OPINION: We Don't Need Another Political Party
In the wake of Bernie Sanders’ loss of the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, the Left has cried out, as it has in the past, for the creation of a third party. There is some merit to this idea, given that repeated attempts to fashion the Democratic Party into a force for progressive change have failed and likely always will. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
The Left has been fooled many more times than once, most recently by the faux progressivism of Barack Obama.
Now, however, is not the time to pollute the electoral waters with another source of partisan divisiveness in the form of a political party. In fact, to create a new party of any kind at this historical moment, regardless of its ideology, would be an oblivious affront to the tenor of the times and a step backwards.
All across the US, the general trend has been away from narrow partisanship and toward reduced polarization. This is demonstrated, in part, by the 44% of registered voters who refuse to align themselves with any political party, be it liberal, conservative or something in between. This far outstrips the number of people registered to either of the two major parties.
In addition, recent electoral reform measures like open primaries and top-four ranked choice voting, force candidates to address a broader base of voters than just those of one party. Add to these reforms citizen commissions that take control of redistricting out of the hands of partisan politicians, and you see that what is on the rise in America is a grass-roots movement toward less partisanship and polarization, not more.
Politicians and activists on the Left and elsewhere would do well to adapt to rather than buck these broad political trends. In fact, rather than introduce another turd into the partisan mire, the Left should join in efforts to empower voters at the expense of political parties. It would be the progressive thing to do.
The time to win elections based on ideological purity is on the wane, and that is a good thing for our democracy, no matter what your politics.