By Samir K Shukla
There is a new clamor in the political world. Once again there is talk of starting another major political party. There is more than talk, there is effort. It is called the Forward Party. I’m not going to get into who is involved in forming this party. It may be a worthy effort but will end up as wishful thinking, possibly elevating fringe candidates in future elections by taking votes away from moderate candidates in both established parties.
The problem is that the two current parties – the donkeys and the elephants, are so entrenched in the American political ethos, that an effort to attach a third critter to pull the wagon called America may drive the country further apart. Alas, the Forward Party will join the Libertarians, Greens, and myriad others into obscurity very quickly. Unless a new party defines specific issues, topics or agendas, goals worth pursuing, people will not be interested. Bringing a mistress into a troubled marriage won’t solve the troubles.
Starting a third party sounds good on paper, and if it can be attained in a meaningful way, that would be lovely for our democracy. The truth is most of these efforts are flat-footed and don’t make a dent in the power of the current two parties. A better solution is to become an independent voter and force the parties to improve, make them into more effective parties that appeal to the vast middle America.
If fewer people are registered with specific parties, the candidates have to work harder to attract voters. Pandering to the “base” will become less important. Real issues will come to the forefront. There are a lot of people in the middle who are part Republican and part Democrat. I know Democrats who are fiscally conservative, and I know Republicans who are socially progressive. Focusing on the commonalities of most Americans will find adherents.
The biggest thing that both parties have forsaken is fiscal prudence. If one of the parties gets its act together and can bring fiscal sanity to our massive budgets and works to put in place long-term fiscal sustainability, their support will increase. In the end, it is always about the economy, our money, our sense of economic security, all other concerns fall after that.
If we have “Tax and Spend Democrats,” I would balance that out by adding “Steal and Spend Republicans.” Both parties have contributed to deficits and national debt. Yes, Democrats like to spend, and taxing is the way to generate more revenue. Yes, Republicans also like to spend and have created massive deficits in the guise of tax cuts, which is essentially stealing from the future to feed the present. We are stealing from our kids’ futures. Unless you balance the budget when either adding taxes or cutting them, you are just robbing Raj to pay Anita.
You can’t live on borrowed money indefinitely. The financial condition the country is in and the conditions that will be created in the future are due to the decisions made today. Fiscal accountability is the key going forward, for any governing effort.
A third party becomes unnecessary if there are enough quality candidates in both parties. For all the political divisions, Democrats and Republicans are cut from the same cloth, wanting to achieve similar things but use different means. Weed out the hard lefties and the hard righties by supporting sane, moderate candidates and the country’s temperature will go down and paths to fiscal sanity can open.
There is also talk of adding justices to the Supreme Court and getting rid of the filibuster. These are not policies; they are simply efforts to change the rules of engagement. When another party comes into power, they will return the favor if these bad ideas are acted upon.
We are approaching the mid-term elections in November. The work is at hand to do the research on candidates running for office. And then, of course, vote.