Resist “Common Wisdom”: Allow Yourself to Think “Third Party” (Join the Many Who Have Done Just That Throughout U.S. History)

(Editor’s Note: This piece from Kenosha Marge is cross-posted from her bunker up North known as “Witch’s Will“. Orignally posted under the title How do I know? The experts tell me so.”)

September 30, 2009

By Kenosha  Marge

It occurred to me recently, while bemoaning the fact that we do not have a viable 3rd party choice in this country that perhaps “I” was part of the problem. Part of the problem because I believed that we couldn’t have a viable party because the “common wisdom”  or   the “experts” tell us so.

Just as the power of positive thinking works, so does the power of negative thinking.  If we are convinced something can’t happen then we won’t make much of an effort in that direction. No use us “spinning our wheels” is there? The old beating our heads against a brick wall approach that everyone tells us is stupid and not constructive. Add painful.

Remember that old limerick that went something like this:

They told the young man it couldn’t be done

With a smile on his face he went right to it

He tackled that job that couldn’t be done

And you know what, he couldn’t do it.

Thinking about that limerick and how I let that kind of thing insidiously convince me that we couldn’t have a viable 3rd party I realized that I was a knothead. Of course that’s something I all ready knew, but I suddenly realized that on this issue I was more of a knothead than usual.  I was allowing the “common wisdom” and the “experts” to shape my opinion and thus help to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I am not naive enough to believe that having a 3rd Party choice would solve all our problems. Getting rid of most of the corrupt and corrupted politicians in Washington D.C., while putting the fear of re-election into the rest is what’s absolutely necessary. Add a cease fire with shooting ourselves in the foot by electing the same old pols with our same old partisan votes.

Those would be the same pols that disappoint us time and again. As a punishment we re-elect them. Perhaps they packed us in pork and we consider that good governance. We do if we consider getting ours at the expense of the good of the country good governance.  Let me state for the record that I don’t.

My mantra has become “Partisanship is un-American and unpatriotic and dammit, it’s lazy too.” Quite a wordy mantra, it definitely needs some work. However, it work for me.

We get so focused on the Democrats and Republicans that we forget how many other parties have come and gone since the founding of our government.

Most know that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and that Andrew Jackson was a Democrat. But did you know that Thomas Jefferson was a Democrat-Republican? Perhaps that doesn’t seem so strange given that we basically have the same thing today, they just pretend to be different on television. The two major parties each take a turn to screw the public, steal from the public and score points off their “adversaries” by doing things that will harm the public. Unlike Jefferson, what we have now are Democrat-Republican-Asshats.

Historical political parties

The following parties are no longer functioning. Some of them had considerable influence. Listed in order of founding.

Gone and mostly forgotten until Googled at Wikipedia.

The Top Three of the 3rd Parties are:

Constitution Partysocially conservative, fiscally conservative

Green Partysocially progressive, fiscally liberal

Libertarian Partysocially liberal, fiscally conservative

Libertarian Party: Founded in 1971, the Libertarian party is the third largest political party in America. Over the years, Libertarian Party candidates have been elected to many state and local offices.

Libertarians believe the federal government should play a minimal role in the day-to-day affairs of the people. They believe that the only appropriate role of government is to protect the citizens from acts of physical force or fraud. A libertarian-style government would therefore limit itself to a police, court, prison system and military. Members support free market economy and are dedicated to protection of civil liberties and individual freedom.

Constitution Party

is a United States political party rooted in the paleoconservative movement. It was founded as the U.S. Taxpayers’ Party in 1992. The party’s official name was changed to the Constitution Party in 1999; however, some state affiliate parties are known under different names. The party’s goal as stated in its own words is “to restore our government to its Constitutional limits and our law to its Biblical foundations.” [1] The party puts a large focus on immigration, calling for stricter penalties towards illegal immigrants and a moratorium on legal immigration until all federal subsidies to immigrants are discontinued.[2] The party absorbed the American Independent Party, originally founded for George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign. The American Independent Party of California was an affiliate of the Constitution Party since its founding, but disaffiliated itself after the 2008 Constitution Party Convention to support Alan Keyes and his America’s Independent Party. The Constitution Party’s affiliate in California now bears the name of California Constitution Party.

Green Party of the United States (GPUS)

is one of the political parties in the United States, and similar in mission to many of the worldwide Green Parties. The Greens, a voluntary association of state parties, have been active as a nationally recognized political party since 2001. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by their corresponding states. The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP), a forerunner organization, first gained widespread public attention during Ralph Nader’s presidential runs in 1996 and 2000. With the founding of the Green Party of the United States, the party established a national political presence becoming the primary national Green organization in the U.S. eclipsing the earlier Greens/Green Party USA which emphasized non-electoral movement building.

I have voted for Green Candidates now and again. Now I’m not sure I want to do that again. Being fiscally liberal is not a good fit for me. And voting for a “Green” is quite often the same as voting for a Democrat. The same skunk with a differant stipe isn’t what I’m looking for.

