Home / Culture and Society / Progressives and Tea Party People need Parties to Call their Own

Progressives and Tea Party People need Parties to Call their Own

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that taking over one of the two major parties from within is a good deal easier than starting or building a “third party” into a major party, but it seems to me that if Tea Party people really want a smaller, more frugal national government, they should be joining the Libertarian Party instead of the Republican Party. The Republicans have a solid track record of spending like drunken sailors when they are in power. And progressive Democrats should be forming a “Progressive Party” or supporting the Green Party, instead of voting for a party that couldn’t even bring a public option for health care (or meaningful legislation on energy) to a vote, despite the fact they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.

If both Tea Partiers and Progressives abandoned the Democratic and Republican parties, these “major” parties would both be much smaller. Perhaps they would join forces to form an (allegedly) “moderate” party of some sort. Or if truth in advertising still has any meaning in the festering swamp that is our political system (I can’t see any evidence that it does), they could rename themselves the “Corporate Party.”

To achieve their respective aims, while building the Libertarian and Progressive parties into major players, Tea Party types and progressives could identify and support candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties who seem to be more or less in harmony with their basic objectives and support them selectively, while running and/or supporting candidates of their own in races where there is no major party candidate they can vote for without holding their noses.

I have always voted for third party candidates (usually Libertarian) whenever I felt that the outcome of the election for a particular office was already decided, or didn’t really matter. In close races I vote for the major party candidate (usually, but not exclusively the Democrat) who seems most in line with my position on the issues of the day. I usually end up feeling like I have chosen the “lesser of two evils.” I’m getting tired of doing that.

I have adopted this approach as a way of attempting to build support for the alternatives to the major parties without “wasting my vote.” Lately I am feeling more and more that voting for candidates of either major party is a waste. I have been giving serious consideration to coming up with my own “pledge” by swearing off voting for any major party candidate.

It would be a lot easier for me to take that step if a progressive party had candidates on the ballot, or if the Libertarian party ran more candidates who seem better qualified. (Many Libertarian candidates make the Tea Kettle crew seem almost normal by comparison.)

I dream of a day when there is more than the occasional candidate on the ballot that I can vote for with some degree of satisfaction, or (dare I hope) passion and enthusiasm. I doubt that I will live to see that day, but damn it, a man can dream.

Powered by

About Winston Apple

Winston Apple is the author of "Edutopia: A Manifesto for the Reform of Public Education." He is a former teacher. He has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri at Kansas City (1990). He is also a singer-songwriter and recording artist.
  • jacksmith

    I’M PROUD OF YOU LABOR!. Keep standing up. The lives and health of all the American people and the World are in serious jeopardy.

    Further, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

    Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.

    It’s over. Tell congress to get the healthcare Merchants of death and injury out of the American peoples lives for good. 2010 is about THE PUBLIC OPTION!

    And that CORRUPT! UNDEMOCRATIC! filibuster must GO! NOW!

    Alan Grayson Honors The Dead
    Alan Grayson on Healthcare
    Ron Sparks HealthCareReform
    John Garamendi – The Public Option

    I want to commend all of you for working so hard and being so strong at helping the whitehouse and congress begin to address our U.S. and Global healthcare crisis. You have been AWESOME! my fellow Americans and peoples of the World. America and the World is better and safer for it. My greatest pride is the knowledge that I am one of you. And that you really get it. You really understand the importance of it all.

    There are some potentially very good things in the healthcare legislation. Especially with the reconciliation fix’s. The Democrats, Bernie Sanders and the Whitehouse did a GREAT! job of fighting to produce the best healthcare legislation that they could. They have earned all our strong support. And we should give it to them.

    But it was your relentless pressure and hard work that made the difference. Whatever good comes from this healthcare legislation, America and the peoples of the World will have each of you to thank. You were smart, creative, courageous and relentless. You fought together for the best legislation possible. And when you had to, you fought alone. No matter who stumbled and fell you continued to push and forge ahead. Fighting for the lives and health of the American people and the World. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOUR-SELVES 🙂

    It may come to pass that future generations will look back on us and say that we were ALL Americas Greatest Generations. And that healthcare reform was our finest hour. You should be proud of our leaders President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the many other Democratic and independent fighters for the people in congress. They proved them-self worthy of the leadership of a GREAT! PEOPLE.

    But we are not done yet. This was just the beginning of healthcare reform, not the end. WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE NOT! divided on healthcare legislation. The vast majority of you have been consistently crystal clear that this legislation does not go far enough. You want a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. And you want it NOW!


    WE THE PEOPLE have been crystal clear that we want an end to dependence on for-profit healthcare and the for-profit proxies called private for non-profit healthcare. The American people want the CHOICE! of a strong Government-run Public Option to replace their need or dependence on healthcare providers whose primary motivation is profit. Rather than providing the highest quality, easiest accessible and most affordable medically necessary healthcare possible. This is what the rest of the developed World has. And the American people want it too. They want healthcare ASSURANCE! Not, for-profit health insurance. And they want it NOW!

    Now is the time to continue the push for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone that wants it on day one. Rationally it’s clear what we have to do to get this done. SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATS that supported you with a Public Option choice, and REMOVE as many republicans as you can. Not one republican in congress was willing to step across the isle to support a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. NOT ONE! Let no candidate prevail this November that does not support a Strong Government-run Public Option.

    47,000 AMERICANS die each year from lack of healthcare. 120,000 die from treatable illness that don’t die in other developed countries. Hundreds of thousands of you are dieing from medical accidents in a rush to profit. And Millions of you are injured. Millions more are driven into bankruptcy. All for the privilege of paying two to three times as much as any other people in the developed world for healthcare. HOGWASH!

