Las Vegas Sun

July 25, 2014

Currently: 97° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

It’s clear a viable third party is needed

I’m nearing 60 years old and I have drawn this conclusion: We need a viable third party. Despite what they claim publicly, we have one party (Democratic) that favors a very large and intrusive federal government. We have another party (Republican) that claims it favors a small federal government, but that isn’t really true, and it too favors a large and intrusive federal government. That was actually OK until spending went out of control, taxes were lowered and the economy tanked. People could simply choose the party that spent the tax money in ways they agreed with and support that party.

Now we have two parties that are married to a large and intrusive federal government that is very expensive and neither one is willing to exercise the painful fiscal discipline necessary to get our finances in order and keep them that way. We have reached a point where to unwind what has been done will be so unpopular that both parties are unwilling to address the issue honestly.

If we allow the status quo by continuing to support these two parties, our country is going to go over a waterfall — lock, stock and barrel. We need a viable third major party to either win control of our government or to make the other two parties worry so much that the third party will gain control that they will be forced to tackle the unpopular issues and unwind the fiscal mess we are in.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 34 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Good letter. The only viable candidate for a third party now is the Tea Party. The kool aid drinking liberals will hate this prospect.

  2. "Solutions in a diverse country requires compromise." - Doris Kearns Goodwin (Presidential Historian)

    Michael,

    Yes we could use a third party, but not what the Tea Party represent. I actually agree with RefNV, the bulk of the country are moderates. We need politicians who represent that group of people.

    The Tea Party people like to call themselves constitutionalists, but that is far from the truth. Our government was built on negotiations and compromise, local versus state versus federal. The Founders designed the system to work in that manner. But because of the polarizing stances taken by our hard headed leaders, we have a broken government.

    How many times have we heard, "We want a small government!" If that is the case then why attack peoples sexual orientation? The government couldn't get anymore obtrusive than interfering in the bedroom. That includes telling women how to treat their bodies. Introducing creation into the school system violates the Constitution concerning separation of church and sate. Recently a few states wrote laws making it impossible for some people to vote. Is that democracy or local governments running amok?

    The point being, those on the right believe in a small government only when they lose control of the White House and Congress. I've been around long enough to know that every Republican president in the last 35 years or so drove the economy to the edge. They've done it time after time and blamed the Democrats to misdirect the mess they've made. Yes, we need a third party of moderates who know how to negotiate and stop the bullcrap.

  3. Oh, I forgot, 40% of voters are registered as independents.

  4. Maybe zero political parties would be better than creating a third one.

  5. Many of you commenting are assuming that I think the third party should be the Tea Party. Think again!

    It is always hard for me to understand how people can be so vociferous in their support of the R or D party. Let's look at the facts:

    Neither party ever shrinks the size and scope of the Federal Government... never!

    If taxes were raised enough to pay for all the Federal Government spends on a fair basis without carveouts and deductions, even the most progressive and liberal among us would scream that their taxes are too high.

    The two current parties do not compromise anymore because the ultra left and ultra right don't see compromise in a positive light.

    For those and many other reasons, we need a viable moderate 3rd party that does believe in compromise.

    Michael

  6. If I thought they could win I would totally support a third party. But the two parties in office have a stranglehold on the current system.

    What I would truly like to see is the abolishing of all parties, and limits to two terms in a lifetime. PERIOD!! No career politicians ever, and the people set the pay for the job, not the politicians. But it'll never happen.

  7. "If we allow the status quo by continuing to support these two parties, our country is going to go over a waterfall . . . We need a viable third major party . . ."

    Casler/wtplv -- finally one where I totally agree with you. As a former card-carrying Republican, about ten years ago I joined the Libertarian Party in another state. After the state chairman left it all degenerated into the usual what could euphemistically be described as herd behavior. After moving to this state I registered to vote again as Libertarian and checked out the local party. Sadly it was just more of the same.

    As you've expressed here, neither the Republicans and Democrats will save us, regardless of the show they put on. But they're in power because the voters keep them in power.

    Again -- so long as We the people act like livestock, We deserve to be treated like livestock.

    "I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army... Among the [European governments], under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. ... If once [our people] become inattentive to the public affairs, you & I, & Congress & Assemblies, judges & governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor." -- Thomas Jefferson, from his letter to Edward Carrington, Paris, Jan. 16, 1787 (found in The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 5 (Correspondence 1786-1787))

  8. KillerB,

    I was also a registered Republican but have been NP for several years now. The R's 'stated' philosophy is closer to what I believe but they don't walk the walk. Although I quite often agree with positions taken by D's, their overall philosopy is not one to which I subscribe.

    The biggest problem I find today is both the R's and D's have boxed themselves in.

    The 'thinking, rational' R's and D's both know that the size and expense of the Federal government cannot be sustained without much higher taxes on everyone that would not be popular with the majority of Americans.

