By Dave Lindorff
A new Gallup Poll conducted for USA Today earlier this week reports that a majority of Americans (52%) say that they would prefer a third party instead of the two parties, Republican and Democrat, that have dominated American politics for nearly centuries.
The poll shows that one third of Democrats say there's a need for a new political party, while 52% of Republicans say the same thing. Meanwhile, 68% of independents say they have no use for either Democrats or Republicans and would prefer another option (no surprise there--that's why they are not registered with either of the two major parties).
Of course, the Third Party envisioned by these various groups is hardly the same. Most of the dissatisfied Democrats are almost certainly in the party's left wing, and are people who would prefer a more left-leaning, socialist party. Most of the reluctant Republicans are probably either libertarians who can't stomach the Republican Party's corporatist stance and its fondness for police state tactics and invasion of personal freedoms, or else they are the rabid right that prefers the kooky conspiracy-driven politics of the Becks, Limbaughs, Bachmans and Palins. As for the independents, there are certainly leftists, rightists, isolationists, globalists, libertarians and kooks among them enough to populate ten new parties.
That's one reason why we still have just two parties winning all the elections. Some of these dissatisfied citizens just hold their noses and vote for the party that is less likely to make them projectile vomit in the voting booth. Others, unable to vote for either major party's candidates without soiling the equipment, just don't vote. And then there are a few stalwarts who insist on doing their civic duty, march in and vote for the Constitution Party or the Libertarians or the Greens or the Socialist Workers, or they write in Mickey Mouse. The rest just don't vote, which is why the US has one of the lowest participation rates in elections of nearly any of the world's nominal democracies.
It's possible that this latest poll could be signaling some kind of tectonic political event ahead. Perhaps the incongruous collection of Republicans, the Chamber of Commerce crowd and the bible thumpers, racists, misogynists and neo-fascists who populate the Republican voter rolls will finally turn on each other and split into two or three smaller units.
But what about the Democrats? What will it take for the 33% of party stalwarts who think the party is the pits to give up hope of reforming it and pulling it to the left? What will it take for the working class that has for generations given its votes to the party's smarmy candidates, hoping against hope for the best, to finally walk away from the stinking corpse that is the Democratic Party and form the base of an American Labor Party?
Maybe a closer look at who's really buying the Democratic Party and its candidates would do the trick...