Friday, January 11, 2008

Third Party Independent

Michael Bloomberg keeps flirting with running for President. Boy, here's a dream candidate, a gun banning fanatic, autocratic, billionaire Party of convenience swapping NYC mayor champion of sweet non-partisan politics. Here's a guy with soooooo much in common with America. What unrepresented interest is it he claims?

Third party candidacies are usually either personality driven or narrow interest driven. Both have real problems for serious runs, and that is more than just the lack of an established structure in all 50 states. Personality campaigns have no broad appeal beyond the persona of the candidate, people who don't care one way or the other have no ideological hook to hang their hat on and faced with the prospect of no party loyalty if elected most voters will turn to the "trusted" Parties. Narrow interest third parties wind up in that position because the major parties have staked out most territory on issues and the ones ignored or rejected by a Party don't leave much room for voters. Despite the size of the non-affiliated voter group, they are a distinctly non-monolithic group. They are NAVs because no party can represent them, only appeal to slices of them. The range of ideology is immense, people too far right or left to fit the Parties, people with single issues driving them from their natural party (think about conservative gay), or people who simply don't like machines. Trying to fit into this group is beyond difficult, it is flatly impossible to do with any consistency of ideology or policies.

Whomever wins the respective nominations will not be inclusive of all of the registered voters of that Party, but that may be a far larger difficulty for Republicans than Democrats. A Democrat opposed to a Hillary as nominee is not likely to find anything more appealing in a third party and will have no problem preferring her over the Republican nominee. Short of a Kucinich nomination, there just isn't much of anything there to drive Democrats away. The Republicans have a larger problem with a theocratic, fiscal, libertarian split already evident, and of some moment to that Party. Now having a viable Primary candidate the theocratic wing will not be pleased by not winning, the fiscal side will not willingly cede its leadership, and the libertarians are sick of infringed civil liberties, but none are good fodder for a real third party. Libertarians simply have small appeal outside their insular group, theocrats offend anyone not of their particular bent, and the fiscal (plutocratic) wing of Republicans have nowhere to go with a third party - whom among Democrats or NAVs find themselves winners under their leadership?

Bloomberg has a whole lot of ego, his illegal interference in other State's affairs don't make him seem like a real hands-off sort of guy regarding civil liberties and state's rights. He's shown no national experience or exposure beyond his Presidential posturing and involvement with the now broke Unity 08. While there is sufficient difference between the top three Democrats to incite some pretty strong feelings, none of them are wedge candidates set to split off pieces of the party. Hillary and Obama's anti-Second Amendment stances aren't going to help them with that group, but Michael Bloomberg is considerably worse and the Republicans are flat out offensive to most Democrats.

It might be possible to create a third Party that made civil liberties, liberal social views, and fiscal conservatism a corner stone and poach the center Democrats, center Republicans, and some NAVs, but Bloomberg sure isn't the guy and that is also a decades long process. The problem with such a party is keeping control of all those competing agendas as a unitary vision. Neither established Party managed that. At one point a conservative Republican would never think of messing about in personal affairs and at one point no Democrat would have tried gun banning or deficit hawkdom. A liberal social view is not conducive to opposition to universal health care but fiscal conservancy is. That tension would be difficult to control and keep that new third party from becoming just what the other Parties are.

9 comments:

Oregonian4Paul said...

I'm confused, Chuck. I share your views on many issues and concur with several of your pointed criticisms of the GOP as it exists today. However, I can't for the life of me understand how a man who claims to be a strong supporter of The Second Amendment can go along so easily with the Democratic Party. Then there's illegal immigration, another issue you appear to have your head together on, yet again somehow your loyalties lie with the no borders crowd. Somehow you remain a bigger fan of Edwards, Obama, Kucinich or Clinton above any other candidate. What's your angle, my friend? Do you view yourself as some gadfly or agent of change in a party that only slightly jibes with your personal beliefs?

Kevin said...

O4P, I'm a long-time Independent of the NAV variety. Chuck and I have gone round and round several times about why I'm content to remain an Indie and yet advocate for politicians running under the banner of a major party.

My take is that in many respects Chuck sees himself as an agent of change. But I disagree with your characterization of him as being in a party that only slightly jibes with his personal beliefs. He and they agree on much more than they disagree on, IMHO. Hence his membership in the Democratic Party.

Chuck of course is free to speak for himself. Take what I say with a grain of salt if Chuck says something different in response to your comment. This is just my own personal take on the issue you raised.

To be blunt, Chuck fits in the Democratic Party much better than Ron Paul fits in the Republican Party. Or at least he seems to have a great deal more in common, philosophically and otherwise, with them than Paul does with the GOP.

Chuck Butcher said...

If you have read the other posts you'll find I'm no fan of Hillary or Obama, period, Edwards is weak on the 2nd but has shown some redeeming features.

There isn't a Republican or Democrat that is anything other than stupid on illegal immigration, that takes care of choices. A wall is blatant stupidity, it's too long and everybody figures out how to get around it. Controling the draw or magnet is the point, no jobs and no services equals no reason to come - or stay.

Blaming the entire Democratic Party for the actions of a few is Republican framing, it would be no different to accuse the entire Republican Party of closet homosexualism or infidelity or corruption. Read DPO Resolution 08-2005 and then try to find a better stance on the 2nd. That doesn't toss Ginny Burdick, but it does marginalize her.

