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A Third Way?

Updated on July 4, 2011

On my way back from my job at Harrisburg(PA) International Airport, I heard a piece on NPR about how the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, that saw Obama as their bright hope, are feeling a bit betrayed. 

I can relate to their frustration a bit, I had expectations that we'd see a more aggressive, progressive, agenda.  But the GOP's strategy of obstruction, and some corporate Democrats willing to go along, means a lot of capitulation in the name of compromise.  

That could be some of the problem too, it's often hold your nose and vote for the Democrat, or have a Republican, most likely somehow tied to the "Tea Party" crowd, win.

But does it have to be that way?  Why don't progressives put a bit of energy into building the infrastructure that would be needed to make a progressive 3rd party viable.  This would also have the side effect of making it easier for grassroots Democrats to get elected. 

To start with, we need to get corporate money out of the process.  Though the Supreme Count has ruled that money is equal to speech, and that a corporation has the rights of a person, there's still one legal recourse; public financing of campaigns.  Put all candidates on a level field financially.

Second, we need to abandon the Electoral College, or at least eliminate the "winner take all" approach.  Obama's success in the 2008 primaries owes a lot to the proportional schemes that many states used.  Also this would mean all the States would matter even more and a person's vote could carry some more weight.

A final piece is instant runoff voting for Congressional, etc elections,  No more situations like what's going on in Arkansas, and a few other states.  Make it so voters rank candidates and if there's no majority, the 1st and 2nd votes are combined.  This could backfire though; I could see the Tea Party types using this to their advantage. 

Is it Obama?  Is it progressives?  Maybe it's the system that's the issue?


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    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 6 years ago from United States

      The electoral college is definitely screwed up. Nothing made this more evident than the 2000 election with Bush v Gore. How could someone have the majority vote and not win the presidency? It doesn't make sense so the system needs serious reform (or to be removed entirely).

      Personally, I like Obama and I don't blame him for the current state of the country. He inherited a crap storm of problems and I think he has handled it very well. Even though the first two years of his presidency was a constant struggle to get legislation passed, it had to be a record for passage of so many influential bills in that amount of time. The unfortunate part of all of this is that most of his programs won't be seen (or felt) by the general public until after his first term, which will seriously hurt his chances for re-election. The healthcare overhaul, for example, won't be fully in place until 2014. So, whoever is president at that time, will get the credit. It doesn't help either that right now congress is trying to undo all the progress that was made in the last two years. That won't help the situation either.

      But anyway, I completely agree that funding should be equal for all candidates to ensure fair elections and corporate influence should be eliminated entirely. Good hub!

    • profile image

      craig stover 7 years ago

      its about time!!todays partys dem. or rep.are only going to go as far as the corparations tell them too,they pay for there campains...

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hey amigo, I posted something two days ago and had you in mind as well when I wrote it. It relates to this blog of yours I think. Send a comment if you have time, I'd appreciate your opinion.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 7 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Another good article. Since i have been on this site, reading others and writing my own articles, it gives me optimism for the future after all. It is surely heart warming to see young progressive thinkers in this country speak out. All we seem to see on T.V. are the narrow minded bigoted religious and far right wing ding bats spew their hatred. Keep up the good work.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Proportional representation seems a little better in my opinion. Lobbying has to be made illegal - it's legal bribery - how do people not see this?

      The political system is on lock-down. " The Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate cash to buy unlimited political power through unlimited political spending is one of the greatest single attacks on democracy in the history of jurisprudence, and one of the single greatest demonstrations of contempt for legal precedent in the history of the United States Supreme Court."

      The rules of the game are crooked. No point in playing it this way.

    • Daniel J. Neumann profile image

      Daniel J. Neumann 7 years ago from Harrisburg, Pa

      Not only are these good ideas you present, ummm... they're freakin' good ideas! This is the common-sense that Glenn Beck can attack all he wants, but will sell. How can anybody be against democracy? How many people died so the majority has a say? Why do we swallow a plutocracy like it's just the way things are?

      There's a problem with the system. I like the idea of progress.



    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image

      TeaPartyCrasher 7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      Personally, I think the EC was a way to make it so that southern states would still have a say in the process.

      I'll read what you have to say later, but thanks for the feedback.

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      TeaPartyCrasher, I consider myself middle of the road so I am sure I will not agree with you on a lot of issues. But I know we need a third alternative. This two party system crap is not working. I like your idea of getting rid of the Electoral College; it is an outdated concept from a time before electricity. You can not have good leaders if everyone works for one of two monsters.

      Check out my thoughts on ending political corruption, you can delete the link from your page if you want (some people here don’t like them in comments) but I think you might like the idea.