Wednesday, April 13, 2016

End Third Way Democrats or Start A Third Party

by Brian T. Lynch, MSW

In a recent OpEdNews article, Doug Walsh expressed his frustration with both political parties, which has driven him from identifying with either. The Bernie Sanders campaign inspired him to join the Democratic party in the hope that democracy and his faith in our elected officials can be restored. The Sanders campaign initiated a vision of hope that will not be extinguished if Sander loses, but for Mr. Walsh, a Sanders loss would not mean a vote for his rival. For him, and for millions like him, Hillary represents all that is broken in politics. The issue goes beyond progressive verse conservative politics. It goes to the structure of politics itself, and of the powerful self-interests that have warped our republic.

I have to agree, in part, with Mr. Walsh here. I have been voting a straight Democratic  ticket for a decade hoping the tactic might steer us away from the vortex of corporate power and from the crazy white nationalists, Christian theocrats and anti-federal secessionists on the GOP fringe. 

I thought I was sending a message to push the GOP back towards America's middle. It isn't working. Instead, the Democratic party moved further to the right and into the grip of corporate power. The GOP has responded to the Democrat's "third way" successes by becoming ever more blatantly pro-corporate, and by further radicalizing the fringe of their base to boost turnout. To hold their grip on power in the face of unfavorable demographics  the GOP also engages in voter suppression through voter ID laws and outrageously  negative ad campaigns designed to dispirit the more sensible electorate who might oppose their radical base .

President Obama seemed to be the bright exception. I was hoping for a structural change in our politics, not just a progressive agenda. I'm grateful for what he has accomplished, but disappointed in his failure to restore our democracy or reform the Democratic party.

It is clear from this election cycle. thanks in no small part to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, that both political parties are out of touch with the people.  The prospect of contested primary conventions has revealed the true nature of both  parties. They are rival  private clubs pushing their own brands of voter loyalty rewards to stay in power and to compete for wealthy donor contributions. Both parties are filled with minions who willingly or unknowingly serve wealthy corporate interests. This is how our politics appears to me.

Donald Trump is a clueless disaster. Period.

 Bernie Sanders is a thoughtful, experienced, independent politician capable of igniting and leading a grass roots reform movement  to fundamentally change our politics and the Democratic party. He is an unlikely champion tilting at the windmills of institutional resistance.  It is us, the citizens, and not just Sanders, the candidate, that must win this fight. But if we cannot succeed now within the Democratic party structure, an independent third party is the next step.

Here is where I disagree with Mr. Walsh. If we cannot win the nomination for Bernie Sanders, and we cannot persuade him to run as in independent now, I will vote for Hillary to buy the time it will take to organize a popular, independent political party.

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