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How It Can Work

A Summary

The Problem &
The Solution

The Principle of Minority Power

The Last
Successful
Third Party

Coalitions of Constituencies

Good Governance

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We Need a Third Party Think Tank…
Coalitions of Constituencies

How to Build a New Party

In Brief: A viable new party will identify groups that aren't well served by existing parties, and will build coalitions between them.
Click to read about Good Governance

Democratic & Republican Constituencies:
Parties exist through the loyalty of constituencies. Constituencies vote and donate money. Without them, nothing happens. As a starting point for discussion, consider this list of the current parties' constituencies:

 

Democrats
Unionized labor
Ethnic minorities
Urban power blocks
Educated urbanites
Women

Republicans
Massive corporations
Big business
Defense-related business
Health-related business
Small business
Fundamentalist Christians
National Rifle Association

You may not agree with the makeup of these lists. We could argue about it—but let's not. This discussion is intended to illustrate how a third party might form constituencies; the lists will work for that discussion.

These groupings are generalized. Of course, not every African-American or every woman votes Democratic, and not every business person votes Republican. But the parties have allied with these constituencies. In some cases, the constituencies have chosen the parties, rather than the other way around, but party rhetoric, and party policy speak directly to these groups. The parties always try to create the impression that they serve the interests of these groups.

It's also important to understand that the following example is hypothetical, meant only as an illustration. Later in this article, we'll talk about how to actually implement these ideas.

Constituency Abandonment
But do the parties really serve their constituencies? Sometimes yes—and sometimes no.

Notice that the Democratic list includes unionized labor, not all working people. And the Republican list has five different business constituencies. The reason for the five business groups is simply that these business categories don't have the same interests. Oh, they may have some needs in common, but consider this question: do Wal-Mart, a neighborhood merchant, and a massive multi-national corporation have the same interests? Of course not.

We can make a similar analysis of working people as a constituency. What serves labor unions may not be particularly helpful to non-union workers.

Now look at how the two major parties serve these constituencies. Organized labor is huge in the Democratic party. Unions contribute massive amounts of money to the Democrats, and their members work hard in the party. The party certainly works to serve the interests of the unions. But if the needs of non-union workers on some particular issue are at odds with the needs of the unions, who gets served? The unions, of course. And non-union laborers are left without a voice. The Republican Party won't help them much.

Then, let's consider whether and how the Republican party serves big business (more than 1,000 employees) and very small business (fewer than fifty employees—most with fewer than a dozen). If there's a conflict between those constituencies, who gets served? Big business, of course. Who gets left out? Very small business. It's simple.

A Hypothetical Example of Constituency Molding
So here are two constituencies that get no real help from the major parties. Do small businesses and ordinary working people have anything in common? Of course they do! Most very small businesses employ non-union workers! The two groups won't always have the same needs, but much of what helps one will help the other.

Are the Democrats ever going to make ordinary working people a top priority? They'll say that they do—but they don't—and they won't!

Will the Republicans ever align themselves with very small businesses to the disinterest of big business? They'll talk as if they do—but they don't—and they won't!

What Is Possible?
What would happen if a third party identified the major issues that are important to workers and to small business, put together a party platform that proposed constructive action to address those issues, then got elected and worked to implement those actions?

What would happen? That party would have two large and loyal constituencies. And the Republican and Democratic parties would lose those votes. It could change everything!

A Research Outline
Remember, this is a hypothetical example. It might, or might not work. What is needed for a successful third party is not shoot-from-the-hip chatter like you just read, but real study and analysis. It will go something like this:

  1. Thoroughly analyze the existing constituencies of the two parties, identifying their members, their sizes, how they work within the parties, and how the parties serve them.
  2. Identify issues and needs that are crucial to the constituencies.
  3. Analyze how well those needs are served by the parties.
  4. Identify potential constituencies that are ignored by both parties.
  5. Identify common needs between some of the constituencies—needs that are not being served by the parties.
  6. Identify constituencies that can be united by their common purposes, that are large enough in combination to create the foundation of a new party, and very importantly, that if removed from the two existing parties will make them minority parties!

Then Everything Can Change
When this analysis is finished, it will be time to begin building a party to serve the new coalition of constituencies.

Click to:
Read about Good Governance

If you're interested in helping create a third party think-tank, click here.

Please Speak Up…

  • If you have a response or an additional thought regarding something on this page,
  • If you'd like to write an article for possible publication on these pages,
  • If you have an idea or suggestion about developing the think tank…

…Send it along to: leaveparty@greatreality.com

The political saga of the past several years has brought changes across the polical spectrum. It has not, however, changed the fundamental principles expressed on these pages.

Some of the pages have been revised, and some await revision, to add content and to update specific references to parties, events, etc. While that revision proceeds, please read the information posted here for its fundamental ideas and principles.

As always, your comments are welcome: leaveparty@greatreality.com

copyright © 2010, J. C. Adamson