Keeping the ‘Un’ in ‘Unparty’

A comment by GS Gantt deserves a prominent reply, so I’m making a separate post of it. He wrote, in part:

Your "UNPARTY" idea has merit in that it would be in opposition to
the Democrats and Republicans, such opposition being desperately
needed. But I’m sure you know full well how terribly difficult and
expensive it would be to actually create a "third party". Besides, the
Dems/Repubs would fight this vehemently and they would probably win.
Incumbency plus money equals POWER!, and they’ve got all three.

If you’re serious (and I don’t think you are), why not pursue the
only option that has a chance of unseating the career politicians? This
would be the WRITE-IN campaign vote. Such an option would require
nowhere near the money or politics it would take to actually create a
real third party.

Mr. Gantt, I’m not sure what you mean by "serious." I’m as serious as a crutch about the need for alternatives to the current situation. My job is to throw out the ideas — and have fun doing so when I can — and hope some of them will take root and lead to action.

I’d love to see somebody run for office on the Unparty ticket. It would be really interesting to see how the public reacts. Personally, I’m hopeful, given the statistics in a recent David Brooks column. He wrote that a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that only 24 percent of Americans see the Republicans as representing their priorities, and only 26 percent see Democrats that way.

That leaves 50 percent for us to work with. None of that stuff about money and organization worries me — let the actual political parties worry about that. This is about the power of an idea, which can be like a mustard seed.

And the idea is that parties don’t matter. People matter. Ideas matter. The good of the country, and of the whole world, matter. Doing the right, smart, practical thing for the greater good matters. But parties, and ridiculously abused terms such as "liberal" and "conservative," do not.

It doesn’t matter whether a new party comes into being, as long as the grip of the other two is loosened, and people see beyond the limits of partisanship. Then the smart ideas — rather than the politically correct dogmas of right or left — will come to the fore, people who advocate them will be elected, and the country and the world will be better off.

How’s that for an Unparty manifesto? Or the beginning of one, anyway…

12 thoughts on “Keeping the ‘Un’ in ‘Unparty’

  1. Paul DeMarco

    Although the idea of a new party is intriguing, I share some of GS’s skepticism.
    Who’s going to run as a candidate (write-in or otherwise) on the ticket of a party about which no one knows?
    We either need to recuit a big name (unlikely) or develop the party from the ground up. That would mean organizing a convention to develop bylaws and a platform. Once we had a structure, much of the party building could be done via the Internet.
    I’m going to call your bluff. I think The State should call the first convention of the Unparty. I know there would be objections about maintaining objectivity but many papers are already identified with one party or the other.
    The party needs an organization that can help it take flight. If the party catches on, The State can quickly step away.
    You mention in another post that you think “objectivity” as it is currently practiced by the media is overrated and often distorts the truth.
    Here’s your chance to not only write about truth but actually inject truth into our overly partisan political system.
    I’ll be the first to sign up if you’re serious. But there is no way any of us can start a party by ourselves (and still make a living). The State would have to provide the initial support and generate enthusiasm for the fledgling party. If enough people rallied to the cause then the party could make headway on its own steam.
    Are you game?

  2. Phillip

    I’ve always been prone to favor more political parties on the scene and perhaps now is as good a time as any to create a new one. Goodness knows it’s not as if the Democratic and Republican party have been around in that form since the beginning of the republic…other political parties have come and gone so this may one of those moments in history when our political party system is in need of being shaken up.
    On a purely personal note, it is a source of great pride with me that, as a nineteen-year-old in 1980, the very first vote I cast in a Presidential election was neither for Carter nor Reagan, but for John Anderson. Yep, I was among the 7 percent.

  3. Steve Aiken

    I’m in favor of an “Unparty”. The Republicans have been too corrupted by their monopoly of power in Washington and by their alliance with big business-cum-religious conservatives. The Democrats are not a serious alternative (Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean are not credible national spokesmen). But the “Unparty” would need credible alternatives on both the state and national levels. For the short term, the only tactic that will get noticed is if enough people automatically vote against incumbents to start some turnvover in elected posts. That might get leaders of potential alternatives interested in doing something.

