One of the arguments against the need of a new political party is the assertion that party primaries make a new moderate party unnecessary. As the argument goes, since political parties have primaries, the voters get a say in who a party nominates, thereby removing the need for a new, moderate political party.
Such an argument fails in reality. Political party primaries tend to favor the extremes of each party, as the voters in the primaries are self-selected and do not represent the needs or desires of those in the middle. Party primaries are dominated by activists with an agenda, who prefer purity to the advancement of the common good. This phenomena is present in both the Democratic and Republican parties.
As a result, party primaries tend to push the candidates to the extremes. Combine with gerrymandered districts, and you have removed a majority of Americans from effective political decision-making. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the sensible, pragmatic, common-sense, moderate majority are the ones who are excluded.
Take at look at the results of the primaries so far. Here in Texas, the relatively moderate Hutchinson was defeated by the more conservative Perry. In Connecticut, Lieberman was forced out of the Democratic party by the far left. In Florida, Christ was forced out by the far right. This Tuesday, it is anticipated that the party extremes will triumph in the party primaries.
While these results will please those seeking howling to run out the "DINOs" and "RINOs" of their own parties, the impact is that fewer politicians who seek compromise and the common good are in office. This will have further implications down the road, as like-minded moderates decide to not even bother to run. Self-reinforcing behavior will magnify, and the "conventional wisdom" will determine that the only way to win will be to pander to the extremes.
Must the end result be the transformation of our nation-wide politics to that of California? Politics there has become toxic, with extremely gerrymandered districts ensuring that the only competition occurs in the primaries, where candidates seek support from foaming-at-the-mouth party activists.
Somewhere, I guess, Tom Delay and Howard Dean are smiling, but these developments should give the rest of us no joy.
2 days ago