Friday, May 28, 2004

The Major Parties' Worst Nightmare

Democrat and Republican loyalists are even more uncomfortable with independants and moderates or moderation (centrists if you prefer) than they are with each other. Mention the need for a centrist party in the American political system and the response from the existing major parties is nothing short of intense. The reaction is understandable as the number of people registering as independents grows every year - the major parties are beginning to feel threatened. Witness the legislation passed each year at the state and federal level to stack the deck at election time in favor of the parties. The Democrats and Republicans wouldn't be doing this if they felt secure.

Increasing numbers of us are tiring of the same old game of party candidates running toward the extremes of their party during the primaries and then tacking back to the center for the general election. That's exactly what Bush did in 2000 and look what we got. Compassionate conservatism turned into the most strident partisanship seen in years. As long as we accept the deceptive tactics party candidates use to win their party primaries and to pretend to move to the center in the general election we will continue the trend toward an extremist political culture and divided nation.

"Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all" - John W. Gardner

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