A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Friday, May 06, 2005

Of third parties and stuff

Interesting ramblings from a variety of folks over my "lets subvert the current political power structure" post. Howard Stern, Obama, Feingold (don't worry Troy, barring something fairly catastrophic, Russ IS running-- whether he has more than a snowball's chance in hell of getting the nomination remains unlikely, imo) and McCain have all been mentioned. I talked about this with a few others last night, and we came to many of the same conclusions Troy, TC, and Rod have arrived at:

There are six million hurdles to this thing, and I'm just pie-in-the-skying here, but one of the biggest will be finding someone that A) will appeal to enough people and B) will be seen as credible enough for folks to actually vote for. Personally, I think Obama, McCain, Rice and Feingold are out-- they are too invested in the current structure (with at least two of them, and maybe three or all four) having presidential aspirations thorugh the normal channels either in '08 or '12. I'm also more and more of the opinion that anybody that actually wants to be President is automatically a poor choice to fill the position.

Our candidate needs to be an outsider, yet have the political chops to get some respect from the get go, and then, hopefully, earn more over time. Tricky. Here's a short list to mull over (and, yes, I'm half serious about this-- maybe more than half serious. Politics as usual ain't gettin' it done boys and girls, and this funky new medium known as digital communication CAN be the great equalizer. Grass roots only works as well as the communiation apparatus-- but the internet, IM, email, cell phones all make communication with people all over the country easy and affordable as in no other time in history.):

That's all I can think of right now, but there are certainly others. Bear in mind-- we will not find someone that appeals universally to everyone. Not possible, as the various discussions here clearly illustrate. We can find someone who everyone (well, maybe not Greg, but that's okay) feels is better than the hacks and halfwits we've been electing to political power. I think if we could take Kelsey Grammar's charisma and blend it with Paul Tagliabue's skills we'd have our guy, but barring a tremendous breakthrough in cloning or stem cell transplants, something close to that will have to be the goal.

This is America folks. We're not a democracy, but we are a republic, and we should have a larger, more influential voice in who we think should be running our country. Was it over when the Nazis bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!!

So, get those creative little brains chewing on this thing, and let's see what we can come up with. At worst, it'll be an interesting and, hopefully, entertaining thought experiment. At best, who knows, maybe we get enough people interested to start something. Maybe something big. Doesn't hurt to try.


I really think that the hardest part of this would involve finding a candidate with name recognition who would be viable across the board.

Most celebrities who have chimed in with their views on politics have generally alienated either most liberals/Democrats or most conservatives/Republicans. Because of this, I think that name recognition as a means to drawing attention (and, thus, national focus on the candidate's proposals on the issues) would be shot due to the impression that the celebrity candidate would be a spoiler.

Most politicians have a similar problem in that they have already picked a political side of some sort. As Nick has mentioned in this post, they are probably too invested in the current two party model. Pulling a current politician will bring their past party affiliation and voting record into the debate, which would provide a means for their previous primary opposition to rally against and to show that they are either "further left/right" or "just Democrat/Republican light." Unless the politician has been lower than state level politics, they could be in for a lot of harassment based upon previous experience.

Hypothetically, however, let's say that we have a candidate that neither the left nor the right of the electorate would hate immediately out of the gate. We'll call him "Skippy."

The first step would be to honestly define the issues of today and Skippy's positions on and/or solutions to them. While this is a great bullet point, it would probably be the most drawn out aspect outside of finding Skippy himself. In fact, this may need to be done before finding Skippy so that we know that Skippy will fit the bill. Overall, for argument's sake, Skippy is fiscally moderate/conservative and socially moderate/liberal.

Next, an internet presence would be essential. It would need to provide visitors with a means to see details and facts on various issues, to explain Skippy's positions on and/or solutions for those issues, to contribute to Skippy's organization (as a volunteer, monetarily, etc.), and to be kept informed of general or specific changes via email updates if requested. Dynamic would be the buzz-word for the website, and it would need to be in place and functional before proceeding.

After that, one would really need to develop an innovative campaign that would be able to catch the attention of the media in order to spur national interest in Skippy, but also be able to provide the general public the opportunity to check out SkippyForChange.com for more in-depth information on the issues and proposed solutions without political hyperbole. I think that the best way to achieve that would be to utilize media outlets outside of the MSM to promote awareness of the political alternatives offered. For example, Skippy could focus on getting covered by MTV, the Outdoor Channel, etc. for issues that would be of greatest impact to their given demographic. Once people start finding out about Skippy, the MSM will find out about Skippy.

This is where voter interaction comes in. Take a page from the Jesse Ventura campaign and look to new voters and those fed up with the current system. They are the ones who need to be energized and become Skippy's base. Register new voters so that they can poll as likely and registered voters. Register the disgruntleds that need to do so for the same reason. If Skippy can break 10% nationally, everyone will take notice. Once everyone takes notice, stragglers from each side of the political spectrum will be more likely to fall off to the Skippy camp.

At this point it becomes imperative that Skippy be a straight talker and a thorn in the side for both the Democrats and Republicans. He cannot be perceived as a spoiler for either, but rather as a champion for all who isn't saddled with the baggage of either the left or the right. If both the Ds and Rs need to attack him, then Skippy will be safe. That doesn't mean that he will win, but he should at least poll well.

The final point should be that, even if Skippy doesn't win the election, if he has done well and drawn some of the base away from both parties, then it is a success. You could have Skippy start pushing for true majority elections with tiered or runoff ballots .

I'm not sure if this would work, but it's a concept.

I'm fiscally conservative and socially liberal!!!

All of you are welcome to jump on the bandwagon, start developing name recognition, and most importantly, fundraising.
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