    They also know that the cuts required will hurt people and throw many out of their employment and remove support from people now receiving support and that will also be very unpopular with a majority of Americans.

    Therefore, we have a large reluctance by both parties to do what needs to be done, both really 'cut' spending and really 'raise' taxes. They talk about it but neither is willing to bite the bullet... on both 'real tax increases' along with 'real spending cuts'.

    The R's will not agree to raise taxes and the D's are only for 'faux' cuts in spending that will never be implemented. When our debt wasn't $ 14.2 trillion, we were not borrowing 42 cents of every dollar we spend, the FED was not buying our own debt and printing money, the old system could be sustained. That's not the case now and in my opinion these two parties will take us over the waterfall if we allow it.

    Michael

  9. We will probably not see a strong third party anytime soon. For the time being the nation will muddle through with R's and Ds. I would support a true blue Tea Party candidate because I believe they truly want to level the debt and keep taxes down i.e.via spending cuts. The liberals will destroy us.They have no concept of limits and boundaries.Open checkbooks, tax the rich, get more money from them and spend it, is all the liberals know.

  10. Houstonjac,

    The Tea Party cannot remain as it is and be viable. It's just as if you took a party and based it on Nancy Pelosi. She's too far to the left and too many in the Tea Party are too far to the right.

    When you have people representing the Tea Party that say very contoversial things like Michelle Bachman, Hermann Cain and others, you make fighting gay marriage and abortion rights a main part of your campaign, and you are unwilling to compromise at all with the powers that be, you can't be viable.

    I admire many in the Tea Party because 'they' finally stood up and said 'enough'. But with that, you've got to move to the middle, where most Americans are.

    I truly believe part of the reason President Obama is having trouble is because he campaigned as a moderate centrist and that's not what either he or his wife are. They are to the left of that and that isn't where most Americans are. Same for the Tea Party. They are too far to the right and right of where most Americans are.

    We need a party that represents most Americans... a moderate party.

    Michael

  11. One of the biggest problems with a third party being viable is that it is hard to get off the ground. This is particularly true because of the way most elections in this country are run where winners are determined by having the most votes, not a majority of the votes. This is how the two major parties hold others at bay by saying that a vote from someone other than an R or D is a wasted vote. If they can win with 45%, maybe even 40% or less, it is hard to beat the incumbent parties. We have certainly seen it happen a lot over the years. There was talk at one point in the last election for Harry Reid that he was counting on being able to win with around 45% of the vote.

    The old answer was runoff elections but they aren't great because of the expense and the fact that usually turnout drops off between the general and the runoff. The better answer is something like instant runoff elections. That's where people pick their candidates in order of preference. If someone does not get more than 50%, then the bottom candidate is eliminated and the votes recounted. This continues until someone gets to 50% of the votes remaining. That way you can vote for your Libertarian, Constitution, Green or other party candidate as your first choice without fear of 'throwing your vote away'. And that sort of empowerment is probably why we don't see instant runoff much outside of city elections in this country. And with technology, the recounting would happen very quickly.

    At least we would have a little more room to experiment in the world of political ideas if we had such a system.

  12. Hello Michael,
    The closest thing to what you are describing that I am personally familiar with exists in Canada--I believe it is called the Liberal Party--they have their right wing and left wing parties,but the Liberal Party produces many of the PM s in Canada.
    The Republican conservatives would undoubtedly refer to that Party as a RINO party.

    I don't know if it is practical in our lifetimes
    to get a real focused third party formed that would collect masses of votes. Maybe it is. I'm older than you are so you might have a better chance of seeing one.

    I just want the country to get honest with itself, and make the tough decisions that will make us a strong nation once more. Neither Bush nor Obama are real leaders in that way.

  13. Michael:

    This is the definition of Canada's Liberal Party--I think you may be looking for something like this Party in the United States;

    "The Liberal Party of Canada (French: Parti liberal du Canada), colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre[1] and the centre-left. On the Canadian political spectrum, the party occupies the centre, especially relative to the other two major federal official political parties, the New Democratic Party and the Conservative Party. By their own admission, the Liberal Party has historically positioned itself to the left of the Conservative Party and to the right of the New Democratic Party.[2] The Liberal Party dominated federal politics for much of Canada's history, holding power for almost 69 years in the 20th century, more than any other party in a developed country."

  14. Regardless of opinions about which party is correct, I think we all know money is ruining our political system. Special interest groups are buying seats in Congress and no one seems to care. "We the people" have little representation when the deck is stacked in favor of corporate America.

    To those nay sayers who believe the debt ceiling will not have a negative impact on the stock market and world economy; have you seen this mornings stock market reports? Looks like Timothy Geithner was correct this past weekend when he predicted markets would open with poor results, starting with the Asian market.

