With Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Bernie Sanders attracting so much attention in the Presidential Primary polls, the question being bandied about is whether it is time for a real third party in American politics. Discounting this question a little because the media will fan the flames of anything that will sell more advertising, regardless of its newsworthiness, the question seems attractive if only as a possible way around the current Washington gridlock.
Trump, Carson, Sanders, and add, Fiorina do not see eye to eye on most all issues so the notion they represent a third party is bogus. They might legitimately each represent a potential third party but together they represent four new parties to add to the existing two. Hmmm, six altogether.
Trump has raised some interesting propositions in his unorthodox campaign. Recently he has hinted at raising taxes and imposing import duties (both GOP no-no’s) and this has raised the spector that should Trump get the GOP nod, there could be a schism within the party. Carson, Sanders, and Fiorina all propose personal behavior were they elected which has no room for the unproductive “shut down the government talk” which predominates the GOP controlled Congress now.
The Washington law making process has become so crippled with the combined burdens of hugely expensive campaigns and the need for Congress Members to continually raise money (at he expense of legislative work). Add in the equally corrupting influence of special interests and lobbyists, one gets the formula for no action. If it would take a third party to change this, then “bring them on”.
But is taking away the money enough?
A somewhat overlooked perspective on Washington gridlock is why do these otherwise intelligent people engage in such patiently destructive behavior?
IMO, another big factor stems from unstated beliefs. The “thinkers” on both sides of the aisle believe their opponents, if left uncheck, will create laws which simply will not work. There is unfortunately no willingness to share these feelings or to attempt constructive compromise.
From the GOP perspective, more entitlements and government jobs will sap the energy out of average Americans who instead of working hard and preparing for the future, will instead demand another handout from Uncle Sam. In time the cost of this path will squeeze out defense spending and soon leave the country defenseless. Democrats, on the other hand, highly suspect that the GOP will continuously tweak the tax code in a way that dilutes the value of entitlements, reduces the role of government, and builds permanent barriers between classes while increasing the wealth of the wealthy.
Hmmm. Cynical or realistic?
One reality in today’s world is globalization and that it offers the lowest cost, highest productivity option. Sourcing some manufacturing in lower wage countries is a must for America. How does the US keep the playing field level? Another reality involves global warming and coming to grips with changing the climate and rising seas is a must. The world is a big place and US only measures will most likely make little impact. Consider also economic and political refugees and how they will impact America even if these immigrants land in Europe.
And changing social values such as gender, gender ID, sexual orientation, and race which we have come to accept in the US will continue to cause difficulties with other nations and their religions and mores. A third party could address all these realities in a fresh manner.
If there is to be a third party, it would make only sense if this new party populated Congress too. Further the work of a new third party would need to be aimed at pragmatic solutions to US domestic and foreign policies, not some ideology. If the US ship of State does not steer a more sensible course, our status as the world’s wealthiest land could soon change.
On the other hand, if the lazy media just wants to talk about something and cares not what the underlying issues and implications might be, then talk of a third party is as good as any. Hmmm.