I am a little more comfortable on the 2nd now that the Supreme's have decided to hear it on the basis of an individual right, there's almost no chance given the literature of the times that it can be construed differently and the 14th spreads the guarantees across all citizens regardless of states' views.

You cannot make a single case to me to vote Republican.

Chuck Butcher said...

Thanks Kevin, I'll not argue
that. Kevin and I may have gone around/around, but the simple reason is the value I place on folks like Kevin.

I'm much farther left than the Democratic Party taken as a whole, but I am also a practical man, I have to be in my line of work. I am relentlessly fair, and I detest hypocrits and liars.

You'll be pretty hard pressed to find holes or inconsistency in my stances.

Steve Culley said...

Rudy is a GWB on steroids and Bloomberg is a Hillary on steroids. Can't see much 3rd party there. Ron Paul however should appeal to anti war, anti empire democrats and fiscal republicans and just plain old constitutional Americans.

Chuck Butcher said...

The problem with Paul is that he's so much more wrong on what he's wrong on than he's right on what he gets right. Ron Paul's line of thinking would take us right on back down the capitalist feudalism of the 18th & 19th century. He's about as much a cure as playing russian roulette with a Colt 45 auto.

Steve Culley said...

When I look at the coming gun battle I feel the same about the democrats running, the same goes for the borders and the same for the republicans on trade and empire building.

Zak J. said...

I would hazard that on immigration most of the corporate donors (Wall Mart & frinds, big agri-business, meat-packing plants) that have created the current wink and nudge system of immigration reform we have a Republicans. Cheap labor with no political or civil rights helps create greater profits and economic control for the few at the expense of everyone else. True, the Republicans have trouble reconciling being the party of the rich with also being the party of Blue Collar, but that's why the aliiance between economic and social conservtives has been so politically effective--each branch covers the tracks of the other. The militantly anti-immigration groups patrolling the border or making comments about Mexicans not being able to fit into American culture are mostly Republican--but those providing the exploitative jobs that bring people hear are, like the famous Oregon vinhard owner Ron Saxton, also Republican.

The Democrats end up looking weak to the knee-jerk anti-immigration faction because we keep to the simple premise that everyone who is allowed into the U.S. must have basic human rights, legal protections, and a route to citizenship. That is a far cry from an "open borders" point of view--the numbers of people to allow in or the process by which they come here legally are totally separate from the belief that anyone who IS allowed to come in legally must be given Constitutional rights and a path to citizenship. Anything less is slavery. Where we are now is that certain industries have created a system to encourage and even promote illegal immigration because when illegal immigrants come in greater numbers they work cheaper, don't strike, and don't call the cops on you when you shaft them. Our international trade agreements, like NAFTA, have also increased illegal immigration by destorying the farm economy throughout much of Mexico--it's cheaper to buy U.S. corn in Oaxacca than to grow it locally, so the Mexican farmers come here to take low wages subsidized by U.S. tax payers through our ludicrous farm bill to grow food to export to Mexico. It's just insane--and Republican interests are largely in favor of the status quo; they just make it seem like they're not by tossing around a lot of thinly veiled nativist rhetoric.

I'm a Democrat and I'm against amnesty, but I'm also against continuing a system of slavery by denying rights to people we decide to let in. And when you don't send people home because farmers scream that it costs too much to mechanize or pay sufficient wages to attrack legal workers, you've made a decision that you're going to let them in. I pin that one mostly on the Republicans and see no reason to appoligize for arguing to provide services like school and access to health care to the people who have been asked to come here and won't be leaving anytime soon if our policies don't change. If you strip services like schools away from people you've created economic policies to bring here, you're going to have a generation of ignorant angry people living in your midst not too far down the road.

If you want to solve illegal immigration, throw blue and white collar workers who hire them--including members of corporate boards--into prison. If you want to create a third world country in the U.S., bring in millions of people to work for low wages and deny them any means to improve their situation or to exercise basic human rights.

Steve Culley said...

I have written a ton on immigration with a few basic themes. Republicans like the cheap labor, customers and soldiers for the empire that legal and illegal immigration provides. Democrats think they are going to get poor people votes and are compasionate, except for those dispalced by immigration. Democtrats fancy themselves caretakers of the environment, Oregon democrats especially. However they tend to have blinders. Tell them that numbers of people is the major factor in creating environmental problems, the more people the more stress on the environment they will ignore the facts and try to mitigate the problem by such means as planning and zoning, never mind those who are displaced by regulating. Oregon's forced urbanization is the major case in point, country living for all but the rich has been outlawed and we now have a feudal state with counties like Wallowa county being almost the exclusive domain of the outside well to do. So while the pro immgration forces, democrat and republican continue on with what is an open borders globalist agenda and fill this already over populated country with untold millions who drive up our population base and put more pressure on the already stressed middle class we are considering for president John McCain of the Kenndy/Mccain amnesty bill along GWB lines and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who would destroy any hope of getting control of our borders. Then when some point out some inconveneint facts they are labeled bigots and nativists. Oh well, they all say they are going to unite us on immigration just like they will make us see eye to eye on guns. Just goes to show that even adults like fairy tails.