Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Third Party Dreaming

Blogger Bredan Nyhan has become pretty snarky since his days at Spinsanity, but he does makes some sense at times. He blasts the idea of a centrist third party challenging the two party duopoly in the United States.

The creation of a centrist third party has a been a dream for those us in the middle. There was a lot of hope when Jesse Ventura "shocked the world" when he won the governorship of Minnesota in 1998. But the Reform Party never got very far, and infact the Minnesota Reform Part left and became the Independence Party in 2000. There was also a lot of hope when Ross Perot created the Reform Party and I think it had a decent shot of becoming a viable third party. However, Perot's control of the party apparatus and frequent infighting weakened the party and allowed John Buchannan to take over the party in 2000. Perot took his toys (and his money) and went home and by 2004, the Reform Party was history.

The problem with third parties is not just the current election laws, but because they seem to lack a coherant ideology. Simply saying you are in the middle isn't enough.

Ryan over at Centerfield believes that instead of hoping for a Centrist Third Party, centrists should show up in force in the major party primaries. I think this is a more viable option that can bypass the extremists who control the Republican and Democratic Parties. In 1994, moderate Republican Arne Carlson lost the gubernatorial endorsement of the state GOP to Alan Quist a far right candidate. He fought on to the primary and won and subsequently won a second term.

I think the future lies in bringing two "big two" closer to the center than in the pipe dream of a third party.

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