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Forget a Third Party — Let’s Go for a Fourth Party!

Maybe a third party would be a complete disaster, but a fourth party could actually work. Sort of.

by
Frank J. Fleming

Bio

February 18, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Democrats suck. Republicans suck. Time for a third party, no?

Right now, Democrats are in a death spiral, thanks to their spectacular, over-the-top awfulness under the leadership (or lack thereof) of Barack Obama. Still, Republicans aren’t exactly shooting up in popularity, as it wasn’t that long ago that they were in charge, and did they usher us into a new era of liberty and fiscal responsibility? No, they were turds; they just sat there — maybe occasionally working to get pork for their districts. So the answer is to start over with a completely new party, right? Yes, some might say it’s not the politically strategic thing to do, but if we all vote with our consciences, it will all work out for the best in the end.

And while we’re at it, why don’t we ride to the voting booth on a unicorn and have our ballots counted by griffins? Real world, people. Third parties are political suicide. Instead of musing about a third party, you might as well muse about what a shotgun barrel tastes like. More efficient than starting a third party would be taking all the issues you care about, throwing them in a garbage can, and setting them on fire. Third parties never work.

Never.

Yeah, a third party seems like a neat idea, but in execution it’s always just a huge failure. Look at NY-23 with Doug Hoffman. That was an almost best-case scenario where the Republican dropped out, making it a two-person race, and the third-party candidate still lost. We’re just so set up around the two parties and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. The Democrats can almost trace their roots back to the beginning of the nation. (Sure, those guys would shoot the current Democrats with muskets if they saw what they did with the federal government, but the point is that the party has been around awhile.) The Republicans originally called themselves the “Grand Old Party” as a joke, because it was the newer party, but now it’s been around for over a hundred and fifty years, so the only ironic part of its nickname is the word “Grand.” And you think you can replace those parties now? Come on.

The problem with third parties is that they always take from the extreme ends, weakening just one of the parties and leaving the party with the opposite views of the third party the strongest. Just listen to liberals whine about Ralph Nader for his part in the 2000 election. Also, third parties attract all the crazies — all the people who give up on the social niceties (read: “sanity”) — needed to be a member of one of the major parties. For instance, libertarians have seemingly rational stances of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism, but who does the Libertarian Party nominate? Candidates who dye themselves blue and like to have their promotional pictures taken with ferrets. The only real way a third party could be viable would be to steal the moderates out of both parties, which would basically be a repeat of Obama promising some ephemeral hope and change and no specifics (specifics and principled stances scare moderates).

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