Monday, December 21, 2009

Is It Finally Time for A Third Party in American Politics?

Across the nation, entrenched politicians are feeling the heat and unlike in years past, this time its backed by a tidal wave of discontent rather than any cult of personality. Not in recent memory has such large groundswell of momentum gathered heading up to a national election that wasn't spearheaded by a national figure.

The Tea-Party Movement began six months ago with thousands of people gathering all over the nation to express outrage at the steady drumbeat of all levels of government into their lives. While most of the mass media has attempted to paint them as racist, bigoted rednecks or special-interest pawns, the truth is, they are a cross section of America that have one thing in common. They all think Uncle Sam, and state governments, have gone way too far.

A recent NBC/WSJ poll is getting a lot of traction because it shows candidates aligned with the Tea-Party Movement beating both Democrats and Republicans, even in hypothetical races with no announced candidate. 

One of the movements most popular and outspoken members is Rand Paul, son of Republican Congressman and past Presidential candidate Ron Paul, is making serious headway in the Kentucky Senate race.A leading voice for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies, Paul has also proven to be a prodigious fund-raiser. He collected over $400,000 dollars in one day (which he claims to be the largest single-day total of any Kentucky primary candidate in history.) and has raised over one million dollars so far.

Another rising star is Marco Rubio. Nine years ago he was a City Commissioner in West Miami. Six months ago he trailed in the polls for U.S. Senate by 40 points. Today he's in a neck-and-neck horse race marching towards the November election. Rubio's energy, integrity, not to mention his Spanish heritage, which plays very well in south Florida, make him a stong candidate in November.

Then there's J.D. Hayworth, former U.S. Congressman and current thorn in the side of John McCain (Rasmussen has him in a veritable dead heat with the long time incumbant). Whats interesting about this race is Hayworth hasn't even officially announced his candidacy yet.

Why are these candidates, and dozens like them enjoying such success? Because contrary to media portrayals, they are tough-minded individuals that strongly believe in less government interference in the domestic economy. Sure they have their blemishes, just like the rest of us, but they share the belief that government only subsidizes and expands problems, often in the name of compassion.

What is critical to be understood is this. As Bill Clinton was so fond of saying, 'it really is the economy, stupid.' These candidates, and many, many more just like them, are pleading the fifth to a great degree on social issues. They understand that topics like abortion and drug legalization are so divisive, and getting government spending under control so critical, they are staying away from these hot-potato issues.

If recent trends continue, and the movement can coalesce the nation's anger into a unified voice with serious candidates, we may just have our first 3rd party candidate in a very long time.

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