Finding a third term
U.S. would benefit from a third major political party
Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 18:10
Many times in life, people are posed with binaries. A binary can be a way of helping us simplify – breaking something down into two opposite parts. But it can also be a way of polarizing differing positions in ways in which obscure our ideas more than they clarify them.
This is what has happened in American politics. A recent Gallup poll reveals that 60 percent of Americans are now showing support for the emergence of a third political party.
Consider us a part of the majority on this one.
The political system has become too polarized by dissension between Democrats and Republicans and their inability to work together to produce a functional government.
It wasn’t always this way.
Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” has recently written a book titled Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked about how President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill were able to work together in their time and pass legislation regularly.
The basis of Matthews’ argument is somewhat inflated but it is indeed valid; both Reagan and O’Neill were pragmatists interested in making government work.
Reagan, the ideological hero of the Right Wing, raised taxes 16 times during his presidency. Above all else, he was a politician – willing to make compromises for the sake of achievement.
President Obama has not shown himself to have the gift that Reagan had of influencing public perception or affecting public policy. But he is also president in a different time – in a more intense and divided political climate.
Some Republicans flat-out hate him and are against him simply to be against him. Others, the more moderate within the party, are entrenched in a quagmire; they are unable to work around the extremists who are peddling too large an influence in the current democratic process.
In other words, the current Republican Party is at odds with itself.
The Democratic Party faces a similar dilemma – but nowhere near the level of extremity that Republicans do. They too have staunch ideologists who are outspoken on their beliefs; and they, too, have moderates who lean more to the center – whose primary interest is achieving tangible initiatives.
But due to the dog-eat-dog climate that permeates our political landscape, it is hard to find a place for these more practical-minded politicians.
Some conservatives here at UB feel they align with the Republican Party on economic issues but see the national party’s agenda on social issues as incredibly alienating.
A serious and substantial moderate party would do the country well. An ideology focused on meeting in the middle would add a practical component to our legislative process and would give more Americans the voice in Congress they deserve.
As diverse and multi-cultural as America is, not all Americans feel their political convictions fit within a binary system. More and more, people are registering as independents, according toThe Washington Post.
We recognize the intricacies of initiating a third party that could become a major factor within American politics. As Chris Cillizza of The Post has pointed out, it will require a great deal of gymnastics – and an even greater amount of money.
Even with large numbers of Americans suggesting they are ready for a restructuring of the political system, the chance of this happening is not very feasible – at least right now.
In early-childhood education, teachers often give students a choice between A or B, where the aim is to get the student to recognize the choice does not fall solely between A or B but rather to seek out C. Anthropologists call this “finding a third term.”
With the government shut down for over two weeks, and with our two-party system unable to deliver the basic functions of democratic process, it may be time to give this a little more thought.