Taking a Peek at Some New Electoral Energy
As an American eager for systemic change in our electoral politics, I am looking far beyond the entrenched, two-party duopoly we have created and in which we are mired. Wouldn’t you? As a conscious politics practitioner who knows that intentions matter because the law of attraction is always on, I focus as much attention as possible on what I desire — a society that works for everyone. And I practice being present by accepting things as they are and listening to inspiration for what, if any, action to take to contend with what’s present.
What’s present for me these days is a political emergency that necessitates Republicans — with few exceptions — being denied electoral power simply because they are no longer interested in democracy or governing. At the federal level in the last 10-15 years, they have used their power to unscrupulously and radically pack the judiciary with lifetime appointments for huge numbers of young, poorly-qualified, extreme ideologues; they have cut taxes for people and corporations who already don’t pay their fair share; they support the Big Lie. In states they control, they are anti-democratically using political force to disenfranchise citizens from even participating in or being fairly represented by government — to say nothing of their antics at the local school and election board levels. This is observation, not opinion. Opinion is that it all represents a clear and present danger to democracy.
But attempting this one party at a time, inconsistently from election to election, in a system designed to keep anyone but Democrats and Republicans out, I just don’t believe we’re there yet.
In a world where everything is energy, I often prescribe shaking up the energy of stagnant systems for the sake of shaking them up, then taking measure of what has changed and going from there. The good news is that in the face of ossified political stagnation — created over decades by Democrats and Republicans in cahoots — and in the face of one of those parties becoming anti-democratic, a fair amount of intensifying talk and action is gathering about what could and should be done about it now — at least for the 2022 and 2024 election cycles. Today, then, let’s take a quick peek through our lens at some of that new energy. I certainly hope it will continue to emerge apace and present at least some Americans in some jurisdictions with something a little bit different to consider the next few times they vote because it might just make all the difference. Some examples:
SAM - Save America Movement, founded by former Republican U.S. Representative David Jolly. It uses the word “movement” yet unambiguously call itself a party. Regardless, it makes the case for “fixing the system…a system corrupted by two dominant parties.”
Forward Party, currently being founded by Andrew Yang, 2020 Democratic candidate for president and 2021 candidate for mayor of New York. It says, “The two parties are trapped in a war that they both win, while the rest of us lose. Come join the Forward Party and help us build a better system — one that puts humanity first and focuses on solutions rather than politics.”
Renew America Movement. This group of disaffected Republicans advocates “coalition campaigning” and says, “We cannot tolerate Republican leaders — in 2022 or in the presidential election in 2024 — refusing to accept the results of elections or undermining the certification of those results should they lose.”
New-ish Candidacies. In Texas, a well-known, former establishment Republican who years ago broke with the party, became an Independent, and this year became a Democrat, recently declared his candidacy for lieutenant governor to unseat the MAGA incumbent who has been driving the legislative agenda there. In Utah, a former “never-Trumper” Republican candidate for president in 2016 is now running for U.S. Senate as an Independent specifically to unseat the MAGA-saturated incumbent.
OK so. With regard to new parties, beliefs matter. Yes, we want them, we tell pollsters. No, we don’t believe they can win, not yet anyway, which pollsters don’t seem to ask. If enough of us don’t believe it’s possible, guess what? I would rather see all of the third-party energy — Green, Libertarian, Working Families, American Independence, SAM, Forward, whatever we’ve got — coalesce around a credible, sustained campaign to change ballot access rules and voters’ hearts and minds — beliefs — about the vision and viability of a multi-party, American democracy in general. Once it’s just as easy for a SAM candidate to run as it is for a Republican, once our electorate believes and welcomes the seriousness of purpose that a multi-party system could deliver for America, we will see what emerges. But attempting this one party at a time, inconsistently from election to election, in a system designed to keep anyone but Democrats and Republicans out, I just don’t believe we’re there yet.
There is nothing remotely exciting for me, as a progressive, to listen to the likes of Christie Todd Whitman or Miles Taylor wax poetic about their political positions and a “hunger for the center.” Ugh. However, as a conscious politics practitioner who shares their broader view about democracy, there’s a lot to like about the approach they and theirs are hawking as the Renew America Movement. First, the intention is crystal-clear: prevent anti-democratic candidates from holding office.1 Aligning with shiny, clear intentions makes decision-making smooth. That translates here to maximizing Renew’s ability to decide on winning candidates. Second, the approach demands and fosters interconnection/interdependence. For example, progressives and Democrats are being asked to back a center-right candidate in Utah while Republicans are being asked to back a center-left candidate in Pennsylvania — all to achieve the goal of small d democrats being elected everywhere. We belong to the planet, not the planet to us; its nature is our nature. Its nature is all about interconnection so we humans thrive when we, too, are all about interconnection.
Candidates like Matthew Dowd in Texas and Evan McMullin in Utah are, I hope, representative of more to come. They bring a bit more spice, a bit of new energy and Renew America currently shows McMullin as one of the candidates/candidacies it supports.
This is all, of course, a snapshot of a rather fluid process. Needless to say we will continue to fluidly observe this process through our oh so special lens as the electoral wheels spin at an inflection point in American politics.
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Ideally, intentions are stated in positive language but this will suffice for today and until they are my clients.