ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Politics: The Center Alone Can't Fill the Void

Updated on December 7, 2017
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU 1964. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

Third Party Option Discussed

Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley
Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley

Challenges Two-Party System

Former Massachusetts Sen. Paul E. Tsongas
Former Massachusetts Sen. Paul E. Tsongas

Former Connecticut Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, former U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas and four others made the headlines last week (November, 1995) when it was revealed a "radical center" group had met secretly to discuss alternative solutions to the nation's problems.

The seven had discussed in telephone conference calls "the need for a new voice to challenge the two-party system."

In addition to Independent Weicker and Democrats Bradley and Tsongas, the members of the group are Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, former Minnesota Rep. Tim Penny, all Democrats, and Maine Gov. Angus King, like Weicker an Independent.

Two-Party System Breakdown

Alas, it was inevitable that the steamrolling breakdown of the two-party system in the United States would lead to the proliferation of alternative groups, or political parties, that would reach out to fill a perceived vacuum -- a vacuum resulting from the inevitable flight to the right by the Republican Party, and the (not uncommon) disarray of the Democrats.

This new group, Tsongas told the press, shares a "similar philosophy that is socially inclusive, fiscally conservative, pro-environment and pro-campaign reform." He accused the two major parties of "pandering, in one case to the left, in another case to the right, and leaving a huge vacuum in the center."

Naturally, he, and the others in the group, would like to fill that vacuum.

Disillusioned Voters

And Rep. Penny confirmed that the group discussed the potential a third party might have in today's political environment, and how many voters "tend to feel disenfranchised, disillusioned, even disgusted."

Tsongas also talked about "a center in this country -- whether you call it a passionate center, the radical center, the sensible center..."

Americans, somewhere in the 1960's, began splintering away from the two-party system, which served the country well for decades. Many simply said, "A pox on both your houses," and abandoned both major political parties for the label "Independent" -- more properly, unaffiliated.

But, if they thought their independence would translate to some major solution to the country's problems, they were wrong.

Blame Extremism

We have lots of problems in the country today, but not because of the two-party system. Quite the contrary; many of today's problems are the result of extremism promulgated by the breakdown of the parties.

That's what the two-party system is designed to avoid! The melding of many opinions into two opposing views is what has enabled America, until now, to keep bitter strife at a minimum, to negotiate the differences among myriad viewpoints to reach a consensus everyone could live with.

Consensus Virtually Impossible

When the conservative moderates leave the Republican Party to its extreme right wing, and liberal moderates leave the Democratic Party to its left wingers, a vacuum naturally develops in the center -- and consensus is virtually impossible.

But you can't just assemble a group of independent thinkers to fill a void; it can't be done. Such a group would still have to deal with the extremes of the left and the right -- and still other groups would enter the fray with their own particular approaches.

Only through genuine negotiations, consensus, and the give-and-take of all Americans -- and the two-party system -- can America move ahead into the 21st Century.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Dec. 2, 1995. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages.

Third Party Candidates Are:

See results

Bill Bradley Discusses Lobbyists, Big Money in Politics


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I believe, shazz01109, that there will always be left wingers and right wingers and ne'er the twain shall meet. There will always be a need to negotiate toward the center, but the creation of a new center will not bring both sides together. Without the two party system, there inevitably will be two, three, four or more parties created that eventually will be forced to seek coalitions to get anything done. It's a round-a-bout way of doing what the two-party system does already. There's no way around it -- other than a dictatorship. When there are opposing views, as there always is, either negotiations or chaos prevails.

      By the way, I see you like Bluegrass. My daughter from Maine sings and plays mandolin with the Windy Ridge Bluegrass Band. I enjoy it, too.

    • shazz01109 profile image


      10 years ago from Western Massachusetts

      Glad I found this hub, even if it was 2 years later! It seems that a 3rd Party is more realistic and inevitable. It seems that everything has to be an either/or, this/that, black/white. It has become tiring and is antiquated thinking.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      That's very nice of you, Iðunn . It will be my pleasure to read your hubs as well.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      I'm slow but not dead. I hope to one day backtrack all your Hubs I missed since I discovered you so late in the game. :)

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I believe you, REritr. I'm glad you enjoyed my scribbles, Iðunn. Thanks.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      good read.

    • REritr profile image


      12 years ago from California

      And you would be correct! Believe me, it has been mangled beyond belief. Its background (both my husband's and my own) is of the same ethnicity as Mr. Tsongas.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks MormtimerWorth and REritr for your comments. The candidates today are all calling for "change," but there's all kinds of change. It truly is amazing, REritr, but your observation is also true about most of my past columns. I would pronounce your name Koor Metis, but you might like to see how my name is mangled in my "guest" column

    • REritr profile image


      12 years ago from California

      Isn't it amazing how you wrote about this 17 years ago and so much of it still applies?

      Thanks for sharing your past columns with us.

      Dena Kouremetis (now try pronouncing THAT one . . . )

    • MortimerWorth profile image


      12 years ago from Germany

      And we musn't forget that the center also is a home to those who play it safe. Ironic, as it calls to the more rebellious thiners.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, PARA VOCE. The center is critical, MrMarmalade, absolutely. But the center derives its power from its ability to take sides, Republican or Democratic. Without the parties, the center is powerless. In the U.S., only when the left center joins with the Democrats or the right center joins with the Republicans can the center wield the power necessary to make needed changes. Thank you for your comments.

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      12 years ago from Sydney

      The passionate centre is what it is all about.

    • PARA VOCE profile image

      PARA VOCE 

      12 years ago from SOUTH AMERICA

      GOOD WORK!!!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)