Tag: party

Liberate the American Public By Voting Third Party

Francis Folz | United States

The 2016 Presidential election will be remembered in history as a watershed moment for the modern American republic. Despite over three quarters of Americans desiring third party candidates on the debate stage, the old guard of both establishment Republicans and Democrats alike shut out any voices outside of the red and blue camp. Partisanship was put in maximum overdrive and on display in the nation that prides itself on freedom, yet limits its choices for representation to two candidates. It is no surprise that voter turnout reached a 20 year low in the latest contest between the lesser of the two evils. But as a citizenry comprised of sovereign, astute people, when do we collectively abandon evil and start voting for only exemplary candidates deserving our vote? That time is now.

Regardless of political affiliation, it is apparent to the majority of Americans that our Republic is coming apart at the seams. Whether it’s the rise of violence against political opponents or blind support for dishonest politicians, both sides of the aisle are engaged in a heightened sense of devoted loyalty to their political overlords, even at the expense of violating long-held principles and dogmas. For Democrats, their political figures have incited violence to rally their base at the expense of civility and their previously-held beliefs in peace and love. Meanwhile, Republicans have encouraged conformity while a newly embraced and adored leader slowly and subtlety moves his base farther to the left. This how Americans continue to forfeit their freedoms while their political powers maintain control. 

This scenario is nothing new to the Democratic and Republican party, which have perfected the art of conning the American public into complaisant support for over a hundred years. After all, FDR and Wendell Willkie conspired to bring the two parties together to create one monolithic, hybrid party in the 1940’s. The two parties have been two different rails of the same track ever since.  It should be no surprise that the Republican and Democratic party continue to team up to create large deficits, initiate endless conflicts abroad, and undermine our constitution and civil liberties. 

The two parties possess a stranglehold over all of our election outcomes by successfully deceiving the public into thinking their candidates and parties are significantly distinguishable from one another. For example, the Republican party proclaims to be the cabal of the constitution, fiscal conservatism, ‘small’ government, gun rights, and life for the unborn. Yet since 2010, Republicans have trampled our Constitution and Bill of Rights, ballooned the federal deficit, grown the size of government, failed to pass concealed carry reciprocity and pro-life legislation.

The Democratic Party promulgates the narrative that they are the faction for the people, the workers, the 99 percent, civil liberties, and peace. Beginning in 2008, Democrats, led by newly- elected Barack Obama, passed legislation benefiting big banks, imploded the healthcare industry by rigging the rules in favor of corporations at the expense of taxpayers, curtailed our civil liberties by reauthorizing FISA 702, and pursued destructive warfare against seven different nations, three more than President Bush. 

If Americans ever intend to recover the freedoms lost at the hands of the establishment duopoly, it will require a third party, as is evident by this years’ midterms. Take the state of Pennsylvania as a case study. Despite 41% of Pennsylvanians approving of the work Bob Casey has done in his second term as senator and only a mere 30% of Pennsylvanians believing the senator deserves a third term, he leads his Republican opponent by double digits in every poll. Lou Barletta shares more in common with his Democratic adversary than Pennsylvania’s conservative Republican base, which begs the question why the Republican party would nominate such a lackluster candidate.

Enter Libertarian Party candidate for US Senate Dale Kerns, Pennsylvania’s only choice for fiscally conservative, socially laissez-faire representation. Mr. Kerns passionately advocates for a sharp reduction to federal spending which has grown exponentially at the hands of both Republicans and Democrats. Also, he plans to take on the Federal Reserve for their role in growing our debt and inflating our currency almost 100 percent in its 100 years of existence. 

The War on Drugs is yet another example of government overreach which has wreaked havoc on the American public. Over the last 40 years, the American prison population has exploded to 800% of its former size as a direct result of America’s toughness on victimless crimes. Coupled with mandatory minimums, more Americans are going to jail longer for misbehavior as deemed by society. To combat these victimless criminals, America has divulged into a police state. Dale recognizes these problems and the solutions necessary to fix them. After all, his campaign is centered around the premise that addiction is not a crime and that no one can run your life better than you. This serves as a stark contrast to Bob Casey and Bob Casey-Lite Lou.

