Third party problem? America is not a free political market.


Americans are deeply frustrated with politics. They see the country going in the wrong direction. They are regularly forced to choose between two candidates that they do not particularly like. between 40 and 50 percent The country is not defined as democratic or republican but as independent.

To someone who has learned the basics of market economics, this may seem like a no-brainer: come up with an alternative. If people think all local coffee shops are bad, you open a new one. And if the two major political parties are really bad, start a new major political party.

There is only one problem: other cafes control who can open the cafe and how big it is. Moreover, people who are frustrated with coffee shops often still have a vested interest in seeing a coffee shop succeed. And problems pile up from there.

Subscribe to How to Read This Chart, Philip Bump’s weekly data newsletter

The Advertising On Wednesday that a group of former candidates and elected officials from both parties were forming a new party – the Forward – is not really surprising. It’s a flash of impressive American optimism, and the idea that their low prices on bouquets or delicious pancakes will set them apart. And even to some extent he realizes himself: the article presenting the party is based on this idea this is The third party will not fail.

I wrote about this little last year. The main point of this article is that our constant hearing about new “third parties” makes the inherent problem clear. There are, of course, dozens of other parties out there, a third, fourth and 20th party unlike the Democrats and Republicans. But since the objective of a political party is to mobilize political power, and since none of these parties have assembled much, it has been neglected to an insignificant rank. There is no strong Third party, there is no counterweight to Democrats and Republicans. Largely because Democrats and Republicans have worked so hard to make sure there isn’t one.

The problem begins even when it appears on the ballot.

over here What it takes to get the ballot paper in Pennsylvania. Read through, noting the difference between “political parties” and “small political parties” candidates. Imagine that you are considering a challenge to the current head of state but don’t want to run as a Democrat or a Republican. What are the odds of you getting stuck in the rules?

Forward founders have an advantage you don’t. They all know the attorneys who do these things and can figure out how to file what to file and where. But it’s expensive—and even if lawyers find out, the system is skewed in many places precisely to make running as a Democrat or Republican easier than running as anything else. And who is going to change that, the Democrats and Republicans who are currently making laws?

As I wrote last year, American politics is a duopoly. Want to market? Good luck and God bless you.

The Forward crew’s optimism extends far beyond saying that they can penetrate the political economy. This is one pie in their sky:

“That’s why we’re proposing the first ‘open’ party. Americans of all stripes—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—are invited to be part of the process, without giving up their existing political affiliations, by joining us in discussing building an optimistic and inclusive home for the politically displaced majority.”

Gather the town and bargain for solutions. America!

The problem, of course, is that Americans have strong views on specific things that they often will not be willing to compromise. Forward’s article criticizes the far left for wanting to get rid of guns and the far right for wanting to get rid of gun laws. But this is not the place Parties It is, because the parties respond to the alliances they have built. If you simply take some freelancers and sit with them – much less partisan! You will quickly find a lot of important issues on which there is no consensus. so what?

The important thing to remember about the Forward Group’s regular outcry about the number of freelancers is that most freelancers are still allied with one party or the other. in Gallup Latest poll, 43 percent of respondents identified as independents. But just under half of that group said they lean toward Democrats. Most of the rest leaned toward the Republican Party. What motivates independents who lean in one party or another is not that they support centrist positions, but that they I hate the other side. Republican-leaning independents do not necessarily share “independence” with democratic ones. They simply share a lack of interest in being part of a political party…which of course does not bode well for those looking to found a new political party.

This conflation of “independent” and “middle” is a fatal flaw in this argument. Both parties are home to centrists (although the Democrats are more dense). The parties have always worked hard to make their positions acceptable to those in the middle. It’s a great old fashioned cafe! They will do what they can to keep customers, even reluctantly.

Then there is Donald Trump. Trump won 2016 in part because he energized more right-wing voters — but he did so while largely retaining more moderate elements in the Republican Party who were skeptical of his nomination. Hillary Clinton worked hard to keep these voters away. Partly because partisanship (bilateralism) is such a strong stimulus, it wasn’t much helpful.

His rise provides a useful example of how the long-standing dream of building a third party misunderstands American political power. Trump was not a staunch Republican, nor was he a partisan. He flipped between partisan identities at various points and changed his positions on issues. Then, in 2016, he took over the presidency of the Republican Party and remade it in his own image. He understood a latent and underrepresented political force and connected it to the infrastructure of the Republican Party.

It wasn’t easy, depending on a lot of factors unique to Trump: celebrity, wealth and charisma. These factors have also driven third-party efforts in the past, as happened with Ross Perot in 1992. Beirut was a one-man third party, really, who crafted a party around his personality and money. Entered in 1996 to 2000 – with Donald Trump look briefly as her presidential candidate.

Without Beirut, the party withered. Insulated from power, it nonetheless limps as many “third parties” do. Its a website. It even has social media.

On Thursday morning, 1,677 Twitter followers saw a message addressed in part to Andrew Yang, co-founder of the Forward Party. Yang had asked his more substantial Twitter after what animal Forward might adopt as his talisman. He offered a Twitter poll that included “Eagle” as an option – he didn’t know the Reform Party had actually claimed it.

Sorry, you cannot call your cafe “Caffiends”. It has been registered as a trademark since 1992 by a store that closed in 1993. The remnants of past third-party efforts surround us everywhere, unseen, unnoticeable and helpless.