today's conservatives descend from the Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance.  Yes, they did ultimately merge with the Progressive Conservatives, but the Alliance was the major partner - and brought with it a Western Canadian / libertarian / social conservative platform.  They held 60 seats in the 2000 Commons vs 20 for the PCs.

    Now, it should be said that during this entire time the other major party, the Liberals, had an iron grasp on the federal government.  Because conservative Westerners felt that their issues were rarely considered by the Progressive Conservatives, they were willing to allow the party to collapse and form the Reform Party/Alliance - - and ultimately succeeded in creating a major party with a far more conservative ideology.

    Thus, to make the parallel - if progressives are willing to spend a decade in the backwaters, it is highly likely that the new party that emerges to challenge the Republicans will be truly progressive in spirit and action.


  •  The question isn't what to do when a party fails (0+ / 0-)

    it's what to do when the entire political system fails.

    Or, rather, what to do when it succeeds -- at continuing to exploit the many to the benefit of the few.

    "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

    by Pesto on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:23:56 PM PDT

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