At this point, most people interject and concede that although Dale Kerns may be the best candidate ideologically, he doesn’t stand a chance to win. It’s worth noting Donald Trump had a 1% chance of winning the presidency one day before the election, yet became the first Republican in almost 30 years to carry Pennsylvania on his way to the oval office. It is possible to elect any candidate despite all the preconceived odds stacked against the individual. However, people continue to choose the obsolete red and blue teams instead of principled alternatives. How come? 

The answer lies in an unfounded notion that the establishment parties have ingrained in the American public. We are routinely fed the lie that third party candidates can’t win an election for no other reason than they are running outside of the two party duopoly. That lie is reinforced by minuscule media coverage of outsider candidates and inhibiting them from participating in televised debates. And then whenever five or seven percent of people decide to vote their conscience or against this unjust system, third party candidates are disparaged and delegitimized as, despite the countless flaws and missteps of the establishment nominees. 

It is time for a second American revolution, only this struggle must be fought with dogmas and ideas, forged by a new political party. The old guards of American politics have enthroned themselves as our de-facto leaders, dictating everything from our economy to our health care to our behavior. Unfortunately, it’s abundantly evident that reform is impossible within our current, century-old two party system. It is time Americans embrace the freedom our Founding Fathers intended for us to enjoy, and it starts by embracing and electing third party candidates.


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Does the Two Party System Make Any Sense?

Nate Galt | United States

Many Americans of different backgrounds have been disillusioned by the current political system. There are only two major parties—the Democratic and Republican. All other parties have no means of competing with either and will not be able to break their congressional duopoly in the near future. A significant portion of American voters believes that there are fundamental differences between the two parties. Some view the Democrats as extreme leftists and the Republicans as ultra-capitalists. Others view Democrats as “left” while saying that Republicans are “right-leaning.”

The two parties do disagree on several key stances such as abortion rights and gun control. However, there is one common trend between all major parties’ and their elected officials’ stances: authoritarianism. Despite their mildly differing stances, Republicans and Democrats still agree on the very things that are ruining America’s economy, limiting freedom, and wasting taxpayer dollars. For almost two centuries, both parties have backed the United States’s intervention into foreign conflicts, revolutions, and affairs. Since the country’s founding, it has been at war almost 94 percent of the time that it has existed. Both sides have accepted the Monroe Doctrine as a justification for their involvement in scores of foreign conflicts, such as in the Philippines, the Russian Revolution, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and the Iranian Revolution. The US has also intervened in numerous Latin and South American wars.

Both sides almost unanimously backed the USA PATRIOT Act and unconstitutional spying by the National Security Agency. Several prominent figures in the Republican Party, namely President Donald J. Trump, have called for the criminalization of flag burning and for banning protests during the National Anthem. These figures claim to stand for “liberty,” yet wish to outlaw protest, contrary to the First Amendment. Those positions are not synonymous with supporting maximum personal freedom. Conservative Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito believed that police should have the right to search automobiles on private property without a warrant. According to some people, Justice Alito is a “constitutionalist.” A constitutionalist cannot support a clear and evident violation of your right against warrantless searches guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Many Republican voters believe that by voting for all the candidates with the letter “R” next to their name on the ballot, they are advancing personal freedom. They point to several Democrats’ anti-gun stances, saying that their positions are the reason that they vote Republican. The president who suggested that he “take the guns first and go through due process second” is not a Democrat. Wanting to strip citizens of their gun rights is approved by both parties.

The War on Drugs is still backed by both the Republicans and the Democrats. It has ruined hundreds of thousands of lives and has thrown many thousands more behind bars for decades-long sentences. The parties may seem to have their differences, but they are trivial. They all agree with policies that will line the pockets of the corrupt Washington elite and measures that will limit Americans’ personal freedom.

A party that supports gun control is not synonymous with liberty; neither is its rival party, which seeks to keep marijuana possession and use illegal and wants to prevent people from protesting a flag.

Neither party will advance individual freedom for the average American. The one thing that they will promote, however, is their own interest.


