Continuing the train of thought by themalcontent and MadHemingway here and here, I just want to say that I am most definitely on board for creating or joining a third party — a leftist one. Talk of starting a Progressive Party anew in this country has been going on for a while, where applicable. Mason even posted the beginnings of a solid platform on which to build and unite. I would like to add some insight of my own into talk of forming third parties.

It’s good that people are discussing forming third parties as an alternative to the corrupt, corporate-owned two-party system. It’s much easier to buy off politicians when you only have two big clubs who share increasingly similar ideologies. Although it is not impossible to achieve this in a multi-party system, which is harder to govern, it does make things a bit more difficult for corporations trying to buy governments in hostile takeovers.

The problem, however, with starting a third party from the ground up is that while it does allow for some measure of control over the messaging and platform, it involves more work and takes longer to form. We haven’t got the twenty or thirty years needed to build up a solid third party organization that can take on the big dogs and win. I’m not even sure we have five. But there are existing political parties in which we can organize to take back our country. They are, in no particular order:

The Green Party of the United States

http://www.gp.org/index.php

This is the largest and most well known of today’s independent parties in the U.S. It already has a presence in most states, though its organizational skills still leave much to be desired. Most if not all of what Mason wrote in his platform entry is already on that for the Green Party, meaning that it better represents Americans on the issues facing our nation.

Progressive Party of Vermont

http://www.progressiveparty.org

Progressive Party of Washington State

http://www.waprogparty.org

Progressive Party of Oregon (formerly the Peace Party)

http://progparty.org

Progressive Dame (Wisconsin)

http://www.prodane.org

Progressive Party of Missouri (Green Party Affiliate)

http://www.greenpartymo.org

Most of these Progressive Party organizations are restored versions of the one originally formed in 1912, when former president Theodore Roosevelt left the Republicans following a bitter contest for the presidential nomination to incumbent William Howard Taft. At lease one is an offshoot of the Green party (Missouri), while others existed in previous incarnations. In electoral terms, the Progressive Party enjoys the most successful record of accomplishment in U.S. history after the GOP (which formed in the 1850s when the Whig Party imploded).

In Vermont, Progressives hold five seats in the state house of representatives and one in the state senate. They maintain local seats as well, and as a result create a viable alternative to the Democrats and Republicans. Their organizational strategies appear to be sound, and they have allowed Progressives to win power in state government. If we wish to model new or existing third parties on anything as they apply to sound electoral methods, it would be the Vermont Progressive Party.

Working Families Party

http://www.workingfamiliesparty.org

FDLers may know of the New York chapter, but it has also branched out to include Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Oregon, and even South Carolina. Like the Progressives, the WFP has taken advantage of more liberal ballot access laws to employ smart campaign strategies at the local and state levels. Also like the Progressives, they have enjoyed significant success in getting their preferred candidates elected to public office.

The Socialist Party of the United States

NewHome

Cue the spooky music, please. It’s the most feared and reviled political organization in the country, but you wouldn’t know it to look at its size and influence. Still, when stacked up against the Democrats and Republicans, it represents Americans on the issues far more often than not.

Rather than waste time, energy, and what little money we have trying to build a political party from scratch, why not work within these, build them up, and see which one(s) we can best use to foment real change? They already have platforms and organizational structures. They already have name recognition in their respective states. And at least one of them has enjoyed a fair amount of success in elections. Whichever party you think best represents you, I highly suggest joining it. It’s worth trying.

El Duderino

El Duderino

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