Matt Stoller: A Real Third Party? An Anti-Big Bank Republican? Yup.

By Matt Stoller, the former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can reach him at stoller (at) or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.

Like many of you, I had mostly given up on electoral politics. One time I went through a log of Hank Paulson’s phone calls when he was Treasury Secretary, and then Tim Geithner’s phone calls when he was Treasury Secretary. And I realized that both men were talking to essentially the same people, even though they were ostensibly in different parties. When a switch in the party in power does not result in policy changes, there’s little point in electoral politics.

I’ve seen two new intriguing developments that are worth noting. The most interesting is former Democrat and ex-Mayor of Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson forming what he is calling “The Justice Party”. Now I love the Justice frame, because it really gets to the heart of what is missing from our technocratic overlords.

And Anderson is a maverick, but has held significant political office. And he has a bold message.

“The end game is changing public policy in the interest of the people of this country. It’s changing our government,” Anderson said. “This is about taking on the two corporatist, militarist parties and in the process bringing the people of this country together so they can see that their interests, by and large, are really aligned.”

Rocky is against American imperialism, and seems to be running against it. His policies fall into that general bucket of opposing the policing mechanisms domestically and abroad that enable more state and creditor control over the polity – he wants to end the war on drugs, reform the criminal justice system, and end for-profit prisons. My guess, though he hasn’t come out with any policies on the matter, he is probably heavily opposed to banking oligarchies and the corrupting influence of money in politics. Here’s the rationale for his run.

“All of us are being harmed while a very few are profiting enormously by the corruption, by bad public policy that they essentially purchase. These folks in Congress and the White House act as if they’re on retainer by Goldman Sachs, the insurance industry, with the coal and oil and gas industry, with the defense industry.”

In politics, the best way to tell what somebody is about is to see who he is willing to upset. Anderson is already being attacked bitterly by local Utah Democrats. Stay tuned.

The second interesting development is Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s plan to end Too Big to Fail banks. It looks, well, real. Huntsman probably sees his only shot as positioning himself as the candidate able to deal with the economy should the Eurozone collapse in the next month. There are definitely some sharp and courageous advisors around him who helped him put this out.

The plan itself is a mix of GOP orthodoxy and smart tightly organized ideas about constraining mega-banks. His plan sets caps on bank size and leverage as a percentage of GDP, and implies that the US should consider ring-fencing commercial and investment banking along the lines of the UK. He attacks risk-weighting of assets, noting that risk-weighting causes an over-allocation in supposedly riskless sovereign debt such as that of Eurozone countries. The plan includes derivatives transparency, a repeal of Dodd-Frank, a stable dollar policy, and shutting down Fannie and Freddie. He also calls for a full investigation and settlement of the robo-signing problem.

This is a basic question of rule of law; in this country no one is above the law. There are also serious issues involving potential violations of the securities laws, particularly with regard to fair and accurate disclosure of the underlying loan contracts and property titles in mortgage-backed securities that were sold. If investors’ rights were abused, thisneeds to be addressed fully. We need a comprehensive settlement that puts all these issues behind us— but any such settlement must include full redress of all legal violations.

Huntsman has put out a marker. The notable aspect of this Presidential race is how little relationship the campaigns of the Republicans and President Obama bear to the real problems facing most voters and to the structural problems from the Eurozone crisis and the housing debt overhang. Normally in the Presidential race one talks about pressing issues. So far in 2012, not so much.

If Rocky Anderson gets serious and organized, and the Eurozone continues to unwind, the 2012 election may yet become an interesting contest where pressing problems are debated, not ignored.

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About Matt Stoller

From 2011-2012, Matt was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters, focusing on the intersection of foreclosures, the financial system, and political corruption. In 2012, he starred in “Brand X with Russell Brand” on the FX network, and was a writer and consultant for the show. He has also produced for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. From 2009-2010, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Alan Grayson. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.


  1. proximity1

    Ought I beg your pardon for throwing some cold-water reality on the notion of a “third” party alternative to the present One-Party system masquerading as a Two-Party system?

    What about the death-grip which elite organized money now has on government, finance and electoral politics? Isn’t this, in sum, the real crux of the multifarious problems which plague us? How do you crack that one? As far as I can tell, you mention money once in your comments but you don’t discuss how to practically address its death-grip on the elections, campaigns, and mass-media advertising–all of which turn around the matter of raising enormous sums of money.

    There are related problems to the money issues and they are no less daunting. Chief among them I’d put the problem of a general public which is, forgive my bluntness, poltically incredibly naive not to say simply foolish, little interested in the politics of their nation, resigned to the status of a helpless and hopeless observer, and practically completely at the mercy of mass-media for an orientation on what little they do think about political affairs. Americans read little or not at all from books; they are resentful and suspicious of people who can read, write and reason effectively, and they are stubbornly opposed to the suggestion that there might be something about themselves, their society and their habits of living and thinking which is deserving of sharp criticism.

    I ask: what do you propose to do with such an electorate? What could a reform party, supposing one could survive the deadly battle organized money shall throw up against it if it ever became even a minor threat to the status quo?–witness the violent responses to the Occupy Wall Street efforts.

    Yes, we need reform and quite frankly we need it desperately. But to get it in any meaningful sense, we also need a public which is not morally and intellectually so battered and beaten and demoralized that they have little or no idea of how and why things have gone so terribly wrong and how this has been so for more than fifty years. Example: Many Americans took the election of Barack Obama as an indication that things were somehow significantly better, different, from the situation which prevailed only a year or seven or eight previously. They didn’t, most of all, recognize the essential fact that the same faulty, broken system which produced the G.W. Bush administrations (and the Clinton administrations before them) also produced the Obama administration.

    Until and unless this cardinal fact is not just widely seen but widely understood for what it means practically, no alternative party, even if it came about, is going to make any useful difference.

    Right now, there remains a damned terrible failure to grasp just how very serious and bad our political predicament is. The truth is we have been and we remain in what should be understood as the worst constitutional crisis since at least the Civil War (1860-1865). MUCH of the U.S. Constitution has been relegated to dead-letter status; our most basic rights are in ruins and people have embraced a national-security state which promises to reduce them even further to a state of begging peons.

    I’d like to be optimistic but I need reasons and right now I don’t see them. If you do, please state the case in favor of optimism for a people who have become stupid, arrogant and cruel–who represent in themselves their own worst enemies and who, as such, make themselves easy marks for the powerful and astute forces ranged against them.

    1. Richard Kline

      So proximity1, I agree with all of your concerns; indeed, I’ve said the same for years. But you’re missing the larger point in several respects.