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Improve Your Life and Conquer Your Monday

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Many people fear their Mondays. They suffer the week just to live it up on the weekend, and then dread the return of the workweek once it arrives. Of course, not everyone has the same “Monday,” as it pertains to being the beginning of their working days. In either case, many people still fear the start of the week as reality and duties hit each of us, seemingly all at once, like a slap in the face.

It is time for you to help change that mentality and conquer your Mondays!

 

 

I, too, used to live the life of the humdrum, mundane, workweek with the fears that come with the return of Monday and all the responsibilities it accompanied. Instead of getting through Monday with gloom and depression, by just pounding cups of coffee and surfing the web when I got home, I decided to make some changes to reward myself for successfully making it through the day.

This began a shift in my understanding of Monday, as before I had always complained, both sincerely and half-jokingly, about it being the beginning of the workweek. Once I began rewarding myself on this day, I quickly saw the day as being different, unique, and now special.

By rewarding myself on this day, I don’t mean splurging, or doing anything that would completely harm my Tuesday morning. Rather, I sought enjoyable personal hobbies to partake in on Monday, which is something I thoroughly enjoy doing.

(NERD ALERT!) I first started going to a weekly chess club, playing in official tournaments. I was making friends, winning some tournaments, and improving my chess-playing abilities. After a few months, some friends told me about some free dance lessons that took place every Monday. So, I began oscillating between chess and dance for a few months, and eventually just attended dance so that I could start my own chess club on Thursdays instead. At dance, I made more friends, learned so much about the art and my own body movement, and the amazing people there helped me advance in my skill while we each honed our craft.

Unfortunately, I had to move in pursuit of higher education and accomplishing my other goals in life. Amazingly, once I moved, I found out there was a free comedy show near my new place that happened every Monday and without a drink minimum. I really enjoy watching stand-up comedy and people progress over time. I made several friends at the comedy show, just from attending, and I believe comedy is also great for the brain. Who knows, I may find other great activities on Mondays besides just comedy shows eating pizza and drinking beer, but I can honestly say that I now love Mondays and I look forward to every Monday.

This shift in thinking has led me to now be grateful for every day of the week, even the days that I do nothing but work, study, read, write, etc. It has helped me to realize that if I am willing to put in 8 hours for someone else, I should also put some time in for myself, and helping me to grow and expand my network. As cliché as it is, we do only live once; so, why should I let a day of the week and my responsibilities get in the way of my happiness and growth?!

Take control of your “Monday.” Find things to do in your area that are both fun and helpful in your growth as a person. Don’t let your life pass you by. Don’t let the arbitrary days of the week be the stresses that hurt you and stunt your development.

Some ideas:

  • Search meetup.com for groups to join in dance, chess, comedy, improv, public speaking, martial arts, book clubs, learning a language, cooking classes, etc.
  • Search your social media for events such as SoFar Music, or ask your friends and family if they also feel the same about their Mondays and see if you can do something together.
  • Check to see if ToastMasters is in your area to better public speaking.
  • Have a family day every Monday, playing board games and eating fun foods, or watching movies, etc.
  • Search if there are music or comedy shows every Monday in your area.
  • Try a new restaurant every Monday.
  • Try learning to cook a new dish every Monday.
  • Go on a date on Mondays.
  • Attend your religious institution every Monday.
  • Start your own club or meeting every Monday if you see there is a desire and a need.

What are some ideas you have for conquering your Mondays and looking forward to them every week? Leave your comments in the comment section below.


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The US is Ready to Accept a Moderate Party

By Owen Heimsoth | United States

Robert J. Healey did not look like your typical politician. He was an older looking man with long curly hair and the beard of a Viking.

In an interview after Healey’s unexpected death in 2016, a local restaurant owner described him like this: “He really looked like he rolled out of the ’60s, but he was sincerely one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met.”

