The prospects of a third political party in multiple contexts: Success without real change; Success with systemic change; Success with historic change.
I am writing this with the kind of audience in mind that reads Atlantic Monthly. At present it is composed as a progressive series of short essays, and sits at over 5,200 words.
The ebb and flow of the initiative to create a third political Party is again on the move in America, so it is timely to explore the circumstance to see if this moment is any different from the last time it showed any real strength – seventeen years ago, in 1992.
Whether this newest movement reaches critical mass or not remains to be seen, but it nevertheless is possible to outline what may be of lasting impact if it does, versus what may be passing fad. Then we can consider whether the actors in the drama show the intellectual depth and fortitude to build a truly solid foundation for a truly differentiated alternative, or if they are building just another social networking bubble.
The strategic intents of the authors of any new third party will be telling in this regard: All action depends on what problem they are setting out for themselves to overcome. If they act simply to impose their own variety of power and control at the expense of the current order, then nothing of substance will change. But if they attempt to articulate and address the Problem of Our Age, our expectations naturally change, too.