We need a new progressive third party. It would be a kind of Bizarro progressive third party, in that it would almost always do the opposite from what current progressive parties like the Green Party are doing today.
- It would not oppose the Democratic Party, but rather, serve as a kind of unofficial educational arm, or like a kind of hyper “50 state strategy.”
- It would not run presidential or state candidates whose only real potential is to help the GOP candidate by dividing the left-of-center vote. Instead, it would run candidates in solidly Republican contests, probably mostly small ones, where there was no real Democratic candidate, with the goal of educating the public about progressive principles.
- It would not play the tactical games with issues that normal parties pretty much have to engage in to compete in the current political climate. For example, it would:
- Never go negative on an opponent. (Though it would diligently explain the errors in most of the standard Republican positions.)
- Never demonize an Enemy. (e.g. the rich, or the oil companies, etc.) Instead, it would speak in rational terms about the problems caused by wealth inequality, or an over-reliance on oil, etc.
- Always try to educate people to think systemically.
- It would not condemn the other parties’ use of such tactics. It would be pragmatic about the value of electoral victories and the necessity of playing the usual political games to win them. It would simply have a complementary mission that didn’t require them.
- It would reject all left wing pseudoscience. (e.g. GMO and vaccine opposition, alternative medicine, electoral conspiracy chasing, etc.) Although many progressives believe very strongly in some of these things, that belief is often essentially religious, or the product of extreme wishful thinking, and a rational progressive party can’t cater to these kinds of forces, no matter how many potential supporters it loses as a result.
- It would be willing to speak unpopular truths. (Such as when Jimmy Carter counseled Americans to “lower their expectations.” This was, and would still be, political suicide, and the New Progressive Party would never condemn any other party for avoiding it. It would simply be willing to say such things itself, as a part of its mission to train Americans to think more rationally about our society.)
- It might never win an election, but it would sow the seeds for future Democratic victories, and move the Democratic Party to the left by moving the electorate to the left.
The GOP is currently enjoying the fruits of a decades-long effort to change the way Americans think about fundamental issues like taxation, wealth inequality, health care, crime, and so forth. Winning back that ground might take decades as well, in which case, we had better begin the effort soon, and accept the hard truth that it will make very little difference at first.
This has been a “Politake,” a brief take on politics by Freeman Ng.