  15. Almost any third party can be viable if the message it carries is the correct one. It is up to people to get active and support such a party if the message resonates with them.

    As most of you know I support the Whigs. I believe the message it carries is exactly what many of you here have called for: fiscal responsibility (not conservatism) coupled with social responsibility and tolerance.

    They are aiming to gather in the moderates from both major parties along with independents. The policies are evolving. The party allows its members to practice "politics ala mode" in that good ideas are adopted no matter what the source might be, or the party creates a new stance derived from the core principles.

    I usually do not provide links but since this is directly on topic for this letter here is the link to the Whigs: http://www.modernwhig.org

    Disclaimer, I am a party officer.

  16. William,

    I really like that idea. Too bad the major parties will see to it that it is never implemented. They already freeze out third party candidates from debates. We really do need something that makes people feel that they can vote for a 3rd party candidiate and not have their vote be irrelevant. I

    Michael

  17. William, Michael,

    The MWP actually supports election reform of that nature. Personally, I'm not sure it is the way to go. For me it is finance reform that is needed. Money has too much influence on who gets elected.

    The other problem is for minor candidates to get exposure in debates and news coverage. (And that also is controlled to an extent by how much is spend.)

  18. Botfx,

    Campaign finance reform has been tried, over and over again, and it never works. The people who have to pass that reform and who can and do find ways to circumvent it are the same politicians that we all hate. They don't want campaign finance reform, despite what they say. The money is corrupting, but the politicians really don't care, since it is what gets them re-elected.

    To me, a long time ago, citizens should have jsut sttod up to the D and R party and said NO, you are not going to use these stupid popularity numbers to keep 3rd party candidates off major debates. These people have no chance if they can't debate the major party candidates. Yes some are nutty but the positive by-product is that it makes candidates exit their comfort zone because they cannot be sure what the 3nd party people will propose.

    Michael

  19. It has to start somewhere. The TEA Party actually did originate as a grass roots movement (but was quickly subverted within the first month or two) and has achieved a remarkable degree of influence in the Republican Party.

    A third party can do the same if the people who are fed up with what is seen as bad policy and bad politics are willing to take action together and overcome the fear of failure.

  20. I think we can agree that the chaos we face today promulgated by the two corporate parties is MUCH worse than we faced by having Mr. Perot upset the outcome of an election. Plus, its not about electing a C-in-C, its about electing rank and file citizen representatives in lower offices to get the job done. Or as Modern Whigs are oft quoted, "it will only take a small minority of like minded citizen-representatives to control the Hill and stop the corporate parties dead in their tracks."

    A long road? Maybe. But one we MUST embark on.

    To give some more empirical validity to Mr. Casler's comments, today we see our "leaders" trying to form a "Supra-Congress" for resolving the debt issue. My question: to actually solve the issue, OR to deflect warranted critism from BOTH corporate parties? Methinks its all about the politics and not about US at all, to Mr. Casler's point.

  21. Thanks Michael, stated perfectly! :)Star

  22. Mr. Casler,
    I would agree that the two party system leaves much to be desired; perhaps a third party would not be such a bad idea.
    Despite the objection, by dipstick, about the "chaos" such a change might bring about, upsetting the status quo would seem to be the idea.
    But, heaven forbid that the proposed third party be the "Tea Party".

  23. Now I don't know if the Republican plans included counting the fact that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will end in a few years instead of ten years as a $ 1 trillion cut in spending but the democratic plan does.

    This is just the kind on nonsense that helped create this fiscal mess in the first place. No sane and honest person counts money that you 'could' spend but don't spend as a 'reduction' or 'savings'. That's what freaken advertisers tell us when they have a 'sale' on soap!... SAVE $ 5.00 when you spend $ 10 to buy the soap today. GIVE ME A BREAK!

    This is a perfect example of why I say to the R and D supporters writing in that you can't trust these people.

    Michael

  24. David,

    Actually, the Tea Party could and may morph into a 3rd party. That actually would be ok because they would have only two choices; 1) Move to the center and appeal to moderates fed up with R's and D's or 2) stay very conservative and just be a smaller version of R's and be irrelevant.

    Michael

  25. The Libertarian Party already exists.

  26. The Tea Party, as it started out, was a noble idea. Many of the things they publicly stand for, no one can argue with. However, soon after the movement begin to gain traction extreme right-wing elements of the Republican Party hijacked it and used it to push Sarah Palin and others of her ilk back into the public spotlight. This is the bunch that gave us Sharron Angle. No thanks.

  27. wtplv - "1) Move to the center and appeal to moderates fed up with R's and D's or 2) stay very conservative and just be a smaller version of R's and be irrelevant."

    Excellent point, you stand on principle without compromising, but you'll be standing all by yourself on the outside.

  28. It doesn't matter how many parties we have until voter apathy is resolved.

    IF MODERATES DON'T VOTE THEN WE COUNT FOR NOTHING!

