Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Room for a 3rd party?

Don Boring sent out a note regarding media bias and that sent me to the Zogby International web site to look for more information on their poll. I never did get to it, because I saw this one first. Room For Three? This poll has some very interesting facts (if any political poll deals with facts) that should make Green Party Candidates pay attention. Maybe it is even more important as we consider a candidate for President.
It’s a question I get everywhere—whenever I do speeches, make an appearance or do an interview: What are the chances of a new third party? One of my pat responses is that there’s always a centrist political party waiting to be formed. Generally, there’s a group of unaffiliated voters concerned that both political parties may go too far to the fringes. These are people who voted for Ross Perot and find the “maverick” John McCain appealing.
This perception triggered Zogby to do a poll in mid February and the results rather contradict the conventional wisdom that Zogby handed out above. As a result of this poll, he concluded that "The likely third-party voter has shifted to the far right."

Overall, he also found that most Democrats were pleased with the choices they have for President. Of course, the kos inspired bloggers are not interested in Clinton or Biden, but they seem to love Edwards and Obama. Many Republicans are not satisfied with their choices. While Giuliani seems to be in control there is a long time to go and slip ups will happen.

What does this mean for Green? It is hard to say. I don't think that positioning the part to the left of the Democrats is going to win many votes. In fact, it may be a way to lose rather than gain.

A Green Candidate, in order to take advantage of this opportunity would have to offer concrete solutions to this (city, county, state, nation)'s problems. That means understanding a few key issues (health care, Iraq, global warming, energy) and being able to sell everyone that you have better solutions than anyone. That, is a hard task, especially for a presidential candidate.

Zogby started his discussion about a new political party in the center. There seems to be no getting around the fact that political pundits line everyone up in a two dimensional space. It makes it hard for Greens to pay any attention to those key value: decentralization, community based economics, personal and global responsibility where we may have more appeal to traditional Republicans than most Greens want to admit.

I have yet to see any Green Party candidate for national office who could address these issues in a meaningful manner. Every one who is even close is someone that enthusiastic Greens just hope would switch from the Democrats (Gore, Kucinich, McKinney) to the Greens. It isn't likely.

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