      Voters vote for what they have a chance to vote for. Two parties oozing falsehood out their pores ofereing smidgens of social preferables to particular constituencies reduce the discussion to gooey irrelevancies and fears of losing few perceived privileges remaining. Supposing that a realistic alternative is on the ballot and on the move, we’ll see where the public really lies. The argument made by another commentor that the ‘voters made the parties, not vice versa’ is, to be blunt, bullshit. Yes, the voters have been stupid. The politicos, however have been exceedingly, urgenly willing to be bought out by big money and to mouth the agenda of the same: it’s the rot at the head which has killed the political system, not the feet of clay.

      What voters need, though, is a realistic alternative. I’ve voted Green for two decades, and having said that I wouldn’t describe the candidates I’ve punched a chad for (and would again) as realistic in the broader sense. They had no substantial mobilizable base. They would have virtually no allies in any other branch of government, or at the governorial level. Most of them had no experience as political executives, leading to real questions about their ability to deliver governance if elected. The personalities of the individuals all but guaranteed administrative paralysis if they won. And I say that as someone who voted for them liking them personally, and believing that they were comparatively or even painfullly honest. All my concerns are readily apparent to even dimly informed voters by the tens of millions. Those millions did not have the political perspective to vote against what you know is wrong and for what you know is right but chose to make ‘pragmatic’ decisions about the least worst evil. Which means that we simply raced evilly to by bottom of the pile where nine clowns and quisling are presently beauty contesting to see who can sell the City on the Hill faster to the 1% of the plutocracty. I won’t even speak about third party nativists like the Scrawny Sucking Sound from Texas, who are always around but who are for 80% of the voting public simply unspeakable at any time, and so never likely to coalesce a mass party.

      My larger point is that there has to be a threshold of viability in a party and its candidate to attract a critical mass of support. It is very hard to do this _from scratch_. It’s not just the money, which is really less important than an organized and politically competent organizing base. [And I’m not going to argue this last point here because it is sooo obvious in the historical record that money gets beat by feet that anyone who doesn’t think so needs to go back and look at the record on it.] One needs more than just one personality, but, well _a party_. Most political parties in American history get started by a split (or splits) in existing ones. And when we get a new party, that’s exactly what I would expect. But right now we have mavericks splitting off on their own, and that won’t get it done: they’ll never get a critical mass. Van Jones, Rocky Anderson, Dennis Kucinich, and the Next Left Hope won’t get this done alone.

      What has to happen is for ALL of labor and the legitimate progressives amongst the Democrats to leave that party in a bloc and start another, whatever they call it. Don’t be surprised if a final handful of liberal Republicans in the Northeast and Northwest throw in with them too. That would at the start be the smallest of the three parties, but it would have the massive advantage of being able to advoacate for something real and substantive whereas the two existing parties are both obvious sock puppets for the 1% peddling mendacity and avarice respectively (I’ll leave it to you to assign those valences as you see fit, friends). That would be enough to really give the electorate a _viable_ choice, and the dynamics of the situation would be quite different. Supposing that that happened, the mose likely ultimate outcome would be for the reformist faction ultimately to merge again with the concupiscent herd—but on very different terms with a different program driven by a different range of personalities for a time.

      Such an outcome is very, very doable; so why hasn’t it been done? Some might say inertia and personal ties by the progs to the lags. I would say, though, it’s fear. Fear that if they, labor and progressives, leave the stinking tent where money is burnt as incense that they will be out in the cold, and that ‘the law’ will be changed to write off or destroy many things which they, the progressives hold dear. So they continue to clutch the rest of the party close in a herd behavior, trying to induce protection for their social privileges even though the main part of the party is unquestionably corrupt. In a word, the progs are too timid to try to make things better for the fear that they will lose pieces of what they have if they ‘fail.’ But with the system failing so spectacularly now, there’s less to lose, more to gain, and more room to make gains. Will the break happen? I have no idea. But it can, and we face a conjuncture where that option will be raised. So my advice to Rocky and Van and Dennis and the rest is this: don’t leave the party, stay long enough to convince your friends to go with you over to your house, and then all go together. But please, STOP wasting your time trying to ‘reform’ the party; that effort is utterly futile.

      1. tatere

        I’ve thought the same thing for some time now. If you have sitting members of Congress jump to a new party, that becomes a huge and different story.

        I think the barrier isn’t just timidity – it’s that there are a lot fewer people with those politics than it might seem.

        How do party changes affect seniority? That could be another obstacle.

        1. different clue

          Those Democrats who “could” defect from the Party are also afflicted with “Party Loyalism” partly for the reasons Richard Kline outlined above and partly due to decades of conditioning and stubborn nostalgia.

          Those legitimate Democrats who opposed every Free Trade Agreement could be the nucleus of a legitimate political party. But they won’t. They will follow the New Yuppie Scumocrat Party into extinction out of nostalgiac loyalty to a Democratic Party which was penetrated and subverted by economic traitors for Free Trade Against America decades ago.

          I wouldn’t call all of my fellow Americans “venal, greedy, etc.” I would call them defeated and resigned after decades of engineered defeats and betrayals designed to induce what is called “learned helplessness”. Since the Class Enemy Occupied government is indeed their enemy (and ours too), they will find no hope of hope anywhere in it. Perhaps people seeking to offer hope to the hopeless should focus on practicing economic survivalism in their own lives so that they can then teach it to others. There are people working on concepts of personal and neighborhood survivalism in the teeth of a Corporate BizFascist GoverPlex conspiring to destroy that survival in every way.
          Off the top of my head I would suggest some of the articles on Energy Bulletin as well as blogs/bloggers like Global Guerillas (John Robb), Jeff Vail, Ran Prieur, Journey To Forever, Verdant (which someone else mentioned in another thread), Catherine Austin Fitts, Contrary Goddess, Suburban Renewal Project, etc. They can all be googled. And there are hundreds of others as well as books/magazines/etc.

          Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

        2. Richard Kline

          So tatere, ‘seniority’ has no Constitutional validity, it’s a conventional practice invented by the parties for their own advantage; ergo, leave a party and you have zero seniority with that faction. —But seniority is largely irrelevant here. It takes X votes to pass a measure, and what a significant faction can do is to substantively bargain for what they want, and substantively oppose what must be opposed. More progressive Democrats, capital D, are presently _completely neutered_ by the seniority and caucaus system, more effectively disenfranchised than they would be in a separate party. Regarding ‘how many,’ I would estimate about a quarter of the Democratic Party plus stray independents and perhaps a handful of Republicans.

