The Radical Center

In his recent New York Times column, titled Third Party Rising Thomas Friedman says:
"There is a revolution brewing in the country, and it is not just on the right wing but in the radical center."
I like the idea of a radical center and think that the idea of a third party rising like a Phoenix from our current day political ashes could resonate with many like me who have left the extremes of political radicalism and are seeking something else. Here are a few clips from Friedman's Column:
I continue to be astounded by the level of disgust with Washington, D.C., and our two-party system — so much so that I am ready to hazard a prediction: Barring a transformation of the Democratic and Republican Parties, there is going to be a serious third party candidate in 2012, with a serious political movement behind him or her — one definitely big enough to impact the election’s outcome.

There is a revolution brewing in the country, and it is not just on the right wing but in the radical center. I know of at least two serious groups, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, developing “third parties” to challenge our stagnating two-party duopoly that has been presiding over our nation’s steady incremental decline.
The best our current two parties can produce today — in the wake of the worst existential crisis in our economy and environment in a century — is suboptimal, even when one party had a huge majority. Suboptimal is O.K. for ordinary times, but these are not ordinary times. We need to stop waiting for Superman and start building a superconsensus to do the superhard stuff we must do now. Pretty good is not even close to good enough today.
We have to rip open this two-party duopoly and have it challenged by a serious third party that will talk about education reform, without worrying about offending unions; financial reform, without worrying about losing donations from Wall Street; corporate tax reductions to stimulate jobs, without worrying about offending the far left; energy and climate reform, without worrying about offending the far right and coal-state Democrats; and proper health care reform, without worrying about offending insurers and drug companies.
I agree with Friedman and especially agree with his final thought:
We need a third party on the stage of the next presidential debate to look Americans in the eye and say: “These two parties are lying to you. They can’t tell you the truth because they are each trapped in decades of special interests.
I think that the idea of a third party rising and its candidate winning the presidential vote is a long-shot for sure. Yet I do dream of a nation not ruled by special interests and able to deal with the financial issues pressing us all about. Maybe a dream is all that we need?

How about you? Would you seriously consider a third party presidential candidate?


  1. When I began to read this post I had a vision of someone calmly sitting while someone from the extreme left and the extreme right argued using the same obfuscation, hyperbole and downright lies they usually do when all of a sudden the calm person stands up and says "WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT UP!!!!!" ;-)

  2. I've voted third party since I began voting in 1991. I knew my candidates wouldn't win, and I usually wasn't sure I wanted them to, but I wanted a third party to continue to stay in the mix. Slowly, they are on the rise. Sadly, there is still no party that represents even half of the same values I have. Still, it's nice not to have only two completely polarized parties that seem to choose a stance simply because it's the opposite of the other's.

  3. @Mike - I can relate to hearing obfuscation, hyperbole and downright lies.

    @Missy - I ran into a guy last week that ran in an election about 20 years ago in a GOP primary. He was a conservative candidate but not quite conservative enough for some who voted for an ultra-conservative candidate who did not have a chance of winning. Consequently the ultra leaked off enough votes to cause the conservative guy to lose the primary. Guess that is my fear of a third party candidate in the style of Ross Perot.. someone who would simply help a liberal to get elected. But if a candidate really represents something different that appeals to people on "both" sides of the aisle - now that could really be a good thing.

  4. "Would you seriously consider a third party presidential candidate?"

    In a heartbeat.


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