Why we need at least six political parties – Daily Times Herald – Carroll, Iowa
Raising the topic of more viable parties in American politics is an awful lot like speculating about a cure for the common cold. It would seem inevitable, and do so much good. It’s also something of a head-shaking lost cause. But if New York Mayor Michael “Nancy Nanny” Bloomberg thinks he can pry gulpish-sized sodas from the fleshy hands of millions of overweight people in his city, envisioning an American political system with more than organized Democrats and well-heeled Republicans isn’t entirely ridiculous.
Yes, money and the influence of the Citizens United decision is devastating to our democracy. But having watched campaigns for two decades the primary problem I see is this: it’s a zero-sum game. If Mitt Romney’s campaign stumbles because he said something silly about Hispanics or someone only loosely in his ideological camp pumps out comments on women more appropriate for the boozy office of “Mad Men’s” Don Draper, we see President Barack Obama’s fortunes climb slightly.
Should job numbers emerge weaker than expected at the end of a quarter, or if Jeremiah Wright delivers a provocative sermon, then throw the dynamic in reverse. The daily cascade of emails and blog posts and talk radio spouting reflects this. Build up, knock down, build up, knock down. It’s like match play in golf.
In this two-party circus of big tents, New York’s Al Sharpton and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, are both Democrats, and progressive Carroll lawyer Art Neu and Bob Vander Plaats, with his pre-Iowa statehood era perspective, call themselves Republicans. This contributes to a politics turning more on cult of personality than platforms of ideas. Obama is either the secular Black Jesus or a foreign interloper. Imagine the fate of the Democratic Party for two election cycles had John Edwards been its standard-bearer as he carried on with a paramour. Let’s not forget, he was the vice presidential candidate in 2004………..
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