Symposium 2015: Are the Democrats and Republicans both becoming more extremist and does this give rise to a viable third party?

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Both the Democrats and Republicans have become more extremist, though in differing ways with varying yet similar characteristics.  Democrats have gone from a party of state’s rights to one of progressive and socialist thought and policy, while Republicans have gone from a party of decentralized government philosophy to one that has compromised its conservative values and further weakened itself through alignment with and capitulation to Democrat ideas, along with limited opposition to Democrat sponsored programs, legislation, executive overreach, and Supreme Court and lower court rulings.

Today both parties disagree on just about everything. Both parties agree on tax cuts, the Democrats favoring cuts for middle class and low income families while raising taxes on businesses and higher income earners.  The Republicans favor tax cuts for all income levels.  On social issues, Republicans favor traditional marriage between one man and one woman while democrats favor gay marriage.  When it comes to abortion and gun ownership, Democrats favor gun control and support abortion, while Republicans oppose abortion and believe in the Second Amendment. Democrats are more for a progressive view while Republicans tend to be more conservative.

As far as extremes are concerned Democrats have demonstrated their views with their lack of responsibility and inability to part from faulty ideological beliefs concerning regulatory matters, foreign policy, economic and social issues, legislative reform, and matters related to corruption, courts and the president’s executive powers.  Their support of dangerous domestic and foreign policies and their refusal to align with what is best for the country, along with their unending spending directed towards flawed legislation and deceptive social programs,  has pushed them to a  party of advancing socialism rather than one of concern for the little guy.

Extremes with Republicans are revealed through their refusal to strongly oppose progressive Democrat ideas and support and defend true conservative values.  Their fears over current administration policies and executive actions have allowed them to misrepresent their constituents with bold talking points that fall flat when confronted with final votes on controversial issues, decisions on critical legislation and executive actions.   Their failures to represent their constituents in a fair and truthful manner and to oppose that which Americans have continually contested has caused divisions within the Republican party itself, and a complete lack of trust with its constituents. Their weakened defense mechanisms, their distancing themselves from party ideals and what properly serves the country has driven their constituents to seek outsiders who will stand for limited government, strong national defense, free markets, the rule of law and strict adherence to the Constitution.

Though politics in America are controlled by the two parties, the current administration and federal government’s domination over almost every aspect of a citizen’s life has led to the possibility of a third party.  With the extreme actions and inactions of both parties, the idea of a viable third party has been contemplated, but many in and out of political office are wary of a third party because of the confusion and splits that already exist in both the Democrat and Republican parties. The fear is that a third party would not be able to stand on its own without a tradition of history.  In addition, there would not be the necessary support and loyalty that established political parties have attracted over the years.  Only if a strong and staunch party leader were to come out of an independent or third party would there be enough of a following to justify the formation of a third party.  At the present time, there are few people that stand for the Constitution, traditional principles and ideals who could lead such an effort.  The answer lies in a complete overhaul within each party where ethical and principled political candidates with common sense ideas and commitment to what is feasible and right for the country are elected to political office.  Change within the parties may be a temporary fix, but it could provide the impetus to set America back on track and put the extremists in both parties out of office.

Owatanna, MN Correspondent-For the last several decades, it seems as if the Democratic and Republican parties have become more alike. For that reason, and not because both parties are becoming more extremist, I believe a viable third party will rise up from the political mess we’re in, gaining dissatisfied members of both major parties.

In the 1960s, Democrats were the anti-war party. Viet Nam was so divisive that one party or the other had to come down on the side of peace just to maintain political balance, and it turned out to be the Democrats. Over the coming decades, as the U.S. became the sole superpower after “winning” the Cold War, an endless stream of police actions, pre-emptive invasions, and knee-jerk reactions to terrorism began. This peaked with the invasion of Iraq in 2003 after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. By then, the Democrats were as fully supportive of global policing and an absurdly huge defense budget as were Republicans.

On the other hand, Republicans long held the mantle of the fiscally responsible party, the party of small government, the party of balanced budgets. They should have advocated for spending the post-Cold War peace dividend on peaceful pursuits, or downsizing the budget and government since a massive military-industrial complex was no longer needed to fight communism. Instead, the Republicans abdicated fiscal responsibility by caving in to warmongering special interests and financing the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with credit instead of taxes.

Then came the Great Recession of 2008-09. Congress made a bipartisan decision to inflate the federal debt as the fix to the problem while still fighting wars in the Middle East. Both parties have shown they are in virtually complete agreement as to how to govern the country. We have become essentially a one-party government.

