Nobody likes to be called a dummy by a dummy.

America needs a Third Way

If I understand it right, there is a political spectrum

Liberal <------> Conservative

The one end is held by the Democrats, and is the natural home of the educated elite, the literati, the free thinking liberals.

The conservative end is held by the Republicans, and is the natural home of the ordinary hard-working American, representing sobriety, traditional values and moral rectitude.

But the ordinary hard-working American, in voting Republican, is also voting against Social Security, Medicare, labor laws and protection for the disadvantaged. Ironically, the low income groups are voting against the very things they would most benefit from.

So it seems like there needs to be a triangle, not a line, with a third option neither liberal or conservative. An third option that will take up the cause of all those hard-working, blue collar workers whose jobs are disappearing as manufacting gets exported to China, all those families living three to a room with minimum wage incomes, all those living in impoverished rural communities.

America needs a workers party! Why hasn't it happened?
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 19th, 2005
Because the spectrum in the US isn't between Liberal and Conservative, its between a Centrist Consensus and Fundamentalism. The Fundamentalism is at both ends of the US spectrum as in

Fundamental Constitutionalism -- Centrist -- Fundamentalist Right

The identification of an American working class virtually disappeared with the New Deal and then the righteous anger at Communism which still exists, instead everyone had to be Middle Class, and that was a definition which means nothing like that which either you or I understand by that term.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 20th, 2005
Both of you have it right. A liberal party would be a worker party, but what we have is two conservative parties.

What's the political spectrum like in Canada & England? I hear they have some more luck with organizing labor parties than the U.S. has.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 20th, 2005
Not a great deal more luck judging by our current "leaders".
Permalink Andrew Cherry 
March 20th, 2005
Having winner-take-all elections makes for a strong bias toward a two party system. That's not going to change.

The worker's populism you're advocating doesn't sell very well in America anyway. American workers do not reflexively associate their wellbeing with big tax and spend programs, protectionism, etc. See the other recent threads here in ?off bemoaning this fact.
Permalink Matt Conrad 
March 20th, 2005
Ah, but that isn't the same thing as worker solidarity and in any event you're wrong. American Corporate culture is entirely protectionist when it suits it.

The British spectrum starts from a different base. It is acknowledged by all political parties, including the ultra right BNP and the soft ultra right of UKIP that the fundamental bedrock of social services should remain intact. The arguments between left and right often are about who should get such services.

There has been a shift over the past twelve or so years for New Labour and the Conservatives to virtually agree the agenda and argue about who is the best manager rather than the principles behind the policies. That has polarised more of the traditional Labour vote than the traditional Tory vote but hasn't pushed them far enough to vote for splinter socialist parties such as Independant Labour or the Socialist Worker Party.

Instead, both have migrated more to Liberal Democrat positions though without the deepseated understanding of the different scale and polarity that the Liberal Democrat measures itself on. That is on the evidence of by-elections which are almost unknown in the US system and would make hardly any waves in the US system but can have far reaching effects in a parliamentary system.

For the rest of Europe, because they more usually use a proportional voting system, any party which can get around 5% of the popular vote will get some say in the resultant parliamentary or assembly system. That has a tendency to concentrate most of the power around the middle in a country such as Germany which is a federation but in Italy results in enormous swings between Communist and crypto-fascist and in France between Gaullists and Socialists. Though the Gaullists have far more in common with the Socialists than they'd ever consider between the Forza Italia and themselves (and to complicate the confusion Berlusconi was assoiciated more with Socialists than any other party in the 70's and 80's).

The advantage of a proportional voting system is that no one is likely to do anything too horrendous. The first past the post system that the UK has does basically give the government an elected dictatorship unless either the Lords restricts it or it has a minority or a majority combined with another party.

We have seen two elected dictatorships in the past 25 years, Margaret Thatcher's Tory administration and Blair's New Labour administration.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 20th, 2005
> The advantage of a proportional voting system is that no one is likely to do anything too horrendous.

I heard that was the reason why a proportional voting system was imposed on Germany and Italy, at the end of World War II.

Another side effect, FWIW, is that it gets small parties into parliament; for example if 5% of the electorate vote for the Green Party, then 5% of parliamentarians are Green ... where (in parliament) they can occasionally influence legislation: by making alliance with parliamentarians from other parties ... especially in parliaments where no single party has a majority, in which case inter-party alliances are necessary for government.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 20th, 2005
Exactly so.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 20th, 2005
"Both of you have it right. A liberal party would be a worker party, but what we have is two conservative parties."

?

Mark, I thought you were in the US? Because neither the Republicans nor Democrats are "conservative" by any stretch of the imagination.

Small federal government? Nope.
Minimal government intervention? Nope.
Legislate at the lowest level possible? Nope.

They're more like the worst parts of socialist and "Big-R Republican" (i.e. corporate welfare). A friend of mine lumps them together and calls them the "Interventionist Party" which I wholly agree with. Both parties believe that the Federal Government knows best; they just disagree on which parts of citizens' lives to screw with.

I think the best "next step" is formation of a successful third party which is libertarian and "minimalist socialist" (supporting the idea of government welfare, but reducing the applicability to those who honestly need it to survive) Basically, the good bits of the two parties that have been left by the wayside.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 20th, 2005
The Democratic party was so shocked by the 1968 Convention debacle, that they dissolved the 'back-room-politics' that had worked so well up to that point.

That convention was horrible because there were lots of war protestors in the streets, and Mayor Daley sent in riot police.

The political situation was horrible because Lyndon Johnson could not figure out how to honorably end the Viet-Nam war, nor would he yield power either to his vice-president, Hubert Humphrey, or to Bobby Kennedy. Very late in the process, he gave his famous "I will not run" speech -- setting the stage for the Democratic convention debacle.

Unfortunatly, the Democratic party response to this was to dissolve the very way of working that had been working well enough up to that point. The result was the Democratic "herd of cats" -- completely undisciplined, single-issue oriented, un-willing to comprimise within the party, suspicious of Government authority yet seeking just enough power themselves to be effective at implementing policies.

The result has been to open the door to the Republicans, who have always had a disciplined agenda. Now the neo-cons are starting to destroy that discipline, having used it for obscene budget deficits, starting a major expensive war, and making America the world's policeman. None of these are truly Conservative positions.

What we need is a centrist Democratic party, with members who understand how to compromise and be patient. I suspect the situation will get much worse before the "raving liberal" cats of the Democratic party quit screaming into the wind.

Ms. Clinton's rhetoric is good in this regard, as was Mario Cuomo. Kerry TRIED to get some centrist positions put in place, but was derailed.
Permalink AllanL5 
March 20th, 2005
The first thing that has to go in any discussion like this is the idea that a single axis is enough. Right -- left, conservative -- liberal just aren't sufficient to classify political groups. Two axes will do it, see the bottom part of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_spectrum

or all of:

http://www.baen.com/chapters/axes.htm
Permalink Ward 
March 20th, 2005
Take the quiz to find out where you fall in a two-axis political map.

http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html
Permalink example 
March 20th, 2005
America need to embrace Islam.
Permalink Sulaiman 
March 20th, 2005
Sulaiman need learn English grammar.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 20th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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