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A Not-So-Simple Twist of Fate: Could Hillary Bequeath Us Our Long-Awaited Third Party?

By       Message David Michael Green     Permalink
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The idea of a third party alternative has long been a dream of progressives in America. It has also too often been a fantasy and a distracting albatross. Particularly since the Bill Clinton era of centrist sell-out – but really going back to the Reagan period of Democratic cowardice, the McGovern campaign of entrenched Party power acting shamelessly toward their nominee, and certainly the Johnson debacle in Vietnam – progressives have been looking to ditch the shell of the former New Deal now doing business as the corroded (and corrosive) Democratic Party.

Unfortunately – really, very unfortunately – it’s an almost impossible trick to pull off given the structure of the American political system, and I have joined [click here lots of other smarter people counseling against the effort, suggesting an attempt at hijacking the Democratic Party instead. Not for nothing was the last new major party born in America 150 years ago. It’s not an accident that for about three-fourths of the country’s history it’s been Republicans or Democrats. Period.

Oddly enough, however, this is probably the year when the country could come closest in a long time to seeing the birth of a genuine third party. Theoretically, at least – if the right sequence of events transpired. It’s probably a long-shot, and not my personal preference for the short-term, but it is feasible, it’s probably the only way to imagine overcoming the considerable institutional barriers to creating a third party in America, and doing so would be just the shot of adrenalin this decrepit old political system needs. Moreover, there are – believe it or not – still some folks out there who don’t yet get the damage done by conservatism in America. Another four years of the same may be just the tonic to finally seal that deal forever.

So, let me see here. We’d have a destroyed Republican Party, a destroyed Democratic Party, and a new progressive, "Fired-Up!" party rising out of their ashes. We could do a lot worse than that. And we could thank Hillary Clinton for it all, if it happens.

Sometimes a silver-lining can turn into a whole pot of gold.

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David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.  He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (dmg@regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. His website is (more...)

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