    Additionally, tens of thousands of you and your children were killed and millions sickened and injured from a terror attack with H1N1 (swine flu). Released on the American people and the World by the for-profit healthcare industry. All in an attempt to panic and frighten you into accepting the oxymoronic criminal enterprise of private for-profit healthcare (The most costly, deadly, dangerous, and disgraceful product sold in America). H1N1 is still sickening people and killing them. Especially children, the young and the middle aged. And there will be a third wave. These are the terrorist you need to worry about the most. Even the so-called international terrorist would not do something so INSANE! But greed driven medical profiteers would and did.

    Apparently as far as republicans in GOVERNMENT are concerned, YOU! my fellow Americans ?” CAN JUST DROP DEAD! Including their own family members. Fools!… Hundreds of thousands of you, and possibly millions of you will die from the long-term effects of your infection and poisoning with H1N1.

    So my fellow Human Beings. Rest-up, Take good care of the basics (Balanced nutrition, hydration, exercise, rest and POSITIVE emotional supports). Then wade back into the FIGHT! for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. Drug re-importation, Abolishment or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. You must take back control of your healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. You MUST do it NOW! This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings. I’m glad to know of you. And proud to be one of you.

    See you on the battle field.


    jacksmith ?” WorkingClass 🙂

  • Wow, American politics are kind of crazy. I’m Canadian, and I usually want to vote NDP, but really, the NDP should merge with the frther left Liberals, and the further right Liberals should join the conservative party.
    Interesting ideas,Winston!

  • You recommend the Tea Party join the Libertarians and progressive Democrats either form a new party or join the Green Party.

    But forming a new party or joining an existing fringe party would be pointless. As you yourself admit, voting for a third-party candidate is to waste your ballot, since they have no hope of winning; you may find that satisfying in principle, but its practical effect is nil.

    And why should the Tea Party mate with those inveterate losers the Libertarians? The Tea Party is poised to literally take over the GOP, defeating incumbent or apparatus-endorsed candidates in Republican primaries and then sweeping to victory over hapless Democrats in the general. They’d be fools to take on any Libertarian baggage; it would only weigh down the Tea Party as they sprint to victory.

    It’s like suggesting that the New York Yankees ought to consolidate with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

  • STM

    America needs a Labor Party, a genuine party of the centre that will truly represent the interests of workers while trying to reach a proper accord with corporations, businesses and industry and not ruining their profits. A party that recognises that jobs, decent wages, worplace protections and rights, and free-market profits not only can go hand in hand, but actually do.

    As for “progressives” joining the Greens movement/parties around the world … too many looney-lefters wanting to dictate terms that will costs ordinary workers their jobs.

    The thing with the Greens is that they are already sowing their own demise – by being so fanatical about climate change, they are playing into the hands of the worst and greediest of the free-market shysters – and eventually they’ll enable the maniacs who almost brought the world to its knees a couple of years back to finally work out a way of putting a price on carbon that alos makes them a (big) buck.

    Carbon trading is the exact opposite of any other trading I’ve come across.

    Usually, someone has something they can sell at a profit because someone else actually wants to buy it. Carbon trading: I have something I didn’t want to produce that I have to sell to you because even though you don’t want it. Great.

    The result of all that, as the cost of production rises, prices rise and you will pay – all because of something no one actually wants to produce, sell or buy.

    Once again, ordinary people and smaller businesses trying to keep going week to week get royally screwed with higher costs for food, fuel, water, and energy, along with bigger taxes.

    As for the far righters: why not join the Army … see the world, and meet some people. Take American freedom to the world, and if they don’t like, blow ’em away.

  • Winston Apple

    A couple of my earlier essays for Blogcritics address the concerns of jacksmith regarding a public option: (“A Public Option Even Blue Dogs and Republicans Can Embrace” and “We (the People) Need to Give Ourselves a ‘Public Option’“)

    I understand Alan Kurtz’s argument that voting for a third party candidate is “wasting your vote,” but I have come to believe that limiting our options to two corporate-controlled parties leads to a dysfunctional government and is often just another means of wasting our votes.

    Building a new major party is an arduous task and the system that is in place makes it difficult. However, I laid out a proposal to get that process started in the very first essay I ever wrote for Blogcritics (“Making the House of Representatives More Representative“).

  • Baronius

    Ever play poekr, Winston? You’ll find that hands usually come down to two players, if they make it to a showdown at all. Why? Because you don’t want to put money into a hand that doesn’t have a reasonable chance of winning. You want four or more candidates to dedicate their time to a political race, then some of them have got to be people who aren’t in it to win. In other words, single-issue candidates and borderline nutjobs.

    Sure, it’d be wonderful if you could choose your congressman from a full array of candidates, each with the same probability of winning, but that’s never going to happen. The closest we come to that is in the presidential primaries in a couple of states. If it’s your choice between running for office yourself with a 5% chance of winning or supporting a D or R who you agree with on most issues, your rational decision is the mainstream candidate.

  • Baronius

    STM – Well, Australia needs a party that represents everything I like.


    I wouldn’t worry too much about it; the individual mandate seems likely to go away.


  • STM

    Baron: “Well, Australia needs a party that represents everything I like”.

    We’ve got one of them Baron: the Liberal Party, the main Opposition party, and in one of the great misnomers of all time, liberal it ain’t.

  • kurt brigliadora

    I disagree … Mr. Winston, may I say you might be jjust a little nieve ; in believing there is a two party system, The reality is…These politicians help echother get what they want, and the little guy waits in line- for the crumbs! Oh but they always have the publics interest come first, of course! Have you been watching whats going on out there lately? I would hate to see what it would be like if they didnt ..have our best interest before theirs…L O L .Lets see, the country is broke, the job market is a joke,food prices are sky high,and the crime in the streets arnt going away any time soon.. I say “great job” to the politicians that work for us. wink wink.