          As the following commenter says, nostalgia and lingering loyalties are significant impediments together with personal ties to some who wouldn’t leave the Demos under any circumstances. Not all of those actually of a mind to work for change would go, but the numbers are large enough to make a politically and functionally viable ‘party.’ Will it happen? I’m not holding my breath for ‘soon.’ But it not only could happen, such splits HAVE happened before in American history, so the potential as well as the need is very much there.

      2. proximity1

        In our aims, intentions and political desires, there is little if any difference in what your comments indicate you favor and what I, too, favor. Where we differ is in the relative importance of the prerequisites to getting there. I think it’s also clear that we both–not to mention many others–recognize that what’s involved is a very long process of learning and reform. Question: shall we survive that long in a form that is recognizable as something you and I would consider worthy? I know, no one knows the answerr to that question and we probably have to continue on the assumption, however well-or-ill-founded, that the answer may be “yes”.

        I much appreciate your thoughtful reply to my post.

        There are several associated points I might have included in the comment I posted but I really can’t put everything into one comment. This, though, I thought of later and wish I’d added, and it’s been repeatedly posed by others, too:

        How many of “us”, really, honestly, are there? I know that what’s involved is building a better, more informed society, one which, in its citizenry, posseses the moral and intellectual “stuff” to support real democratic government where a broad public’s is again the determinative factor in the public policies implemented by local, state and national government.

        Imagine, for example, this thought experiment:

        what if today we had men and women of the moral and intellectual caliber of the those who–with all that cohort’s numerous and deplorable faults, still–were able to cobble together a constitutional charter which—Charles and Mary Beard’s brilliant critiques notwithstanding—could arguably be thought to hold at least the seeds of a better, freer, more democratic future for a people who could muster enough of a common purpose*. What could such people accomplish under the prevailing circumstances today? Perhaps they exist among us but, from all appearances, they aren’t entering into electoral politics. We may justly lament that but how can we fail to understand how they might consider this course of little use at this point?

        * (It’s this common purpose which is the essential thing that is so lacking in us today, and that, for several generations, is all for some very practical imperative reasons having to do with both vast technological and ecological changes since the nation’s founding. As I cannot urge too strongly or too often, we must study Neil Postman’s work on mass-media and technology–especially his Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology.)

        1. Richard Kline

          Well there are always ample numbers of men and women of intelligence and good character. And there are considerable numbers of clear intent and willingness to act as we see from the Occupy movement alone which by no means has a monopoly on either cadre. The problem is not their lack but the accumulated bias of the political system and institutions in favor of an extractive minority, and the structure of authority which bolsters this tissue of injustice and greed. Getting past those obstacles (to say nothing of the unintended flaws and failures which even those of good will will effect along with their better intentions) takes concerted effort; that’s the trick.

          As far as ‘how long,’ does that matter, really? Of course we’d all like to have ‘the Rapture’ eventuate within the year, or at lest soon, as in the experience of those getting gross if lumpy change in North Africa. But if the course of action is just, the question isn’t so much when, to me, as it is, ‘What are the means, and what are their costs?’ It of course costs those who leave the Democratic Party more to do so than it costs me to advocate that result, obviously, but it is entirely reasonable and within their means to do so. And I can say that I, and many others _will not support them in any way_ so long as they stay but might be induced to support them along with our other efforts when and as they leave. A

          nd in the larger sense, their are many reasonable actions that concerned citizens can take without being sure when change will come, efforts that are not self-destructively costly such as banking with a credit union, for instance. What matters is for folks to get moving on what they can do rather than waiting for bought out quislings to grow a new heart in place of the one they sold away for pennies.

          1. proximity1


            “As far as ‘how long,’ does that matter, really? Of course we’d all like to have ‘the Rapture’ eventuate within the year, or at lest soon, as in the experience of those getting gross if lumpy change in North Africa. But if the course of action is just, the question isn’t so much when, to me, as it is, ‘What are the means, and what are their costs?’ It of course costs those who leave the Democratic Party more to do so than it costs me to advocate that result, obviously, but it is entirely reasonable and within their means to do so.”

            I understand your point, of course, and in a sense you’re quite right that the issue shouldn’t be one of “how long”. However, there is a very real practical consideration involved in that question. Mass movements of reform need masses to adhere to them and to achieve that there has to be some reasonable expectation of eventual success on some measurable terms–that is, “this effort may not see success in my lifetime but the efforts are worth it for my children’s generation and their children’s,” etc.

            If the aims and ambitions aren’t conceived as feasible within some sort of realistic future, the movements forces, its momentum, the faith of adherents which drive it–all of these will suffer from fading hopes; and, this point is particularly pertinent when it comes to contemporary US society and prevailing notions of motivational endurance. Americans have short memories (when they remember things at all). We suffer terrbibly from modern expectations of “Now, right now, I want it right now!” So I think that those in whose care the movement comes to rest have to give some real thought to how a large public can be not only gained but held and maintained.

            Whether one likes it or not, perhaps too-practical-minded Americans may wonder about and want to satisfy certain questions: What efforts are sought, demanded, required?; What can actually realistically be gained from these efforts?; What is the realistic time-frame for these?; and all of this depends very much on the whole set of “Ways and means” envisioned to progress.

            In addition, the sort of changes needed can be reasonably expected to draw fierce –and even very violent–resistance from authorities unless of course the changes never gain enough in progress to pose a serious possibility of success–in which case, they’ll be allowed to peter out. Thus, there will be a prospect of serious sacrifice and losses in the campaign for reform. Americans lived years and years under the boot of the British crown before they got around to organizing real resistance. Though in theory we have the ballot box to effect reform, in practice it doesn’t, it hasn’t, proven effective.

            It may be that “this time it’s different”–so dire are the circumstances now that many people are obliged to concern themselves. If so, then perhaps an electoral approach can make some headway. I don’t see that, however, coming from disgruntled present or former mainstream center-right or right-wing politicians.

            Obama was supposed to be change we could believe in. Now, only the hopelessly deluded still believe in him. I find myself back at square #1 in my thinking about the qualities of the U.S. electorate and what potentials it has for supporting such hopes for reform. You say there are always ample people of talent and good-will and that the problems lie elsewhere. As I see it, I see no one at all like that. No one I know of as even a far-fetched prospect for candidacy inspires such faith and respect from me. The last person who did was one Paul Wellstone of Minnesota.

