Everybody in the world can write a pretty policy platform on a website and claim to be engaged in politics. But the truth is that you aren’t engaged in politics till you engage in politics. Messy, dirty, complicated, difficult politics. The best evidence of an ability to be successful at politics is being successful at politics. As long as the many non-mainline parties in the United States cannot organize themselves as a coalition, federation, or union to take the fight to the two mainline parties they cannot sincerely believe that anyone would take their political activity seriously as something to become involved in and fight for. The only way to begin the long slog of transforming American politics is to transform their own situation from one of division to one of unity.
The path to unity is going to require some of the very same compromises that are made in mainline politics. Compromise cannot is evil, only individual compromises can be. If those outside of establishment politics demand of the establishment positive and beneficial compromises they must be prepared to demonstrate significant and impactful compromises they themselves have made to achieve their goals. There are approximately a dozen relatively major socialist parties in America today but they not only cannot unite into a single party but lack any sort of meta organization to bind them together and empower them. This is not a positive signal which will result in less engaged or ideological voters being willing to support them, even if the nation goes through the immense process of creating a more open and fair political system. This is a significant political failure with deserved consequences.
The leadership of the Green Party, the Justice Party, and other non-socialist parties on the progressive/leftist/liberal side of the American political spectrum possess similar problems. Meanwhile the most effective third party since the united Socialist Party of the late 1800s and early 1900s is the Libertarian Party. In their most successful attempt to gain vote share and influence politics they had 2 Republican ex-governors as their presidential and vice presidential candidate and they had Rand Paul inside the conservative establishment during the primary. They received 4 and a half million votes to the Green Party’s 1 and a half million. That is less than half what the party received under Ralph Nader and one reason he did so much better was that he was a well known and successful public figure while Stein has few achievements of note. Nevertheless he received far fewer votes and a lower percentage of the votes than the Libertarians did in 2016.
Bernie Sanders meanwhile by engaging in the Democratic primary process in a compromise to avoid splitting the vote gained far more votes, over 13 million, as well as far more attention and support and he succeeded in shifting Democratic party consensus on many issues to the left. Sanders is now poised for an even more successful second primary run should he decide it is worth it and he also has significant, though not singular, power in the Democratic party. He has succeeded in getting more political candidates at high levels elected than any third party since the 1968 political realignment. That is not to say that Sanders is the ideal. He still falls far short of what could be achieved by proper political action. His success merely demonstrates the power of compromise. Compromise is 100% necessary in a legislative government system, sometimes even more slimy than the compromises Sanders has made in his career.
In further articles I will discuss both in the abstract and in concrete examples the consequences of this as well as related political concepts. America has entered the days of decision where every political group must attempt to make beneficial changes to take advantage of the complicated political environment. No one outside of the mainstream has more than a few decades to produce change before the door is shut. Its been almost 100 years since Eugene V. Debs gave his speech talking of a new dawn. We haven’t got another 100 years left.