There are literally dozens of other “3rd Parties”, many whom I must confess I had never heard of before. There is a link below if you want to take a look around and see what’s available.

The problem for most 3rd Party candidates is getting on the ballot.

In most states a 3rd party candidate must gather signatures from citizens. The number varies from state to state. Here’s just a sample:

Georgia: The legislature passed a law in 1943 requiring that new party and independent candidates submit a petition signed by 5% of the number of registered voters in order to get on the ballot for any office. Previously, any party could get on the ballot just by requesting it. The result has been that since 1943, there has not been one third party candidate on the Georgia ballot for U.S. House of Representatives.

Florida: The ballot access laws for third parties and independent candidates have been very severe ever since 1931. Since 1931, there have been only two third party candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives on the ballot and only one third party candidate for the U.S. Senate. There has not been a third party or independent candidate on the ballot for Governor of Florida since 1920. Currently, a filing fee of 7% of the annual salary of the office is also required unless the candidate is a pauper, while a third party or independent candidate for any statewide office (other than president) needs 196,255 valid signatures — no independent candidate in any state in the U.S. has ever successfully complied with a signature requirement greater than 134,781 signatures.

Arkansas: The legislature passed a law in 1971 providing that new parties could not get on the ballot unless they submit a petition signed by a number of voters equal to 7% of the last vote cast. Because this law in 1977 was held unconstitutional (courts have since held that petition requirements cannot exceed 5% of the electorate), the legislature changed it to 3%. No political party has ever succeeded in getting on the Arkansas ballot, under either the 7% or the 3% rule — partly because the state requires that the petition be completed in the four months during the odd year before an election year.

West Virginia: Third party and independent candidates for office (other than president) must circulate their petition before the primary. It is a crime for any petition circulator to approach anyone without saying “If you sign my petition, you cannot vote in the primary.” The law can be enforced because it is illegal for anyone to circulate a petition without first obtaining “credentials” from election officials for this purpose. Furthermore, it is impossible for third party or independent candidates (not running for president) to ever know in advance if they have enough valid signatures because if anyone who signs a candidate’s petition then votes in a primary, the signature of that person is invalid. For candidates, it is impossible to know who will actually vote in the primary, and it is too late to get signatures after the primary.

Tennessee – 25 signatures is all that is required as of 2006 to be put on the ballot for any elected office. A candidate for President of the United States must put foward a full slate of candidates who have agreed to serve as electors (11, at least until the 2010 census). A party must mainatain five percent of the vote statewide in order to be recognized as a party and have its candidates listed on the ballot under that party’s name; the last third party to do so was the American Party in 1968; none of its candidates received five percent of the statewide vote in 1970 and it was then decertified as an official party.

Texas – For a registered political party in a statewide election to gain ballot access, they must either 1) obtain five percent of the vote in any statewide election or 2) collect petition signatures equal to one percent of the total votes cast in the preceding election for governor, and must do so by January 2 of the year in which such statewide election is held. An independent candidate for any statewide office must collect petition signatures equal to one percent of the total votes cast for governor, and must do so beginning the day after primary elections are held and complete collection within 60 days thereafter (if runoff elections are held, the window is shortened to beginning the day after runoff elections are held and completed within 30 days thereafter). The petition signature cannot be from anyone who voted in either primary (including runoff), and voters cannot sign multiple petitions (they must sign a petition for one party or candidate only).

Both major parties make it as difficult as possible for 3rd Party candidates to get on a ballot. It’s not that they fear that any 3rd party will win,although Ross Perot did give them a scare, it’s that 3rd parties often act as spoilers.

Perot’s candidacy received increasing media attention when the competitive phase of the primary season ended for the two major parties. President George H.W. Bush was losing support, and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton was still suffering from the numerous scandal allegations made in the previous months. With the insurgent candidacies of Republican Pat Buchanan and Democrat Jerry Brown winding down, Perot was the natural beneficiary of populist resentment toward establishment politicians. On May 25, 1992 he was featured on the cover of Time Magazine with the title “Waiting for Perot”, an allusion to Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot.

Whatever the reason the fact remains that we could have more choices when we vote. We can have more choices if we insist that those choices be made available to us in every election, local, state and national. We owe it to ourselves to look around and see what’s available.

Or we can just make our selection from a very limited menu as usual. Funny thing is, we wouldn’t accept that at a hamburger joint but we accept it meekly when it comes to our government.  If we don’t work to change that we have only ourselves to blame.