            Where are the other Paul Wellstones? I see none. I’m sorry to say that it seems to me that a dreadful dearth of talent is indeed one of our very serious dilemmas; that, and, again, as mentioned: we no longer have a common purpose as a people. Unless we have a very good theory about how and why that is (or, if disputed, how and why that is not the case) then, again, part of the very serious and essential spade-work is missing from this effort.

            99% is all well and good as a slogan but personally I am far from convinces that when it comes to real meaningful backing, the forces of reform have or can get and dependably hold so large a proportion. As soon as we get down to real specifics, large parts of that 99% are going to find just what the Tea Partiers found–the Devil is in the details. And that reminds me: on one point, both the real liberal Left and the Tea Party are correct: “Washington” neither represents them nor gives a damn about them. But the real liberal Leftists have a much clearer grasp of what the Tea Partiers don’t understand: how they, the Tea Partiers are being used and played for suckers by the forces behind the scenes (a.k.a. Koch Bros., et al). The very same dangers lurk for the OWS efforts. For all its supposed sophistication and wariness about being co-opted, this is a major problem of the long-term.

            In my view, something very essential is still missing and must be supplied if that danger is to be properly allayed. That essential factor is a truly clear, accurate and compelling account of recent political history in which people are brought, made, helped, to understand just what has happened to them. Without that, they are very likely to simply fail by repeating past deadly errors. If they really understood what has happened and how, they’d be fore-armed in thwarting the sort of counter-measures which have proven effective in the past on the part of the ruliing authorities. In other words, again, our worst and abiding failing is simply poltitical ignorance–nothing else so wonderfully serves the organized forces which like the status quo and want to keep it in place and will spare little in money and effort to ensure that.

            We need genuine understanding of the intimate details of our predicament and how we got here. And no one is providing that so far. This aspect is perhaps my N° 1 indictment of Obama as a hopeless failure. Even if he did nothing else, he could, if he chose to do so, advace the cause by bringing a large public the understanding it still lacks. And he hasn’t done this and shows no indication of being interested in it. The only way I can explain that failing is this simple one: the guy is in no way actually “on our side”.

            If you’re able to read French, I recommend the last book by Georges Corm, ( from the publisher La Découverte,

            Le nouveau gouvernement du monde – Idéologies, structures, contre-pouvoirs (La découverte, 2010)


            also available in a digital edition.

            Sorry, but I know of nothing really comparable in English.
            I’d say the same for French economist and popularizer, Pierre-Noël GIRAUD and his brilliant book, “Le Commerce des Promesses”.

            We badly need these two books in English–then, we’d badly need Americans to read them.

            See what I mean?

    2. Lafayette


      … how to practically address its death-grip on the elections, campaigns, and mass-media advertising–all of which turn around the matter of raising enormous sums of money

      One might think that like most Americans what we need is a “magic bullet” that kills the money-effect on politics.

      That ain’t gonna happin. We’ve been building into this Monumental Mess of governance for decades. AbraCadabra, we solve it with some cute legislation?

      Nope. The problem is too rooted in the American psyche of Get Rich Quick, typical of this past three decades.

      Americans have become politically lasy. They don’t vote and when they do the elect nerds like Lead-head who promptly repaid his BigOil cronies for their patronage. Congress needs some serious reformation and for that to happen some guidelines and a road-map are necessary.

      These guidelines are progressive in nature. They take back the corrupted power surrendered (by voter apathy) to those plutocrats who paid politicians to run mindless media political-campaigns and “return the favor” in low taxes and and weak market oversight.

      This is a democracy – we have no one to blame but ourselves.

      So, what’s to be done? Let’s debate the Progressive Measures necessary to redress this country and give the people what the people deserve. In one word: Well-being.

      That, is (for the most part) freedom from the debilitation of illness and a modern educational system that allows them the skills/talents necessary to obtain a decent job at decent salaries.

      These are not just handwritings on the wall. They can be defined rather exactly if need be. So, I submit this proposition for a Progressive Agenda for National Reformation that does just that.

      The purpose is to get the debate started because, for the moment, we are stalled in victimization. Woe is me, woe is me – I am an American with a corrupted government! And all the negative commentary that goes with it, to show the outrage and indignation we feel.

      OK, time out. Shall we get down to first-principles?

      What are we going to do about it? Indignation is a good start but is nowhere near enough to alter the situation.

      We need, I submit, to coalesce around a strategy and a political platform (the road-map) to carry out policies that reform the nation. That platform, as much as we may be disgusted by the present two-party system, is more than likely to be realized more easily from changing the Democrat Party from within.

      By electing to Congress those Progressive Politicians with a reform strategy (for societal improvement) and within the Democrat Party. It will change the party profoundly and bring it back to its roots. Those roots are anchored in the well-being of the American people – all the American people and not just a select few.

      Enough of this bunk about a third-party. It just aint gonna work. To attempt to do so will leave us high and dry with 8 more years in the desert of a Republican leadership, either in Congress or in the Oval Office or both.

      And let’s also accept the fact that two key challenges exist:
      * Progressivism in America needs to be taught to Americans who have never learned what that same movement fought for when conceived in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries (see here). And therefore,
      * Progressive measures, when passed gradually, will take a decade to change the nation into one where – finally – we feel that from our labor we are all sharing equitably in the benefits produced.

      We’ve become Fat, Dumb and VERY Happy to be content with the crumbs off the economy’s table. It’s time to STOP the victimization.

    3. Brad

      The “3rd parties never work” line is something that both major parties like to put out there but it’s historically wrong. Third parties, esp organized around a central national issue, crop up and then replace one of the other main parties.

      If you’re in doubt, go back and read how the Republican party was founded just before the Civil war. Look at how close they came to winning their first presidential election. They came into existence around basically one issue and replaced the Whigs. All without any of the advantages of modern communication/internet technology.

      There is no reason, aside from apathy, that it can’t happen again.

  2. Middle Seaman

    Since we have only one party, you probably mean a new second party. It is difficult to tell whether OWS will be a part of the second party. Anderson’s ideas, as outlined above, are a crude sketch for a new movement.

    We do have a much more severe problem in our political system. It’s the voters. The alleged liberals mostly voted for Obama in the Democratic primaries of 2008. It was strikingly clear that Obama doesn’t have what it takes and yet they all flocked to him. Another example is the Warren/Brown race. As of today, Brown leads the independent vote by 18%. What the hell are they thinking? Brown is a nobody with right wing tendencies; he does nothing for independents. Liberal friends were disappointed and bitter with the failure of the super committee, i.e. “why can’t they work something out?”, instead of rejoicing at the failure to impose draconian cuts in Medicare and SS.

