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by Dan Aronson
What is it about today’s political landscape that keeps Americans from finding common ground? We all know the ‘sides’ are getting further apart and the language of politics more vitriolic every day.
We founded Party Recon to address this – to create a space in which real transpartisan civil discourse could prevail, This is so needed: today, many political gatekeepers and even citizens are encouraged to use a simple, one-dimensional continuum to map out and pinpoint people’s supposed political views, with “liberal” on the left of this continuum, and “conservative” on the right.
But given the many issues facing our country today, this model of ‘who we are’ is really not adequate for good policies or good debate. For example, many people who identify themselves as “fiscal conservatives” actually describe “liberal” social leanings. Their philosophy could be summarized as: “Keep the government out of my pocket, but keep it out of my bedroom as well.” If these citizens are ‘mapped out” only on the basis of one of these positions -- or simply placed them at the “center” of this continuum – that in no way accurately represent who they really are.
We need to change our model.
Realizing this, the Transpartisan Center added a second axis. It created a two-dimensional model in which party philosophies can be more accurately and subtly mapped. This model describes a multitude of positions, even within a specific party -- such as Progressive Democrats or Tea Party Republicans.
At the top this vertical axis is the category, “Order”. This represents strong government control. In contrast, the bottom of the vertical axis is labeled “Freedom”; this of course described the desire for severely limited government. When this vertical axis is mapped onto the traditiojnal Liberal-Conservative horixontal axis, this new map creates four, not two, distinct political quadrants.
The upper two quadrants tend to be populated with the traditional representations of the Democratic and Republican parties’ positions; each party seeks to achieve their means by legislating both economic and social mandates through strong centralized government.
But the lower quadrants of this new map now typify the views of a spectrum of Libertarians – those who wish for government, and especially for the Federal Government, to essentially leave them, and the rest of the world, alone.
However, in wishing for “freedom”, the many variants of Libertarians embrace both traditional “liberal” and traditional “conservative” values. For example, many are both pro-choice and pro-gun ownership, as they feel that the government should not dictate either kind of choice.
As such, these citizens would map, in our new model, to the lower middle section.
This section is also where you will find those citizens who wish for a small federal government with limited powers, and the remaining powers imparted to local governments, which, they feel, allows the local popultion much more control over the way that resources are distributed and used.
For example, The Green Party’s approach, which is often referred to by its critics as “Democratic Socialism,” envisions this kind of grass-roots democracy, in which the economy is run by local governments, and is heavily invested in green technologies. In this view, a local government could budget and conduct an urban renewal project at which people could just show up, be put to work, and go home that day with a paycheck.
This change in how we ‘map’ our people’s world views and wishes is sorely needed. Today, we have in the US two main parties, which have dominated the current political landscape and debate in a polarizing and simplistic way. But neither party, many feel, has produced satisfactory results. We believe that this fifty-year failure is a direct result of ultra-partisan thinking and policy-making -- that produces little but the mutual desire to obstruct any agenda other than the party’s own. This outcome stands in stark contrast to the intended aim of our representative democracy — which was set up to foster compromise for the good of all.
Add to this polarization the excessive influence of corporations, unions, special interests, and the mega-wealthy; this has not only manipulted the national conversation through think-tank and PR pressure, but now actually changes Congressional votes and laws -- through Super PACs, lobbyists, and junkets. Thus, those in power have used their abilities to rig the game, so that they can easily stay in or regain this power. They profit from it, whether serving in the minority or the majority. Then, upon retirement, they often field offers for patronage jobs -- offering their Washington connections and influence to the highest bidder.
Frustrated by the stagnation of partisan politics, some have rebelled and formed new parties. This is certainly a step in the right direction. But a concern is that each of these new parties has tended to splinter farther toward the extremes, thus creating an even larger chasm of ideals that threatens any hope of a viable moderate or centrist third choice.
What is needed is a real choice in the middle -- one where many people can find enough common ground to get things moving again.
One such choice to reinvigorate our country is the new third party: Party Recon. We, its transpartisan founders, believe, is our last, best hope for bringing about real change in our nation, and restoring the seat of power to its proper place – with the people.
To take action to support this new party, please go to partyrecon.org. Report back your impressions here on DailyCloudt.com, and I will also update you here with our progress.
Dan Aronson is founder of Party Recon (partyrecon.org). Aronson is passionate about finding common ground and fostering civil discourse.