It doesn’t matter what the experts, the mavens, the pundidiots, and common wisdom is trying to tell us. Because all of the above are so wrong so often that why we listen to them/it at all is a complete mystery to me. A mystery I suspect would baffle the offspring of Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple. And that’s the picture I leave you to try to get out of your head. Big winking smiley with sunglasses

links110_a

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_States#Historical_political_parties

This link is for modern political parties:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_party_(United_States)

Ross Perot link:

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

Campaign to get 3rd Party Candidates on Every Congressional Ballot

http://www.breakthematrix.com/Third-Party/campaign-to-get-3rd-party-candidates-on-EVERY-Congressional-ballot-in-2010

Getting 3rd Party Candidates on the ballot a difficult endeavor

http://www.satireandcomment.com/sc1007thirdparty.html

Ballot access

http://www.ballot-access.org/winger/fbfp.html

Ballot access laws by state

http://home.earthlink.net/~maxhamforpresident/id28.html

STANDING TALL: DECLARATION OF AN INDEPENDENT

~~By Kenosha Marge

Who are we? What is our own personal identity? What parts of that identity are most important to us? How far are we willing to go to protect the part of our identity that we most cherish?

I will always be an Irish American/Danish American/French Canadian/Ogallala Sioux. That’s in the blood and the bone. I don’t think of myself that way much. I just think of myself as an American.

I did however always think of myself as a Democrat. We were the good guys. We were the people that cared about other people unlike those evil, rotten Republicans that didn’t. Except that attitude didn’t work very well for me because ½ of my family, the maternal half, was Republican. While I didn’t always agree with them, they certainly weren’t evil or rotten. They were in most respects much like the other half of the family, the Irish-American Liberal/Democrat side. Except, to be perfectly honest, they were far more fiscally responsible.

I grew up to be a fiscally responsible moderately liberal Democrat. Voted a straight Democratic ticket, and I always voted, all the time. One slip over the years when I voted for a liberal Green candidate who seemed far more in tune with my beliefs than old Herb Kohl (D-WI) ever was.

Then came the election cycle of 2008. I learned that much of what I was and who I thought I was and who I thought they were was not true. May 31st 2008 a day that will live in Democratic Party infamy for many others and me. The day we knew, finally, sadly, angrily knew, that the party we had been a part of and believed in was as corrupt as the other party. That was the day that I, personally, left the Democratic Party forever. Once my trust is lost it is gone forever.

Now I am an Independent. Felt very strange at first but has grown to be enlightening and giving me a whole new sense of freedom.

As a non-partisan Independent I don’t have to like some politician just because they have a “D” after their name. Right there is freedom from voting for some pinhead just cause he’s a Democrat. And truth be told, I voted for a lot of pinheads.

As a non-partisan Independent I am suddenly listening to what people on the right are saying. And sometimes, much to my surprise, I actually agree with them. Lots of times I don’t. Just like many times I don’t agree with those on the left. That’s the freedom of not being a partisan pinhead. Viva la Independence!

As a non-partisan Independent I have come to see that both major parties are corrupt, dysfunctional, and incompetent. Oh they both bluster and brag on all the good things they do but take a look at the shape the country is in, where the hell were they when it was headed this way? Some very smart people were telling anyone that would listen what was coming. Damn few listened.

Now the parties point their fingers at each other. Smart people know that this disaster is a bi-partisan mess created by elected officials that are too busy raising money and worrying about their next campaign to be much concerned about the people’s business. Too concerned about partisanship and the pecking order and who is in power and who isn’t. As a non-partisan Independent I can tell you who isn’t in power; the American People.

As a non-partisan Independent I have come to see that there is no party for America. Republicans care more about the Republican Party than they care about their country. Democrats care more about the Democratic Party than they care about America. Both parties care more about money and power than their constituency. Oh they talk the talk, rhetoric is cheap folks, takes money to buy whiskey. Damn few walk the walk. As a newly-minted Independent I am seeing this with my eyes wide open for the first time.

As a non-partisan Independent I look at issues not who is saying what. I look at the deed and not the doer. If something is wrong for one party then it is equally wrong when done by the other party. With partisanship attitudes that is seldom true. I have heard people twisting themselves in rhetorical knots defending an act they condemned with vigor when done by a Republican but are now defending when done by a Democrat. And vice-versa, hypocrisy at least is completely bi-partisan.

As a non-partisan Independent I have come to the sad conclusion that I pretty much loathe all politicians. They are a bunch of lying, thieving, bloviating, incompetent nincompoops that aren’t fit to run the Funhouse at a Carnival let alone a country.

As a non-partisan Independent I wish that we had good, honest, competent, leadership. As a non-partisan Independent I can plainly see that we don’t.

As a non-partisan Independent I will therefore have to pick and choose and be hyper vigilant when voting. I will vote for the person and not the party. I will vote for the best of the bad and hope they will grow into their job or at least see that their best interests lie with the people who elect them.

As a non-partisan Independent I hope enough people take off their partisan-colored glasses and vote for what’s best for all the people not just people that think the way they do. I also would hope people would stop demonizing every one that doesn’t belong to the same party or philosophy that they do. We have enough evil bastards in Washington D.C. running our country and our way of life into the ground. We don’t need to help them by turning on each other. They are the enemy. They are the evildoers. We the people put politicians in a position to do their evil deeds.

As a non-partisan Independent I really wish we’d stop doing that.