    The voters caused the changes in the parties, not the other way around.

    1. different clue

      I would agree with EH just below in general . . . but those liberals who lamented the failure of the Super Catfood Committee are indeed stupid. If they now support Obama’s “payroll tax holiday” salami tactics against Social Security, then they are indeed stupid. And they do deserve to lose every bit of the Social Security they ever paid for.
      The problem is, they will cost me all of my social security as well if their stupid support for the evil Democratic Party allows that Party to achieve its new “Nixon goes to China” dream of destroying Social Security along with their
      Republican political class comrades.

  3. Pat In Massachusetts

    I expect the 2012 elections to be different than anything I have seen and I’ve been a registered voter for over 30 years.

    I welcome a third party candidate because Republican policies have NEVER worked for me, and the election of Barack Obama made me realize for the first time ever that the Democrats are the same as the Republicans except for their “logos”. Just yesterday, the two parties voted that yes, indeed, Americans can be picked up and held without charges by our military.

    I at least want to see John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and other Washington, DC permanent fixtures to have to at least break a sweat to be reelected.

    Make no mistake. It was the Hope and Change Democrat who made me realize that Republicans and Democrats are one in the same. And for that reason, Americans really need to look elsewhere to find someone willing to fight for the best interests of the 99%.

    1. Rex

      I also have gone through that recent education in lack of actual functional choice.

      If this year of the current liar vs. a hand full of clowns can’t support some other alternative, then the system must be broken beyond repair.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Indeed. It dawned on me back in 2007 when Democrats refused to end the war(s). The continuation of Establishment policies after 2008 further proved what had already been telegraphed.

  4. Lafayette


    A Real Third Party? An Anti-Big Bank Republican? Yup.

    Nope. Just ask Ralph Nader.

    There are three reasons why a third-party cannot find electoral success in America:
    * Redistricting (or gerrymandering ) by which the vote is concentrated withing communities. This tends to encrust parties into a two-party system of governance.
    * First-past-the-post (or winner-take-all) vote counting, which enhances the above effect of redistricting.
    * The mountains of money needed to capture attention on the Boob-Tube and/or get out the vote.

    Which is why a more progressive emphasis within the Democrat Party will be more effective – if not immediately then in the longer run. There are already progressives there and that base can be built upon – especially if the Dems can rid themselves of the BlueDogs – who belong on the other side of the political divide.

    The progressive base can concentrate solely on those policy matters that relate to reforming our governance – and not just banking. Our problems are much further reaching than just the Finance Industry. (Here is a proposition for a Progressive Agenda to Reform America. It’s just an outline and not a road map.)


    Changing Leftwards America’s abrupt shift Rightwards, which happened with the advent of Reckless Ronnie, is not going to happen over-night despite the bent of Americans for the QuickFix.

    It took us three decades to get into this highly complex mess. One election is not going to get us out of it. Why?

    First, because the grassroots must be inculcated with the notion that they have a civic duty to vote – which they do not understand in the least, preferring to be Fat, Dumb and Happy with the status quo. America has one of the worst voter turnout records of any democracy. (See the sad facts here, scroll down to the bottom of the listing).

    Secondly, the grassroots have very little knowledge of Progressive Politics (or social democracies) that place the well-being of All Americans first and foremost in policy making decisions – and not just a select class of plutocrats with the money to influence Congress.

    Let’s not bite off more than we can chew. The battle to establish a Social Democracy (like those of Europe) will take at least a decade. Otoh, it is necessary that we start now, today and not in ten years time.

    Thirdly – as intimated above, progressive politics is a learning experience. People must be convinced of the inherent values of progressivism – how it can enhance the well-being of All Americans.

    Which is certainly not the case of today’s America.

    1. Rex

      “Which is why a more progressive emphasis within the Democrat Party will be more effective”

      A lot of people are fed up with that fart into the wind. If not 2008, then when do we expect something to get better?

      I really think that something like the Ross Perot candidacy could take it this year, but time is running low.

      If I don’t see a choice soon I think I’ll start a major campaign for a write-in of Alfred E. Newman.

      Other than sending a message, what exactly would happen if the winning vote total was given to a fictitious candidate?

      1. Richard Kline

        I’m writing in for Mike Check, ’cause that one’s got a lot more going that Alfred E. ever showed.

          1. ambrit

            Dear Fiends;
            My problem with ‘Moderate Mikes’ candidacy is precisely that; moderation. As some neo-con or other observed years ago, “No one ever fought in a war for a standard of living.” Too true that. It may take a massive ‘double dip’ for the generality to embrace ‘difference.’ When a lot of the people end up ‘in the street,’ then that’s where the action will be.

          2. EH

            ambrit: Just because a 3rd party is outside the Two Parties doesn’t mean the space it would occupy would be the “moderate” one.

    2. sheepdog

      “…just enough Democrats – 16 in total — joined the GOP to ensure passage of Levin/McCain. That includes such progressive stalwarts as Debbie Stabenow, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne Shaheen and its lead sponsor, Carl Levin.

      I’ve described this little scam before as “Villain Rotation”: “They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it.” This has happened with countless votes that are supposed manifestations of right-wing radicalism but that pass because an always-changing roster of Democrats ensure they have the support needed. So here is the Democratic Party — led by its senior progressive National Security expert, Carl Levin, and joined by just enough of its members — joining the GOP to ensure that this bill passes, and that the U.S. Government remains vested with War on Terror powers and even expands that war in some critical respects.”

      There is no progressive base within the Democratic Party to build on. Glenn Greenwald points out this point very clearly in the above article.

    3. Christophe

      “Which is why a more progressive emphasis within the Democrat Party will be more effective”

      Back away from the Kool-Aid bowl. Do not take another sip. Their poisons are already at near toxic levels in your brain cells.

    4. Graham

      No remedial action or measure is of any use whatsoever in solving the US’s electoral problem without coming into line with all modern democracies and severely limiting the amount of money that can be SPENT on a political campaign. Without such a fundamental measure (plus the guarantee of equal FREE television time to all candidates) democracy is impossible.

      It works everywhere else.

  5. proximity1

    more à propos to my previous post–

    Recommened Reading:

    How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth by Hervé Kempf.

    see, for example,


    also, the latest books from Daniel Kahnemann (Thinking, Fast and Slow)


    and Robert Trivers (The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life )


  6. Rex

    “The second interesting development is Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s plan to end Too Big to Fail banks. It looks, well, real.”

    I know I was naive when I voted for Barack O-Good-Story until he got elected. Change my ass. Huntsman may be better than the other clowns in the R fiasco, but why might I believe it isn’t another bait and switch.

