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Saturday, August 10, 2002
Ken Layne, whose book I am reading two months later than everyone else in the blogiverse, comments on his own Gore is a loser post:

Please, God, give us a viable candidate in 2004. As it stands, we could be in a major depression and Bush & Cheney could be in jail, and Gore would still lose.

Gore fits right in ... with the pathetic losers the Democrats have nominated my whole voting life (with the exception of Clinton, who I both loathe and sorta like). Mondale, Dukakis, Gore ... when will it end?

As for that prissy jackhole Vinegar Joe Lieberman, I'd rather vote for a snakehead fish.

Unsolicted Poli Sci 101 combined with advice for disaffected Democrats from someone who will probably never be a Democrat:

Your party has been captured by a coalition of single issue interest groups, none of which appeals broadly to the middle class. I am talking about the teachers unions, NARAL, etc. Republicans have their own special interests to contend with, of course, but on a national level, at least, the Republicans seem to be better at restraining their single interest groups in favor of a wider agenda than the Democrats.

There are only two solutions: Recapture the party using more broadly based groups or leave the party to form your own.

You can't succeed doing both simultaneously, and whichever option you choose, you won't succeed if you only do it halfway.

Political opinion is spread along a spectrum and the voting population is distributed along that spectrum in a bell curve. Winning elections involves moving to the center of the spectrum or moving the center towards your position. Democrats have been spectacularly unsuccessful at moving the center towards themselves on the issues of concern to the individual special interest groups now largely in control of the party. The only other option is to move the party towards the center.

That means taking the party back from the Democratic brand of special interests now entrenched in the party. Doing so would probably yield faster and more certain results (in terms of federal and state legislative seats, gubernatorial wins, better Presidential candidates and maybe even actual Presidents). But it will necessarily involve adopting a political philosophy other than racial (and most, if not all, other) preferences, demonizing businessmen and claiming that "We fight for the little guy" while cozying up to your own Hollywood and other bigwigs and attempting to strip the middle class of a large(r) portion of its wealth. [Note to readers and critics of CognoCentric (may you both be many): The foregoing characterizations are just that: characterizations. Democrats would not describe their positions in that manner, but I believe the characterizations to be accurate, even if they are simplified and somewhat insulting.]

Changing those messages will involving seriously pissing off a number of the existing power centers within the party. Yes, you will lose Al Sharpton's support, for example. But in doing so, you will gain far more support from moderates disgusted by Sharpton than you lose. That's what Clinton did. (Remember Sistah Soldier?) Besides, where else is Sharpton going to go? He can either sit out the election and risk a Republican victory or support the Republicans and ensure that victory. The first option will, at best, result in thoroughly alienating the other power centers within the Democratic party which now maintain friendly relations with Sharpton, and the second (which is little more than a theoretical possibility in any event) will do that to an even greater degree. Neither option results in any political benefit to Sharpton. Formation of an effective new party by Sharpton is not a likely outcome, for the reasons discussed below. You can safely and profitably start to diss Sharpton.

Bolting from the party to form a new one is far difficult in this country than it is elsewhere. Of the eight presidential elections in which I have voted, there have been three in which a serious third party candidate ran: Anderson, Perot and Nader. Despite the expenditure of millions of dollars, none got more than a few percentage points of the popular vote. I am not sure, but I don't think any of those candidates won any electoral votes, either. The only effect they had was to throw the election to whichever of the two other principal candidates was farthest away from the third party candidate on the political spectrum.

It requires a great deal of both persistence and money to form a new political party. Forming a new party will, in the short term, result in little benefit to the party members while also causing a great deal of damage to the old party. Because of the near term damage which would be done to their former party, not many Democrats (or Republicans, for that matter) are generally willing to desert their party in favor of creating a new one, preferring to try to influence the existing party.

Since only a centrist party can win elections in the US, no new party with any chance of winning can be formed by a group for which a single issue such as abortion or the environment is so important as to override all other concerns, or even a coalition of such groups. Those groups won't join the new party without a commitment by the party to adopt the appropriate position on THE issue. That, in turn, will result in the new party being effectively branded as extremist on that issue. The people needed to form a new centrist party are the same ones who, in terms of sheer numbers, should be capable of retaking the old party from the special interests in the first place.

So, all in all, I'd say take the damn party back from the Sharptons of the world. If that doesn't work, you can always try to form a new party later, but stay away from Sharpton, Nader and their ilk.
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