Thursday, August 18, 2005

Third Parties

Listen to this audio article from today's Morning Edition on NPR. Says the lead: "Progressives are taking a page from conservative politicians and are creating and supporting progressive think tanks, training young activists, and building a progressive network."

This dovetails nicely with some of the debates that've been going on over the months but specifically yesterday and today here on BoB re: the need for a third party, the legacy of the Clinton administration (from Left and Right views), and the leadership (or lack thereof) in the Democratic Party and its agenda (or lack thereof).

Some points/questions:

First, I welcome the effort by the progressives. A good idea, eh?

Second, as the audio article declares, one problem with the Democratic Party as it currently operates is that is seems to be focusing solely on the '06 midterms, and it is this very short term outlook which works against a long term winning strategy. The implication is that Conservatives were willing to lose elections to build a movement; I don't know if I buy that or not, but I do think it is now an established meme - that Republicans stand for something and Democrats stand for nothing. But the question is valid: what price focusing on just the next election? Is it worth embracing positions that pay off in the future at the risk of losing elections in the near term? I don't think it's one or the other, necessarily, but obviously there's that debate in real time in real circles of Democratic strategists.

Third, it seems that some of the folk intrigued by the third party option would probably disagree vociferously with each other at platform writing time. Perhaps there are more similarities than not between progressives and libertarians - and both agreements and disagreements should be explored if both agree that Bush Republicanism needs to be defeated - but I can imagine third, fourth, fifth parties once the schisms in the third party erupt. Thoughts? Thread away.


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