A quick survey of the current political arena would suggest that the thought of a legitimate third party is ludicrous and becoming increasingly so with more and more money being pumped into our political veins. The addition of SuperPACs, in one of their many negative side effects, has reinforced America’s two party system more than ever before, definitively lessening the ability for others to diversify and challenge the norm. But while doing a bit of self-reflecting I decided to look at some of the not as discussed party options available. As my sister told me yesterday, in a bit of her infinite teenage girl wisdom about clothes, “one can never have too many options,” and in our political case there are only two. So let’s explore.
One thing that instantly shot out to me was the peculiar looking title of the Modern Whig Party. Now, for an American political history nerd like me, I simply had to check out what the modern day incarnation of Henry Clay’s party looked like. Boy was I surprised. Where as back in the day the Whig party served mostly as the Anti-Jacksonian party made up of an assortment of interesting American folk, this modern day incarnation was far more practical than I would have thought…and much more popular.
The Whig party whose symbol is the owl, as it was back when the party was in large use, represents a “wiser” choice in our political system inspired by the ideals of compromise (an icky word in DC now-a-days) that were once led by the “Great Compromiser” Henry Clay. It takes on a free market, strong national defense, and progressive social agenda. While this at first struck me as simply Libertarian having only just read their Wikipedia page, I went to their official site to gather more information and was pleasantly surprised. The largest and most important difference between this and the current popular political parties is its focus on independence, pragmatism, and centrism. Although they also use the term “common sense, ” anyone whose been in politics for more than 37 minutes will tell you that there are a billion different versions of “common sense” but I digress.
Now I’d hate to seem like I am advocating for a political party, but in my search for an independent and practical (which I thought did not exist) party not advocating a particular type of black and white ideology, I’m fairly satisfied by this reincarnation. Time magazine even listed it as one of America’s top 10 alternative political movements. Claiming some 30,000 official members, the party originally got its start from some disenchanted Iraq and Afghanistan veterans looking to effect real change, their slogan being “Service and Solutions.” Maybe it’s the history fanboy inside me glimpsing at the reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln’s original party, or maybe it’s the fact that their party platform uses the word “meritocratic” so many times that I finally believe someone means it. Either way I urge someone in the big wide world of politics to take their head out of their ass and pretend we live in a republic where the idea of a new political party doesn’t sound like saying you just saw Puff the Magic Dragon walking down Penn Ave. It could be the beginning of something new, and hey…..Abe did it.
For more info, here is “what they believe.”