    1. Richard Kline

      Huntsman’s boilerplate certainly reads well. What other baggage he brings is worth knowing supposing that he ever gets himself on the radar. But the problem again is he would be a lone steer. (You know what a steer is, don’t you?) Without a party effort we will get no substantive reform, even if it’s Gandhi’s Sainted Ghost on the ballot. Now, paralysis would be preferable to the wholesale sell-out of the American citizenry, Constitutional law, and political traditions, true. But overfocusing on the Presidency as usual isn’t advantageous. We need a party large enough to interject some semblance of reality into Congressional debate and Governorial budgeting and advocacy. Huntsman can’t do that no matter what his program is.

      1. Richard Kline

        And we need the vanguard of the 99% in the persons of the Occupiers and their like on the outside of the political system to keep kicking said system in the butt and loudly interjecting REAL PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS into the flatulent and fraudulent political discourse which is all we hear from Serious People in America as of today.

      2. RueTheDay

        Nowhere in Huntsman’s plan does he even discuss breaking up the existing TBTF banks. He merely talks about ways to prevent big banks from getting even bigger. It’s nothing more than the standard GOP worldview where “ending TBTF” = “simply promising not to do any more bailouts”, dressed up a little.

      3. ambrit

        Mr. Kline;
        “..Overfocusing on the presidency..” is right on the mark. (Pun intended?) Just look at what Evangelical Christians have ‘accomplished’ at State and Local levels since the Reagan Reaction. (Simply because they’ve been played for fools by the Plutocrats doesn’t make their organizing and politicing skills any less formidable.)

    2. Maximilien

      @Rex: You have every right to be suspicious.

      Huntsman cut his political teeth in the Reagan administration and his record since suggests he’s cut from the same cloth: just another in a long line of low-tax, high-spending Republicans. He cut taxes in Utah while at the same time increasing the state budget by 40% in 4 years.

      Conversion on the road to D.C.? I doubt it too.

  7. Amateur Socialist

    Ok so Huntsman is saying some sensible things. Kudos. He’s still in the wrong primary.

    1. cwaltz

      Uh no he’s not. He’s anti choice. He’s pro drilling in ANWR. There are a host of reasons a female liberal ought to be wary of Jon Huntsman.

      Not that the rest of them are much better.

      I’m still writing someone in(probably Sanders) because there aren’t any choices for someone like me.

      1. Amateur Socialist

        Last time I checked being pro choice wasn’t a prerequisite for membership in the Democratic Party. “Oh hi Senator Reid”

        Same with being pro oil company – “Look there’s Senator Landrieu”.

        My point stands. He has zero chance of winning any GOP primaries. He has a non-zero chance of making a democratic primary of Barack Obama interesting at least.

      2. Jason Boxman

        Stoller may enjoy this — I am almost certain to write in Alan Grayson. I happen to be in FL-8, too, so Stoller has my eternal thanks, along with Grayson himself.

      3. EH

        I’m pretty lefty and as of yesterday I found myself wishing Ron Paul would go third party. I could still vote against Obama, not have to vote for Newt/Mitt, and vote for Paul in hopes he’ll implement some of the ideas he has that I agree with.

        I figure his more nutty ideas would never get past Congress, leaving us a little safer from R/D institutionalized nuttiness for a while. Frankly, if he can point the DOD at UFOs for a few years that might be OK.

  8. Eleanor

    The Upper Midwest States had strong third parties in the early 20th century: the Nonpartisan League in North Dakota, the Farmer Labor Party in Minnesota and the Progressive Party in Wisconsin. While these parties were all local, they changed life for the people in these states and had an influence on national politics. A lot of progressive legislation has begun at the state level. Right now, I don’t see a single obvious route. Establishing local third parties is one way toward change, so are demonstrations such as Occupy, and so may be working with the progressive caucus in the Democratic Party. I’d say pick your preference and get to work. The main point is to scare Washington, and that means a lot of activity.

    Final point: the Whigs vanished and the Republican Party arose during the struggle over slavery. We are in (I suspect) a comparable crisis. Maybe it will generate a new national party.

    1. sheepdog

      The Farmer Labor Party was co-opted by the Democratic Party in Minnesota under the guidance of Hubert Humphrey. What most don’t realize is the true progressives in the Farmer Labor Party were demonized as a bunch of “commies” and purged from the unity party.

  9. ella

    Here comes another Anderson, this time it is Rocky Anderson. Last time it was John Bayard Anderson who ran as a third party candidate in the 1980 Presidential campaign against Carter and Reagan. Reagan was elected and so I ask, is this another third party candidate that will ensure a Republican win for president in 2012?

    1. Diogenes

      Ella is inaccurate to say that John Anderson’s candidacy led to Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1980. I spent that entire year working for Anderson on his national campaign staff (first during the Republican primaries and then during his quixotic independent candidacy). If every vote that had gone to Anderson had been a vote for Carter, Reagan still would have won the 1980 election (although by a much narrower margin). More importantly, John Anderson’s modest popularity (he garnered roughly seven percent of the national vote in the November election without carrying a single state) represented a stunning indictment of Jimmy Carter’s ineffectual presidency. Indeed, despite a generally progressive (if fiscally responsible) outlook, I, like a very large portion of John Anderson’s other supporters, would have sat the election out before we voted for either Reagan or Carter. For what it is worth, my utter and complete disillusionment with the current pretender in chief is such that there is no way that I will vote for him again in 2012. (By contrast, in 2008 I maxed out on the legal limits for financial support that I was able to give Obama.) I would gladly vote for a credible third party candidate again provided such candidate was clearly committed to breaking the corrupting ties that bind our two putative parties to their corporate benefactors at the expense of their constitutional obligation to the citizenry.

      1. Amateur Socialist

        Yes I remember that one well. My first presidential election where I was entitled to vote, but I couldn’t forgive Carter for reinstating the draft. The memories of my adolescent fear of being drafted into a body bag in Vietnam were too fresh to let that one go.
        I don’t regret the choice but I’m glad it didn’t help Reagan win the election. Ronnie’s friends who arranged for the Iranian hostages to be released (on Inauguration day no less!) saw to that.

        1. psychohistorian

          I am tired of folks beating up on Carter when we ended up with a MUCH worse Reagan.

          Reinstating the draft was meant to insure that more of the rich had to send their kids off to their stupid wars which we don’t anymore as our military is the employer of last resort for many now….cannon fodder anyone. How many of Mitt’s boys went into the military?

