Going Beyond Democrats and Republicans: Why Not a Third Political Party?

Dick Meyers asked that question in an article for The Seattle Times (August 9, 2015). After all, political parties aren’t even mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Nothing says we must have political parties, much less limit them to two.

Third parties appear from time to time, but generally are too quixotic or too one-issue oriented for the average American. What about a party focused more widely and deeply on many issues?

As more and more citizens become disgusted with either party and become independents, the followers who remain tend to be more extreme. Thus, voters often must decide between two candidates from the more extreme ends of the political spectrum. Each party must play to its base, then try to shift gears and appeal to independents in the general election, the swing voters.

To avoid saying anything that would scare off voters from either group, politicians tend to mouth meaningless platitudes: “I’m for peace. I’m for jobs. I’m for a great America.” They coat their opponents with scorn and harsh criticism verging on accusations of criminal behavior.

What about a middle-of-the-road party that speaks to today’s independents, the fastest growing segment of the electorate?


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