Sunday, October 8, 2017

MORNING PETE: The End of the Two-Part System

Today's NYTimes article, "The ‘Resistance,’ Raising Big Money, Upends Liberal Politics," while being a rather boring article about funding of left-leaning American political groups, brought to mind something I wrote last November in the week following Trump's election:
I believe there's a good chance that our two-party system with all of its electoral flaws is actually beginning to crumble and that by 2020, there will be at least six more-or-less viable political parties (3 on the right and 3 on the left) running candidates in local, state, and federal elections.
I think we will soon see that this election and its aftermath will lead to significant fractures in both major parties, thus making room for an electorally-viable third party (a progressive party that addresses the concerns of the working class, non-whites, immigrants, LGBT, etc.) and probably a fourth party, which, depending on which faction ends up with the Republican party mantle, would be either a business-friendly moderate-conservative party (Paul Ryan & John Kasich) or a nationalist/populist/evangelical fear mongering party (the Trump crew, Ted Cruz).
In addition, I believe there will be a number of small non-electorally-viable parties siphoning off popular votes in many states, making the third and fourth parties even more likely to pick up electoral votes with pluralities hovering around 30%: Libertarian, Green, Alt-Right, Socialist-Worker, and all kinds of local parties like Liberty Union in VT or Secessionist in Texas or Marijuana in states that haven’t legalized it, etc.
On the right, the current Republican Party with its truly strange strange bedfellows, will fracture into 4 parties as follows:
- Libertarians who voted for Trump and who in some cases may have supported Bernie in the Democratic primaries will return to their own activist Libertarian Party led by Rand Paul and sans psuedo-Libertarians Bill Weld and Gary Johnson; neither Republican nor Democratic, the Libertarian Party won’t be organized enough to win many elections even at local levels, but they could win enough of the popular vote in some states to affect the electoral college outcome (provided the electoral system remains as is with winner-take all in 48 out of 50 states).
- Nationalist/Populist/White Supremacist elements will coalesce around Steve Bannon in a Far/Alt Right alliance The USA Party?) that with hate-radio and Breitbart propaganda will win a substantial number of local and district races in the south and prairie states, but will make little headway in state-wide or national races.
- Evangelicals and other social conservatives (anti-abortion, anti-marriage equality, anti-LGBTQ) will coalesce into a strong Conservative Party; with President Mike Pence running for re-election (having succeeded Trump after he resigns in a huff), along with VP candidate Ted Cruz the Conservatives will do quite well in a number of Senate, House, Governor, and state legislatative races; nationally, they could also win quite a few electoral pluralities.
- What is left of the Republican Party is a fiscally conservative/socially moderate alliance led by Paul Ryan and John Kasich; this would be the strongest party in the country at the state level (Senate, House, Governor, Legislatures), but, ironically, one of the smaller of the national Republican splinters, winning fewer electoral pluralities than the evangelical/social conservative Party.
On the left, the soulless and corrupt Democratic party will continue to fragment as follows:
- Progressives (like me) will become totally fed up with the DNC and back a Progressive Party, led by Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, but with younger candidates; they will be supported by savvy progressive organizations like DFA and so win numerous senate, house, and legislative seats, but, being pragmatists, they will hold their noses and vote for the Democratic Party candidate for President (see last paragraph below).
- Totally disgusted young people, Black Lives Matter Activists, Immigrants, Workers/Family Party, Green Party members, Socialist Labor Party, anarchists, and other people on the farther-left will focus on local races and drop out of national politics altogether, causing far fewer young people and older independents to vote for the Democratic candidate for president.
- The largest and most successful national party will be the liberal/centrist/corporatist Democratic Party led by Clintonites and Obama-allies, funded by liberal hedge fund managers and Silicon Valley. They will win the Presidency narrowly by electoral votes, but their plurality will far outpace all other splinters from either former major party. They will do far worse in local and state elections (including House and Senate elections), so that President Cuomo (having beaten out Joe Biden and a dozen much younger liberals like Corey Booker in the Democratic Party primaries) will need to wheel and deal behind closed doors with other former Democrats (Sens. Warren and Sanders, for example), Progressive Party House members, and relatively moderate conservative Republicans (Collins, Murkowski, Graham, Grassley, Kasich). [He’ll be good at that… the behind closed doors part.]
I'd love to hear some reactions to this "prediction."