  4. Mark Whittington

    If you want to understand Brad’s ideology and why he wants to eliminate the two major parties in favor of a supposed “centrist” one party state, then please read the following critique of Thomas Friedman’s (Brad’s hero) recent book by Jeff Faux of the Economic Policy Institute. Social conservatives and liberal populists beware. It seems strange to me that Brad, who claims to be a classic liberal, is willing to rid us of both political parties that are rooted in Classic Liberalism. Brad wants an oligarchy of moneyed-interests to have total control of the government. Brad hates political parties and their dissenting views because they get in the way of his Corporate State, pro Globalization agenda. Elimination of dissenting political parties is the first step toward a totalitarian government-be it communism, fascism, or plutocracy. Missing in the following quote of Jeff Faux are the terms “neo-liberal” and “neo-conservative”, but it is still worth absorbing:

    “But the reader senses that Friedman suspects that most Americans will not make it. That’s why he hedges his bets by suggesting a realignment of American political parties, with the business wing of the Republican Party and the affluent East Coast and Hollywood social liberals joining together to resist the “populist” demands of increasingly disgruntled working people in both blue states and red.”

    Click here for the entire text.

    Granted, the major political parties are doing a bad job of running the country, but the solution is not a one party state. The solution is to convert from a winner take all system to a proportional representation form of governance among multiple, equitably funded political parties. Currently, both major parties are funded by big money so it is nearly impossible for legitimate reformers to have an impact. In addition, the congressional districts are gerrymandered, and they need to be redrawn at random (with modern computer software, today this would be easy to do).

  5. David

    you get it wrong too much of the time to be taken seriously – regardless of your big words and web links all over the place.
    Never read where Brad wants or has proposed a one party state.
    He wants an “unparty” to be an legit and powerful alternative to the two party system in place now that isn’t going anywhere.

  6. GS Gantt

    An excellent response and I now accept that you are serious about what you write. I’ll sit back and read and see what transpires. There seem to be many responders who might like to challenge the status quo. It will take time and money, but maybe not as much money as one would think. The key is organization and that is nothing but the “grass roots” doing the work. An actual political party with by-laws, etc., is not the answer. It would eventually degenerate into exactly what the current parties are.
    WRITE-IN candidates are a different matter. They simply take getting the word out to your neighbors and friends to vote for the “unparty candidates”. Remember Strom (there’s that name again) in the fifties?
    Such a movement can’t start on the national level, it has to be local. So, I suggest Mr. Warthen or Paul DeMarco as candidates for something, maybe state representative or senator (and term limited). No “big names” of current politicians, the rich or celebrities.
    “Serious as a crutch”. I like that.

  7. Lee

    The unParty would have no platform, because they don’t want to change anything. That saves the member from having to think about the issues, much less come up with solutions.

  8. Dave

    Here is a link to the platform of the last Unparty that is now pretty much defunct. When you click on the SC branch of the party, a person is listed but it is in reorganization mode. Hundreds of millions of dollars were pumped into this futile party effort and what did it truly accomplish. Hint – 8 years of Billy Bob Jeff Clinton. That was its only accomplishment.

    In reality, if Brad’s unparty were truly launched on a national level, the result would be to ensure that we would get our 8 years of Kerry, Mrs. Billy Bob Jeff Clinton, or yikes, maybe even the Algore.

  9. bill

    Brad has single-handedly rendered the term “unpartisan” as meaningless as “liberal” and “conservative”,but maybe that’s his objective.This “Unparty” idea is, at best a bad joke and at worst a distraction from the real news that the Bush Administration and the Republican Party are taking this country straight to hell.

  10. Lee

    It is only natural for journalists, who claim to be objective and non-partisan, to also fantasize about belonging to a political group with no ideas of its own, just sitting and waiting to choose a position between those with ideas.

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