Some of the conditions and the solutions we are dealing with now have been dealt with before and we can learn from them. Third parties have made significant changes in our history. See Third Parties Have Long History of Shaping, Reshaping American Politics.
NPA founder Anthony Noel wrote this two part article for MyFDL in June 2011 and it is just as relevant today. Part One is on what Progressives Do. The case of the NDP Party in Canada is particularly interesting. (By the way, the Unified Platform he refers to has since been completed and can be found here.)
Part Two is equally important and concerns what progressives don't do. Aside from the "No third party candidate can win!" democrats also use these excuses extensively.
- Lesser of Two Evils (LOTE): At least we are not republicans.
- Half a Loaf of Bread: Getting something is better than getting nothing. This hides the fact that what the democrats frequently get is nothing disguised as a real improvement.
- Republicans are Worse: Just look at their rhetoric and ignore our actual results.
- False helplessness before minority republicans: Contrast with Bush Jr. who despite a democratic majority in both houses still did whatever the hell he wanted to.
- Progress not perfection: This is said to hide the lack of progress.
- This is the most important election ever! or This election is just too important!
- Elect democrats and then hold their feet to the fire.
Finally, Anthony Noel offers some 2015 insights.
When I first started working with Tony Noel as the New Progressive Alliance was being formed I had the impression that he was fabulously rich with an extensive staff. Certainly his attention to detail in the different organizational types available was beyond me and I practiced law many years ago. He frequently got input from people around the country and I envisioned him with a private jet that I might be able to get a ride in someday. In fact, he is a cabinet and boat maker on the outer shores of North Carolina with a reputation as a colorful writer for the local newspapers. The money he spent was saved from years of effort to help his beloved country. (In case it is not clear, his beloved country is the U.S.A.) It is interesting to hear him tell his background in his own words. To understand the full context of the below article see the complete writing in his four articles at “So You Want to Reform the Democrats from Within? Part Two”
Many democrats and organizations consistently play the role of the conscience of the Democratic Party while voting with or supporting Republican programs. They also vilify Republicans while giving democrats a pass for the same behavior. Between 2007 and 2009 the democrats had a majority the republicans had not had since 1923! And yet they claimed they were a helpless victim before the minority republicans. Contrast with Bush Jr. who despite a democratic majority in both houses still did whatever the hell he wanted to.
Election Reform is point eight of the Unified Platform. Gary Swing is a Colorado candidate who bravely ran for Congress twice as a Green Party member with the full support of the New Progressive Alliance. He ran as a Green Party candidate in 1996, 2010, 2012, and 2014. Though unfunded, Gary worked tirelessly against great odds to get out unpleasant truths both major parties ignored. Because Gary has been in the arena more than once fighting the good fight, I think his comments on election reform are very germane. Here he makes a persuasive case based upon his experience for a Party list system of proportional representation. In August 2015 he added comments on the electoral system and U.S. Senate and added still more in November 2015.
Reforming the democrats from within is an honorable intention. In fact, that is how the New Progressive Alliance started in 2010. See About NPA. Unfortunately we found just as the neocons co-opted conservatives, the Democratic Party and neolibs co-opted liberals. There is now no significant difference between the two major parties.
If you are still determined to reform the democrats from within and ignore their performance as documented by over 6,000 references in Part One, then here are some guidelines written by Anthony Noel back in October of 2010 on FireDogLake when the New Progressive Alliance was also trying to reform the democrats from within. See About NPA. Anthony Noel is a founder of the NPA and an award-winning writer, editor, and small-town journalist.
The New Progressive Alliance periodically makes Public Comments by itself or with other organizations to federal agencies and legislative bodies in the United States and Canada in support of the Unified Platform. They are reproduced here in full and also briefly mentioned with our other activities in the Annual Reports and under "News."
The New Progressive Alliance periodically makes Public Comments by itself or with other organizations to federal agencies and legislative bodies in the United States and Canada in support of the Unified Platform. These are the 16 comments we made in 2014. They are also mentioned in the Annual Reports.