Thursday, November 04, 2010

Imagining Political Innovation

You are an independent. Part of the biggest bloc of voters in America. So why then do you feel so alone, so powerless? You hate Democrats. And you hate Republicans. You vote for one side and end up feeling snookered. So you vote for the other side the next time. Snookered again. And again. What next?

You are a liberal, or at least you lean left. Republicans make you insane. But the Democrats constantly let you down. You think of joining the Green Party. Visions of wasted votes and spoiler candidates dance in your head. It's hard to imagine a better Green Party candidate than Ben Manski, and it's hard to imagine greener pastures than Madison's 77th Assembly District. If a Green can't win in the 77th, can one win anywhere? If Manski can't win, can anyone? So now where do you turn?

You are a conservative, or at least that's the label that seems to best fit you. Democrats give you nightmares. But Republicans never deliver that limited government they promise. When they look for things to cut, it's funny how the programs benefiting their biggest campaign donors are spared the ax. Starts making the Libertarians look appealing. Drats, even the brother of one of the biggest names in Wisconsin political history barely pulled 10% running as a Libertarian. Guess you'll have to silence that inner voice that keeps saying you are too smart, too sensible and too sane for the Tea Party.

What if the politically homeless across the ideological spectrum could start to see their common plight? What if the disaffected took notice that America doesn't have a parliamentary system but rather one that assiduously reinforces a two-party landscape? And what if that caused them to stop toying with the idea of joining a third party that only stakes out territory to the left of the Democrats or to the right of the Republicans? What if they also got tired enough of holding their noses while voting and choosing between the lesser of evils, and started thinking about creating a first-party movement aimed at either transforming or supplanting one of the major parties?

What if it dawned on enough people that less than 1% of the population is paying to keep the existing major parties in power? What if they started to insist on a party for at least a good number of the other 99%?

What if they then realized how the "r" has been effectively removed from free speech in our country, and did something truly subversive to get out of the pay-to-play trap? What if 5,000 or 10,000 people from every corner of the state took to the sidewalks and the shopping mall parking lots and the country roads and became walking ads and living billboards to deliver the new party's message? And traveled the electronic highways and byways of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube to do the same thing?

To cover expenses, what if a few thousand 99ers all over Wisconsin became panhandlers for the politically homeless? Brother, can you spare a voice in Washington and Madison? Small change for a big change.

What if common folks with some common sense started practicing uncommon politics for the purpose of advancing the common good? What if neighbors started challenging neighbors to think we first instead of me first? What if the 99ers were able to win over 50,000 Wisconsinites? The effort would likely fall flat. But what if they were able to capture the hearts and minds of 500,000 or a million? At least one of the major parties and maybe both would have to evolve or perish. Wisconsin politics would be dramatically altered.

You may say I am a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.


Frank Rutherford said...

I am at the crossroads right now. I ran as an Independent this year and the only problem I had with the media was small town newspapers,all other outlets invited me to an interview. Then you have voter habits,straight party voters or only crossing over between the two major partys.Right now I would begin the process,platform to address all the problems we face as a State and Nation,then a Rally.If your serious contact me through private message then I will give you my home phone number.

Anonymous said...

I am described above and, believe me, it's getting harder and harder to even want to show up on the 1st Tuesday and pull ANY lever. Keep us posted on any progress you see of anyone trying to form the "we" party.

Jack Lohman said...

Count me in, Mike....


1) Public funding of campaigns
2) Nothing else matters!

Anonymous said...

The two-party system has failed us.