After running twice for governor and four times for Lt. Governor in the state of Rhode Island, (once on the platform of abolishing the office, in which he won 39% of the vote under the Cool Moose Party) he decided to take another stab at the Governor’s Mansion. He would run under the newly founded Moderate Party, after the original candidate dropped out for health reasons. He threw thirty-five dollars and thirty-one cents of his personal money into his campaign and accepted no outside money. Healey said that he spent that money on a prepaid cell phone.

He did some grassroots campaigning to get his name out there in the state and won 21.4% of the votes.

Incredible.

His end-of-campaign thank you was extremely powerful and reflected on his impact on the gubernatorial race. The full text can be found here.

“As you know, we did not destroy that campaign, it imploded on itself. Our outstanding performance demonstrated that people were dissatisfied with the system. The real story is that there are just too many out there still willing to play the party politics game.

Together we shocked the system. We worked together toward a worthwhile goal and that should not be taken for granted, nor should it be minimized by political pundits. We all worked too hard to let this happen.”

He also threw around humor about fending off accusations of ruining the campaign of GOP candidate Allan Fung in the thank-you.

Healey is one of the only people running under a moderate party to run for such a high office, and he showed that the US is ready for a new moderate/centrist party to shake up politics.

A 2013 NBC poll shows that 51% of Americans who consider themselves political moderates. Many identify themselves as socially left-leaning and fiscally right-leaning. Robert J. Healey himself leaned in this way but focused more on economic reform in line with the Moderate Party platform.

The party is currently in the middle of a heated primary between Ken Block, the founder of the party who ran for Governor as a Republican in 2014, and Bill Gilbert who is the current Chair of the party and Bob Healey’s Lt. Governor candidate. They may not win, but the Rhode Island Gubernatorial race will certainly be one to watch this November. If they can pull a decent chunk of the vote without perennial candidate Healey on the ticket, they may legitimize themselves as the real deal in American politics.


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Dreams Of A Post-Partisan World

By Craig Axford | United States
I’ve been a Green Party candidate for the US House of Representatives and a Democratic National Committee organizer. In spite of my partisan past, or maybe because of it, these days I increasingly find myself thinking political parties have outlived their usefulness, and instead hoping we can find a path to a post-partisan politics that focuses more on ideas and less on group identity.
Political parties offer a number of services to candidates that make them appealing. They function a bit like insurance companies, only instead of paying out in the event of a disaster they distribute resources when candidates receive their nomination. Contrary to the public’s perception of party organizations, these benefits don’t just come in the form of money. In fact most candidates receive little to no direct financial assistance from their party. The aid usually comes instead in the form of data, volunteers, trained organizers, and the chance to leverage long established networks.

However, first and foremost a party is a tribe that candidates can count on. This benefit has become even more salient as society has polarized and hostility toward partisans identifying with the opposition has hardened into a norm. A candidate can now expect an even higher level of support than they used to just for receiving their party’s nomination. As Roy Moore’s US Senate bid demonstrated, in a state that heavily favors your party from the start it takes an awful lot of scandal to yank defeat from the jaws of victory.

Donald Trump also recognized the power of tribal loyalty when he stated that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone without jeopardizing the support of his voters. That he paid no political price for this public insult regarding his supporters’ apparently low moral standards only served to prove his point. Trump intuitively understood that those rallying behind him had coalesced into an army of committed warriors that had already put their personal reputations on the line by supporting him. For these voters there was no turning back.

This phenomena is hardly exclusive to Republicans. Research shows that members of both political parties are likely to be wearing blinders, or at least pretend to have blinders on, when it comes to expressing approval for their particular team and denigrating the other side. The difference between the two groups isn’t that one is biased and the other isn’t. The difference lies in what they are likely to be biased about.

In a 2013 paper entitled Partisan Bias in Factual Beliefs about Politicsresearchers found that when Democrats were asked whether inflation and unemployment had risen under Reagan and Republicans were asked whether deficits had risen under Clinton, both sides gave the wrong answer by overwhelming margins. The answer is no in both cases.

However, when partisans were asked questions that provided an opportunity to portray the opposing party in a negative light but were given a financial incentive if they gave the correct answer, “The payments reduced observed partisan gaps by about 55%.” In other words, the vast majority of respondents know the right answer. When the incentive is expanded to also include a reward for a respondent if they admit they don’t know the right answer, the partisan gap was “80% smaller than those that we observed in the absence of incentives.”