    I may not agree with the Tea Party, but they and Seniors are the likeliest voters on election day so the Dems and Republicans care about their vote. We need to let them know that the middle is a force to be reckoned with also.

  29. Vernos,

    Most people know that compromise is necessary. President Obama knows it. R's know it and D's know it. Yet, a 'compromise' is out there but it can't be reached. Why? Contrary to popular belief here are the reasons:

    1) R's won't accept any tax increases
    2) President Obama and D's want tax increases and 'faux' and made up cuts like a so called $ 1 trillion reduction in spending because wars don't last as long as they could last.

    We can't get government spending under control unless we cut what we 'currently' spend, not what we 'might' spend in the future.

    We also can't pay off the debt if we don't increase revenue to the government and to get the amount of increased revenue we need, we have to raise taxes.

    I'll say it one more time... this failure is on all of them, the R's, the D's and President Obama.

    Michael

  30. Michael,

    Is cutting subsidies, closing loopholes, and ending corporate welfare really raising taxes? That is the fallacy behind the GOP/Tea Party argument. Where are our subsidies? If you give it a bit of thought, we've failed at trinkle down economics, it was always trickle up.

    Want to cut gov't. spending? Stop waging war and nation building! Want to cut gov't. spending? Let banks fend for themselves and stop the gov't. bail outs! Banks make loans at no risk to themselves knowing the gov't. will be the fall guy if borrowers default. Student loans are a classic example of banks raping the gov't.

    Since I can remember the economy seemed more stable when a Democrat sat in the White House. Every time a Republican was elected, military spending went through the roof. People refuse to acknowledge the damage done by Bush. The hole he dug is incredible by not adding the wars into the budget, but yet, when he wanted to raise the debt ceiling he had zero resistance. Dick Cheney said the Ronald Reagan proved we didn't have to worry about debt. We al know that was one hell of a lie. Obama is trying to stop a full economic meltdown and again he is met with obstruction and resistance. This has been going on for three years and apparently the right down care if we sink. Obama has caved and conceded several times, it's up the GOP right now.

    Myths Debunked:
    Republicans Are Better for the Economy than Democrats

    http://makethemaccountable.com/myth/Repu...

  31. Vernos,

    The mid-term elections made it very clear that a large portion of the American people are fed up with what they see as out of control spending. It isn't that they thought the TEA Party has the answer (they clearly don't) but the frustration level is so high that the message of bringing spending under control resonates strongly.

    Every middle-class American family knows that you can not continue to live on credit forever. That sometimes you even have to say no to your children or relatives because you just don't have it and can't afford to borrow it for them.

    That is what our government has been doing for decades and it is accelerating now. Even if Republicans were to agree to substantial revenue hikes, the American people want the deficit erased and the debt paid down, period.

    Social Security as of right now is not an issue until about 1017. Medicare spending is another story, as is Defense. Tax loopholes and subsidies are another problem.

    If you want to see the height of government arrogance look at California who now wants to give significant tuition help to illegal residents. California is in even worse shape than Nevada and they want to continue to spend even more money. A large portion of the rest of the country has had enough of this and is saying "STOP!"

    Whigs, as a centrist-oriented party, have no qualms with proposing effective revenue increases coupled with genuine spending cuts. There are no special interests yanking Whig chains other than the American people themselves.

  32. Vern,

    Great post. I agree 100%.....

  33. Vernos,

    I agree with you on some things but it just isn't as one sided as you continue to try to make it.

    There is nothing wrong with cutting subsidies and tax breaks and R's agreed to some of that, although not all. And of course we should stop the wars and nation building. But that takes time and even Obama involved us again in Libya.

    And yes, Bush and the R's and D's in Congress screwed up the economy.

    But you never address the fact that the cuts the D's will agree to are phony, out far enough to be easily undone and the numbers bantied about regarding the amount of cuts don't pass the smell test.

    It must be admitted that the D's don't want to be handcuffed by a balanced budget amendment.

    It's fine to blame the R's and they deserve blame but so do the D's.

    Let me ask you a question straight out and then I'll answer it. Do you believe that absent a balanced budget amendment that either R's or D's in Congress will ever balance the budget? My answer is no. Your answer should be no as well if you are honest.

    Michael

  34. Michael,
    Thanks for writing this story. We finally do have a viable third party. It's called "America's Third Party." You can see our website at www.americasthirdparty.com I am the co-founder and campaign manager of David Jon Sponheim for President. Every weeknight, we communicate Directly with the American people via www.tinyurl.com/ATPBlogTV - I am in contact with some of the bigger movements in the centrist/ third party (Not TEA party) direction. I'd love to speak with you more about this. Send me a message on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThirdParty
    Thanks,
    Sarah Hart - America's Third Party