By Steve Corbin
With the never-ending political candidate name-calling and Washington, D.C., gridlock, our first president got it right. In his farewell address, George Washington warned of the “continual mischiefs of the spirit of party” making it the “interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.” In other words, he alerted us about the dangers of political parties.
Washington cautioned Americans against the vengeful practices of political parties where parties put their own interests above those of the country.
Maybe it’s time for a sensible third party. Let’s face it, a lifeboat is being sought by the 74 percent of Republicans who vote a straight ticket, especially when they have to pick a president from the likes of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich. A similar lifeline is needed for 78 percent of the straight ticket voting Democrats as their options are either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, about half of the registered Republicans and Democrats say a third political party is needed because the current two-party system does “such a poor job” of representing the people. Logically, the registered independents, the nation’s largest block of voters, want a third party.
Seventy percent of the public feel the two political party system and their legislators are headed in the wrong direction. Furthermore, 97 percent of Americans want our representatives to work more than the current two days per week, be bipartisan and become problem solvers, not obstructionists or isolationists.
For the disheartened Republicans, Democrats and independents, I’d name the new group the Common Sense Party.
While I’m not a political wonk, it’s common sense to be: fiscally responsible, pro-business, environmentally responsible and tolerant of women, men, LGBT, impaired, disabled, handicapped and 4,200 different religions.
All Americans understand the purpose of our government is to protect the individual rights of its citizens, including strong foreign affairs, sensible gun ownership and background checks, defend against terrorism and enforce civil rights.
Washington would be proud if we put the interests of the country ahead of our 21st century “after me, you come first” political parties and politicians’ behavior. It’s prudent that “We the people” take control of our dysfunctional political party system.
Independents are already primed for a third political party. And with 47-48 percent of their Republican and Democratic neighbors wanting a third choice, let’s get this party started.
Steve Corbin is professor emeritus of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.