          I saw Carter as trying to wake up a brainwashed public to the horrors we see before us now. He was very well intentioned and marginalized by the global inherited rich puppet masters that control what social narratives are portrayed on the boob tube.

    2. different clue

      If the Republican is someone we could tolerate, then yes, it is worth it to begin reconquering and decontaminating the Democratic Party (or exterminating it to build something legitimate on the vacated space).

      In that spirit, I will re-register R just long enough to vote Romney in the primary. If enough other unhappy Democrats do the same, then they (we) may at least spare ourselves from the menace of a Rapturanian Armageddonite Republican running for President. If it is just distasteful Romney, then I would feel free to vote against Obama to get revenge on the New Yuppie Scumocratic Party for
      its support of Obama’s deceit, treachery, and One Percenter Frontmanship.

  10. rps

    Stick a fork in me, I’m done with the infomercial con of political candidates. All the same snake oil salesman selling the magic “elixir” to cure our ills. When the reality is more of the same to assure that labor’s wealth is up-streamed to the laziest bunch of hideous human trolls on the face of the planet.

    In short, politicians are the drug-pushers of promises never delivered. Just like the Home shopping network, you think you’re purchasing something you really don’t want, but have been told you’re life will be ruined without it. And so are the political puppets of the one-percent with all the bells and whistles of the hype purchase and promise of the free gift included disclaimer: taxes(more for the little people) shipping (of jobs overseas), and “handling”(owned by the corporations and banks) are extra.

    My plan for 2012; yes, I will go vote, but not vote. Ask for my ballot, patriotically stand behind the curtain, and Not Vote for anyone. Graciously hand back the ballot, witness the dumb expression of the vote-keepers who’ll remark I hadn’t voted. Yes, I did vote. My vote says, no one is worthy of my vote. Imagine in 2012, 20 million voters voted, and the democrats received 0 votes, and the republicans received 0 votes.

    I refuse to support cool looking packages wrapped with shiny bows of promises to find mostly paper and cardboard with a made by aristocrats puppets logo stamped on their ass, with the disclaimer, batteries not included.

    1. Valissa

      “My plan for 2012; yes, I will go vote, but not vote.”

      Sounds good to me… I have been leaning towards this strategy as well. Not voting for the candidate of either major party and doing the “write in” thing instead. Now I’m working on coming up with some creative names/slogans as my voting choice :) The only thing I will definitely vote on is any statewide ballot questions.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        How about NOBODY FOR PRESIDENT




        NO BODY CAN WIN!!


        apologies to Wavy Gravy

      2. different clue

        Perhaps a movement could be organized to “leave the line blank”. They could even get themselves a memorable 1-800 number. “Vote against them all in 2012. For more information, call 1-800-IVO-TENO.”

  11. b.

    Simple litmus test:

    1a) Corporations are not people.
    1b) Money is not speech.

    2a) We need Eisenhower-level uniform tax on all income
    2b) We need drastic inheritance tax

    3a) Abolish electoral college
    3b) Instant run-off vote

    How did we wind up with inbred wealth, and how did inbred wealth become self-reinforcing through corrupted democratic process?


    The banks do not matter. The elites do not matter. What is needed, more than any attempt of reform on, of, and around the margins, is a reform of the processes and institutions. Democratism as practised in the US of today is not evolutionary stable, it is not self-reinforcing, it is not sustainable, and it is in fact in freefall.

    Yes, we might get something done chipping away at Too Big For Democracy, but the demand to fix the root cause – self-reinforcing accretion of wealth incompatible with open society – has to come first and foremost. Any candidate who does not start there is at best a fool, and most likely another faux populist. We need radicals, to make the case no matter how far-fetched.

    That is the true impact of Occupy so far: The discourse is shifting, even if only in frantic, desperate attempts to rebut an obvious truth. Any candidate running in 2012 can realistically only hope to crack open the fault lines that will shift violently, one way or the other, by 2016.

    There is a simple corollary: No incumbents. Yes, there were good intentions, and even a few glimpses of principle. But the taint is pervasive. No incumbent, by definition, risked his or her career over aggressive illegal war, torture, kidnapping, or the ongoing assassination campaign.

    No incumbents. It is the only way to be sure.

    If the sum of all experience in office has brought us to this juncture, what good has that type of experience proven?

    Measure your “alternatives” against these yardsticks. So far, I see nothing to be excited about. As a case study, remember Howard Dean, in the 2004 primaries, sole challenger of the Doctrine of Preventive War – and look at him today. Even if the candidate appears to measure up, the elected official might well not.

    1. psychohistorian

      I agree and thanks for the comment that lets me repeat my declaration:

      Laugh the global inherited rich out of control of “Western Democracies” and into rooms at the Hague where they can be prosecuted for our social degradation.

  12. Tarpley

    Here’s something that the average distracted American
    can relate to when it comes to this issue:


  13. Brian

    I beg to ask, how is an “investigation and settlement” in anyone but the banks interests? Perhaps you meant, investigation, incarceration and dismantling of the banks. But you said settlement.
    A settlement might be in the authors interest, but not when it allows too big to follow law, So big it gets to write the law, bribe the government and destroy the economy for ever.
    The author is delusional. Ask Judge Rakoff.

  14. orionATL

    republicans lie their way to power thru emotionally manipulative slogans;

    democrats slither their way to power thru evasion and conflict avoidance on critical issues.

    for things to change,

    the rhetoric a candidate uses must change, in style and substance


    the candidate must not be afraid to lose.

    the candidate could be of any party;

    it’s the candidate’s messages that must change to reflect the social (e.g., recession/depression) and the physical realities (e.g., global warming) of our times.

    1. orionATL

      whatever his/her party,

      any liberal candidate must make the corporate media one of the key subjects of attack on the grounds they have:

      – failed to accurately educate the citizenry

      – operated as an arm of their corporation, of the presidency, and of congressional majorities, in short of conventional political thinking on domestic and foreign policy issues, thinking (if it can be called that) that has ranged from unhelpful to disastrous for our nation.