The researchers concluded the problem here isn’t that Democrats and Republicans are ignorant of the truth. What they’re doing when they give pollsters the wrong answer is taking the opportunity to cheer for their team either by exaggerating their party’s success or minimizing/denying the accomplishments of the opposition. In other words, partisans are little more than cheerleaders who are willing to wave distracting pompoms and do intellectual flips no matter what the scoreboard says. Anyone who has had to listen to a Trump voter explain away his lies and misogyny as “authenticity” or endure a diehard Hillary supporter insist in spite of all evidence to the contrary that she really ran a good campaign knows what I’m talking about.

As Steven Pinker puts it in his most recent book, Enlightenment Now, “Reason tells us that political deliberation would be most fruitful if it treated governance more like scientific experimentation and less like an extreme-sports competition.” Pinker goes on to ask if we can “imagine a day in which the most famous columnists and talking heads have no predictable political orientation but try to work out defensible conclusions on an issue-by-issue basis?” I can imagine it, but is such a dream realistic?

No country has so far avoided the “extreme sports competition” of party politics without resorting to authoritarian rule to do it. Perhaps in some cases elections are more like gentile games of cricket and less like professional wrestling. In those instances the discourse is definitely more civil, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into more reason. The same biases probably just tend to get expressed more politely.

Perhaps it isn’t important. The psychologist Paul Bloom doesn’t seem to think it is. In Against Empathy: The Case For Rational Compassion, Bloom contends that “Political views share [another] interesting property with views about sports teams — they don’t really matter.” What Bloom is arguing is that “they don’t really matter” at the individual level. “This is certainly true as well for my views about the flat tax, global warming, and evolution,” Bloom explains. “They don’t have to be grounded in truth, because the truth value doesn’t have any effect on my daily life.”

Bloom is right. At least he is up to a point. What one person, or maybe even a few dozen or a few hundred people think about these issues doesn’t really matter. But at some point enough people thinking the same thing, or just acting as though they think it because certain ideas are what fans of their political team are supposed to cheer for, does begin to have an impact. If the outcome of all this cheerleading means putting one person in the White House or a significant number of people into the House and Senate that vote accordingly, even Bloom would have to agree that’s significant. Whether we do or don’t think global warming is a Chinese hoax doesn’t really matter in our daily life. But what the person occupying the Oval Office thinks on the subject can change the course of history.

That said, Paul Bloom’s argument does force us to confront the relevancy of political parties head on. If political views held by the average voter don’t matter any more than sports teams do in a person’s daily life, and voters tend to treat political parties like a favorite sports team, what’s the point of political parties? If we don’t want our politics to be like an “extreme sports competition,” wouldn’t getting rid of the teams be the first step? Our political views wouldn’t matter anymore or less than they do now, but at least we wouldn’t feel compelled to lie to pollsters or vote against our own interests just to win. Encouraging a more rational approach to politics seems more likely to have a positive cumulative impact than mindless acclaim for our side and disparagement of the other.

Our right to freely associate with the individuals and institutions of our choice takes precedence over any benefits that may come society’s way in an idealized post-partisan world. I would be the first to call a constitutional foul on the state if it banned political parties.

However, as individuals we can make a more conscious effort to give all candidates appearing on our local ballot more scrutiny instead of simply going with the one with a D or R after their name, or a G or an L for that matter. The media can also do a far better job of including all the candidates in their coverage so voters know what the people running to represent them are thinking. While the focus on the top two candidates is understandable, the notion that there’s a duopoly on ideas is patently absurd. A minimum of one live prime time debate between all the candidates, or at least all those not polling above 10% or so, should be a condition of any license given out for use of our public airwaves.

Politics shouldn’t be just another game. Ideas really do matter and America desperately needs to begin thinking seriously about them again. For that to happen we’ll each need to stop being fans eager to show off our clever protest signs and funny memes mocking the other side. We’ll need to become citizens.

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on Medium.com

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