The extremism cited by so-called experts arises from parties taking polar opposite sides on a host of issues that have little to do with governing but a lot to do with politics: abortion/right to life, racism, immigration, and religion. Bold, radical positions on these issues are attempts to give voters clear choices at election time. But once the elections are over, incumbents and newly elected representatives alike return to business as usual. This is why Democrats became disillusioned with the Obama administration, why Republicans became disillusioned with the Bush administration, and why most people end up voting for who they perceive to be the lesser of two evils. So much was promised; so little was delivered.

A viable third party will only come to prominence when those lesser-of-two-evils voters defect to a party that takes common sense positions on the real issues of governing and is committed to repairing the real problems our nation faces.

 

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Politics today have become the equivalent of a clique-ridden high school, where you have to pick which group you’ll ally with and once you’re locked in, changing groups can be the social equivalent of committing seppuku in the lunchroom.

Our elected officials are behaving like spoiled, pouty children who demand things their way, and if they don’t get everything they want, they’ll take their toys and go home.  Remember the days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill?  These were men whose ideologies diverged greatly, but who could sit down together and work out compromises when it was in the country’s best interest.  This was seen as a GOOD quality.  They were praised for their ability to put aside their differences and work together.

In today’s political world, compromise has become concomitant with weakness, and offering to compromise with the other side is showing your exposed belly to those on your own side who would seek to knock you down the ladder of professional achievement.  The only way to the top in either party is to wrap yourself firmly in your base’s agenda and, if you do have any urges to offer compromises, vent them through third parties or couch them in weasel-worded language that makes it sound as if you’re doing your opponent a favor by letting them have some scraps from the big table.

Sadly, the game is rigged.  It’s damned near impossible for a third party to gain a foothold because of the way primary registration and the Electoral College are constructed.  For a third party to succeed, it’s going to require time, at least two or three presidential election cycles, money and patience.  That last is actually one of the hardest to put together, as modern society has been conditioned by YouTube and Vine to pay attention to things in short bursts. If a new party doesn’t have dramatic success in its first election cycle, the masses move on to the next shiny object on the political landscape.

I do think that eventually the American peoples’ dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs will give rise to a viable third party, but I don’t think it will be anytime soon.

Cartwright—I’d like to point out to my friends here that we do have a third party in America.  It’s the Libertarian party, but unfortunately, it doesn’t get much attention though it does have a following.  However, the Republicans and the Democrats are never going to let third party candidates be successful.  This would upset their balance of power and they’re going to do whatever it takes to maintain their power and their control.

Someone made a comment a minute ago that the two parties are one and the same and that the system is rigged.  That’s exactly right.  We are ruled in America by a political elite establishment.  They think they’re better than the ordinary American.  They think they know better than the America people.  If you’re not one of them, you have about zero chance of any success in politics.  They look out for their own and make sure they get their own into the “club” in Washington.  They pick the candidates that they want and even before they get elected the upper echelon from the party takes them to lunch or takes them out to golf and tells them what they’re going to do when they get to Washington, tells them what committee they’ll be on once they’re elected, and how they’re going to vote.  If you buck the trend, if you’re not a good little soldier who falls in line with the establishment, you’re done.  They all play their little game of back and forth.  They trash talk each other on TV, and when it’s all over they go have drinks together and yuck it up at how stupid the American people are.  Does this make us any different from Russia or China?

Why do you think the establishment hates Donald Trump so much?  They know he’s not going to play their little game, and they feel he’s a threat to their power and balance.  Trump is the Luke Skywalker to the establishment Evil Galactic Empire.  They’re seeking to destroy him.  Ross Perot was the same.  Look what they did to him.  Let’s go further back to George Wallace, the last their party candidate to win any Electoral College electors.  Everyone who is a threat to them gets attacked either physically or with smear campaigns.

Do we need a viable third party in the United States?  Absolutely.  It would be great if we could get some third party candidates, particularly Libertarians, elected to the Congress.  Perhaps it would force some compromise between the parties and get the system working a little bit better.  Is that ever going to happen?  I doubt it unless we can get a candidate like Trump to back quality third party candidates in Congressional elections.  I don’t think it’s highly likely, but it’s nice to dream about.  I want what’s best for America and I want America to be the great place that our Founding Fathers envisioned.  Unfortunately, our constitutional republic has been hijacked by the political elite who are more interested in self preservation and personal gain than doing what’s best for the country.

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