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The Tea Party, Occupy Movement, Voter Apathy and The Broken Two Party System

 

The Tea Party has risen to become a legitimate political movement, pulling the GOP to the right.  Their platform is clear and straightforward:  less government, less government spending, less government taxes.  Often described as the fringe base of the GOP, the Tea Party is loose knit organization with political power.  One only has to look at the GOP primary race to see them flexing their new found political muscle.

There are a couple phrases that one hears often during the presidential primaries.  Talking heads have said “Republicans don’t fall in love, they fall in line.” The mature Tea Party is trying to prove that statement false.  We also hear “Getting Liberals to stand behind a common issue is like herding cats.” The less mature Occupy Movement is proving that statement correct.

Although I do not agree with the Tea Party platform, I have admired their ability to get folks off the political sidelines and start participating in our government.  However, I do not understand their overly critical attitude toward the Occupy Movement.  Considering the abuse and ridicule the Tea Party has gotten over the years, I thought they would be a little easier on their leftist counterpart.

The two movements, although miles apart on the issues, should be able to benefit from each other.  When the Tea Party movement started, I thought they were headed toward the creation of a third party.  Throughout recent history, third parties tend to take votes from their “parent” party, which hands the election to the opposition.  As the opposing party gains power, the third party is blamed and loses steam.  However, if there were multiple third parties, the idea of splitting the vote is eliminated, creating an environment where the third parties are a valid option for the voter.

But the Tea Party still has the two party system attitude –conservative vs. liberal.  This attitude of conservative vs. liberal is the basis for the “not falling in love, but falling in line” phrase.  Tea Party folks ultimately will vote for the GOP candidate, all the GOP establishment has to do to weather the primaries to get the tea party to “fall in line”. The Occupy Movement has learned from Tea Party, and are not backing any candidates or parties, but support ideals.  This is the basis for the “herding cats” phrase.  The Occupy movement needs direction.

A true third party should view the battle as between the third party vs. the two party system, therefore, the more third parties the better.  As political fringe groups, the Occupy Movement and the Tea Party should join forces, not on the issues, but focusing on disabling the two party system that quiets their voice.

The ill results of Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party, and the Occupy Movement pale to the ill results of voter apathy.  Third parties are very good at getting people off the sidelines and participating.  Tea Party and the Occupy Movement should join together to fight the battle of voter apathy and change our political environment to make their voices stronger.


About Blayne Clements

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