      1. rps

        Narcissistic politicians are groomed at the local level refining their lips moving lie technique. They gladly slither along the festering fiat currency open-sore of promises with the ever soothing ego hand-massage of reward for doing the slave-masters bidding. I believe they’re required to take the career aptitude test, in search of the top psychopaths for the job of maintaining class war-fare

  15. grayslady

    Rocky Anderson is one of the best things to happen to American politics since I started voting. He is the real deal–has walked the walk all his life. Of course the Utah Dems are angry with him: remember that they didn’t support him when he ran for Congress in 1996. They said he was “too liberal” because he (gasp!) supported the ACLU (he sat on the board of the Utah chapter). His email to the DNC, in which he notified them that he was leaving the party, is a litany of Democratic non-achievement:

    “How dare you send an email with the subject line ‘Standing strong,'” he wrote. “You didn’t do it on Iraq; you didn’t do it on torture; you didn’t do it on signing statements; you haven’t done it on Afghanistan; you haven’t done it on defense spending; you haven’t done it on real health care reform; you haven’t done it on energy policy and the climate crisis; you haven’t done it on the evisceration of our system of checks and balances through the invocation of the state secrets doctrine; and you haven’t done it on the debt ceiling fiasco.”

  16. Economic Maverick

    Great stuff Matt

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful with the Justice party displaced the Democratic party, much like the New Dems have now quasi-displaced the “mainstream” Liberals in Canada?

    Furthermore, if Huntsman types could capture the Republican party, we could actually have a genuine 2 party system. Imagine, instead of 2 pro-corporatist parties “competing”, we could have 2 non-corporatist parties genuinely competing!


  17. Andrew

    Why not have EVERYONE register as a Republican. Have a progressive get their name on the Republican ballot. Show up at the caucuses and primaries and vote for the progressive. Then you could have a real choice at the general.

  18. Lew Glendenning

    The dynamics that take every country over the edge into the debt and default pit are that voters vote their Net Present Value of government.

    As there are more net-tax-positive voters than net-tax-negative voters, until the NPV of gov is zero, no reform is possible.

    Money buys power in 2 ways : the obvious is the K Street aspect. The worst is the corruption of the citizens who come to see no other way of living besides their dollars from government.

  19. barrisj

    John Anderson was treated as a “serious” candidate by the MSM; Ross Perot was mocked, vilified, and generally written off by the same MSM. Ron Paul, who – inter alia– has taken a contrarian anti-militarist stance for years that – if for no other reason – has earned him scorn and ridicule amongst Beltway bloviators. His position on Israel has also “third-railed” him in the eyes of the commentariat as well. So, a “third-party” candidate is only treated as “serious” by the media inversely proportionate to the “seriousness” of his proposals and platform. A candidate who represents a real “threat” to prevailing so-called “wisdom” and consensus will be by definition doomed to fail, count on it.

  20. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Minor point in that it’s off the main topic. But re Huntsman, the problem with repealing Dodd-Frank, even if Huntsman does a better job with the TBTF banks (and surely that’s possible to do) is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It’s important and needs to stay in existence. So partial repeal of Dodd-Frank, fine. But hands of the Consumer Financial

  21. Aquifer

    I have been listening to this debate about 3rd parties for over 15 years now, and it always sounds the same …

    1) 3rd parties “can’t win” so don’t waste your vote – an obviously self fulfilling prophecy and absurd on its face – of course they can, if they get enough votes. Nader was on enough ballots to garner enough electoral votes to win.

    2) 3rd parties need to be “big enough” to win and we don’t have any of those. But, though no party is born fully formed like Venus from the head of Zeus, folks seem to be waiting for that. There are 3rd parties out there, but see 1)

    3) TPTB (MSM, Big Money) are too powerful: we are stuck with the schmucks we’ve got, so pick “lesser evil” (how’s that been workin’ out?) or don’t vote (and let TPTB continue to control the process)

    4) 3rd parties are “spoilers” of the “lesser evils” chances, so even if you like them, stick with 2) “lesser evil” because 1)

    5) can’t vote for someone who hasn’t had elected office experience – who obviously won’t get any because of of !), 2), 3) etc.

    It always amazes me how such self defeating BS gets shoveled around every 2-4 years.

    Stoller obviously can’t bring himself to cut the umbilical cord with the Dems – rather like the atheist who rebels against God, not because he doesn’t really believe in Him/Her, but because he is pissed as hell with Him/Her.

    If he really is promoting the idea of an indy, he would have included Jill Stein, the Mass Green party candidate, whose positions on a multitude of progressive issues are much more formed and firmed than Anderson’s. (see

    If we are really serious about rebelling against the “duopoly” that is strangling our system, we would be discussing the relative merits of the alternatives and working like hell to give them the exposure and support the MSM won’t.

    The fact that we aren’t doing that indicates to me we don’t really value the vote – something that folks in other times and other places have fought and died for. If that is so, why bother elaborate on and discuss solutions for all our many problems as citizens when we refuse to sharpen and utilize what is potentially the most powerful tool we have to flesh out those solutions.

    The Ballot or the Bullet – We have proven all too ready to use the latter, it is time, past time, to really use the former. That is the one thing TPTB fear the most – that we will decide to take it up and use it for what we want and need. That is why they spend so much time and money to control our perceptions of the process – see !), 2), 3) etc. and it would appear from the tenor of the comments here that they have largely succeeded ….

  22. freedomny

    Personally, I like Huntsman – probably because he actually seems sane. I don’t know if a third party is viable because corporate money has so infected our political process and system. The only way it could become viable if the American People demand it. And that will only happen if they are engaged. I am still hopeful..and hoping that people do their own part in helping in this process. Maybe if all of us really think how we can help on an individual level we can affect the change that is needed. Change to get people off of their couches and off of their computers. Perhaps the answer is that all of us, in even a small way, need to connect and get engaged in a face to face, personal kind of way. I work long hours as many of us do. And I have deluded myself into thinking that making comments on blogs are going to change things. But it won’t.

    To save OUR COUNTRY, we all must become part-time, full-time…any time you have, activists for our future.

    Banker supporting OWS and ethical capitalism.

  23. Thomas McGovern

    If you’re talking about a possible third party, how can you ignore Ron Paul? He’s been opposed to the Fed, the big banks’ godfather, for a long time. He’s in favor of the policies of the Johnny-come-latelys and much more anti-crony-capitalism legislation. He’s also done well in the Republican debates. The fact that the mainstream-media has bad-mouthed him and largely ignored him otherwise shows what a threat he is to business as usual.

  24. John M

    It is important to consider the mass media influence regarding third parties. As I see it, there are only two situations where a single third party (out of hundreds, probably) can get sufficient attention in an election.

    Situation 1 (as in Election 1992): a multibillionaire decides to run, and can push himself into publicity.

    Situation 2 (as in Election 2000): the powers that control the mass media want one party to win, so they publicize a third party to attract away votes from the other party. Vice President Gore was outside the loop, so he had to lose. The media savaged him and publicized Ralph Nader’s candidacy.

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