Democratic Lawmakers Side with Wall Street in DNC Chair Vote
February 26, 2017
Democratic elites continued to marginalize the party's progressive base when, by a vote of 235-200, they chose former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez over Sanders favorite, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, to chair the Democratic National Committee. This comes after two years of deepening divisions in the Democratic party between progressives loyal to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and mainstream democratic elites who actively worked to undermine Sen. Sanders' 2016 campaign. It's safe to say that the party divide between progressives and elites just got wider.
This is a serious problem for the Democrats who are currently down 45 seats in the House and 10 in the Senate. They also reached a new low in state legislatures last November. Add to this their lack of support from the youngest, angriest, and most active members of their party, and it's hard to see how the Democratic Party is going to survive, let alone win back seats in 2018. All of this raises the question: Is it time for a third party?
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The most recent polling shows that 57% of Americans think it is time for a third party. Of course, a third party doesn't require 50% support to be valid or competitive, and we have had at least 40% support for over a decade. It's also important to note that the two-party system fed us two of the most disliked candidates in U.S. history in 2016. So, why can't we break through this false dichotomy? There are several reasons, but here are a few:
- Our constitutional system was designed to "protect the minority of the opulent against the majority." Remember, we couldn't even vote on our senators until the 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913. Democratization is a long process.
- The two-party system and their financial backers will do whatever they can to maintain control. We saw that with the DNC's treatment of the Sanders campaign, as well as with Republicans and President Trump.
- Media matters. Whenever a third party candidate receives enough votes to affect the outcome of an election, the media blames the spoiler candidate for interfering in an otherwise meaningful contest.
- Every election season we are confronted with a wedge issue; a bill that divides us on social issues like gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, guns, etc. Of course, these issues are important to people on both sides, but they don't begin to compare to our two-party problem. They are used as a tool to divide and herd us into one of two camps.
These tactics are undemocratic, and it's important to realize that they come from both sides of the aisle. Echoing the sentiments of George W. Bush's favorite philosopher, it isn't helpful to point out the problems that exist on the other side while blindly supporting the crooks in your own corner. Even granting that there are good people on both sides, those people are good because of who they are and what they stand for, not because they chose party first. It is up to us stop supporting the political establishment in this country. When we go to vote next November, we should remember that a vote for a third party candidate is a vote against a system that's destroying our country.