Dividing my time each year between Maryland and NYS has given me a new perspective on retail politics and has strengthened my belief that the kind of change that is needed in NYS will not take place without the formation of a new third party to pressure the existing parties to move out of their walled-in fortified positions.
Start with the understanding that each election cycle thousands of voters stay home because they’re disgusted with the lack of choice between the major party candidates. That is not to say there aren’t significant differences between Dems and Reps. Of course, there are, but neither party is speaking to the frustrations of many voters–those when polled who say they want elected officials to do their job, those who have given up trying to understand and keep up with the issues, and those who have tried to make an impact by writing letters, demonstrating, etc. only to see their concerns swallowed up in the ineffable cacophony of the legislative process.
Many voters with the same views vote for the least offense candidate or vote the line of the party they’ve always voted for without feeling good about it.
In other words there are untapped thousands of voters who would respond to a party that offers a new approach and that speaks their language.
A key reason why NYS needs a third party is that many voters will not vote for a candidate from the other party. They’ve voted Democrat their entire lives and they’d rather have a root canal than vote Republican. But when you ask them where they stand on issues such as state spending, local mandates, taxation, etc., their positions do not correspond with the party they vote for.
Third parties are often accused of bringing about the defeat of the candidate they are closest to on the political spectrum and there are cases to back that up. Yet look at the long-term success of the Conservative Party in NYS. By holding Republicans feet to their ideological fire, they’ve had an influence beyond the size of their membership. Unfortunately, today the Conservative Party has degenerated into a patronage funnel for their top officials. They no longer care to reach out to dissatisfied voters in large part I believe because they know many of those voters would disagree with some of their positions and they’re unwilling to change. For that reason NYS needs a new third party.
The kind of third party that is needed is one that combines the anti-big government enthusiasm of the Tea Party without its populist naivete. The new party would represent middle class homeowners/tax payers, small and medium sized business owners, young professionals struggling to find secure careers, gun owners and all people who are concerned that the Democratic Party is throwing the U.S. Constitution out the window for handouts of inferior healthcare and free lunches.
Now all that’s needed are a core of people to step forward to show the way.