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If France Can Do It, Why Can’t We?

by David D. Eisenhower (Principles: Military Restraint, Bipartisanship) - 1 year ago

What can voters do when its two major political parties are not acting in the best interest of the country? A viable Third Party is both possible and necessary.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act passed Congress without a single Republican vote. In 2017, Republicans are trying to pass a “Repeal and Replace” bill without a single Democratic vote. The choice for America is therefore clear. We can wager our health and the health of our families on a partisan Democratic law, or we can wager our health and the health of our families on a partisan Republican law.

What’s that you say? Can’t we pick the best parts from each and come up with a better law? Of course not. This is 21st century America and in this country we do things one way or we do them the completely opposite way. And if that adversely affects the health of you and your family, too bad.

The situation is only going to get worse until we do something about it and, like France, create a viable Third Party. Our choice is clear. We can look wistfully across the ocean at what Emmanuel Macron has accomplished, or we can take action and create our own Third Party to propose sensible policies which put America "on the march."    

We’ve done it before and two recent examples in Senate elections show how. In 2006, Senator Joe Lieberman lost the Connecticut Democratic primary to a candidate from the left wing of the party. Lieberman ran as an independent, and with Republican support, won the general election to retain his seat. In 2010, Senator Lisa Murkowski lost the Alaska Republican primary to a Tea Party candidate. She then went on to win the general election as a write-in candidate, mostly on the support of moderate Democrats.

The lesson is that in states controlled by a single party, a centrist candidate can win. Picture, for example a John Kasich type Republican running against flame-throwing Senator Ted Cruz in Texas. If the Democrats stay out of the way by not nominating a serious candidate of their own, Cruz could easily be defeated.

The House is a bit different but a similar approach can be used. About 75% of House districts are not competitive and in many cases the minority party doesn’t even bother to run a candidate. Picture a liberal district with a far left representative.  A serious third party could run a candidate with more centrist Democratic views and have an excellent chance of winning.

The impact of even a few such victories would be immediately beneficial.  The voting record of most members of Congress are driven by their fear of primary challenges from the extremes of their party. They fear that any compromise with the other side will wind up being savaged in an attack ad during the next election cycle. The existence of a viable centrist third party would balance this out. A centrist Conservative, like Murkowski who is beaten in a primary could still be on the ballot as a member of the Third Party and easily win reelection. In this way, every primary victory by the uncompromising extremists in the Republican and Democratic parties would strengthen the Third Party.  

It is also important to keep in mind that it would not take many victories for the Third Party to have a big impact. With the country so closely divided between Republicans and Democrats, even a few votes could be decisive in forcing the two parties to work together and reach a compromise.  

This was actually the goal for many of the people who cast their votes for Donald Trump last year. They wanted to shake up the two party system and they felt that Trump was the person who could do it. Perhaps he still can but so far, he has stuck narrowly with the Republican Party and, as such, has been a disappointment to those, like me, who were hoping that he could encourage bipartisan cooperation.

Trump still has time to prove himself but for right now, the focus needs to be on the 2018 mid-term elections. Money need not be a problem. Perhaps a letter writing campaign to billionaire Michael Bloomberg asking him to fund a Third Party, would be a way to start. Other CEOs like Mark Cuban and Jamie Dimon might also be willing to contribute.  No harm in asking Bill Gates either. Is America ready to ditch the Republicans and Democrats or, at least teach them a lesson? I hope so.    

Comments and Responses (1)

Reasoning used for ARGUMENTS presented
By  Jayef Kennedy - 1 year ago
You are creating a false equivalence between the Democrats' and Republicans' handling of health care . Democrats ran multiple hearings and accepted scores of Republican amendments. The ACA did include the best of what both parties had to offer. The AHCA is a Republican only bill drawn up for the purpose of cutting taxes on the wealthy so that the coming tax reform bill will look like it's cutting taxes equally. They are making no attempt to write a bill that will improve health care - with the only goal to make sure that they get a CBO score that allows them to pass the bill with 50 votes. Their assumption is that when the AHCA fails, Democrats will have no choice but to work with them. Forget your third party. We need for Democrats to take over the Congress in 2018.
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