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Third Political Party Urgently Needed to Stop U.S. “National-Security State”


* By Sherwood Ross *

As both the Republican and Democratic political parties are locked into a national security state that is perpetually at war, Americans urgently need to create a third political party, a law school dean writes.

“It will take a third party to allow us to shed the national-security state…which the two major parties are locked into, which they maintain regardless of the votes of the populace, and which will destroy us as surely as it has destroyed previous empires,” writes Lawrence Velvel in his book “An Enemy of the People”(Doukathsan).

As has been shown by the second Gulf War, both parties are “incapable of doing the right thing. They are too beholden to big money—money is virtually all that our politicians care about,” writes Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. The political parties “have gotten too used to the ethically crooked, morally criminal ways of our system, (and) cannot even envision serious change in the political and electoral system.”

Both parties, he charges, cling to policies which do not work, such as the country’s “traditional ready resort to war” that has been “practically an addiction since 1950” and that “has created disasters at home and abroad.” “If we do not cure ourselves of the American addiction to violence,” Velvel continued, “it is only a matter of time until much of the world gangs up on us, with results that nobody can foresee. Such has been the fate of all empires…”

In a blog titled VelvelonNationalAffairs, the law school dean added that a third political party could successfully fight the entrenched parties’ by making better use of the Internet, “especially its rapidly advancing full motion video capacity, to do virtually everything that has to be done in politics: to have small group discussions, to have meetings, to make speeches, to trade writings, to conduct both the written and oral back-and-forth needed to work out positions, to raise whatever money is needed, to arrange for signing petitions, (one of the requirements that the two major parties use to keep third parties off the ballot), to campaign, to communicate with and to see and be seen by the voters.”

Carefully considered positions will be worked out through lengthy, extensive and highly considered deliberations via real time audio/video meetings, Velvel said. “Through such decision-making made possible by the internet, one can foresee positions and compromises being given much greater and far deeper consideration than they receive from the two present major parties with their in-groups, back rooms, and pressuring lobbyists and money men.”

“The use of the internet,” he added, “to work out positions should be a continuous process, so that any necessary changes can be made as facts and circumstances in the world change.” Velvel goes on to say that telephone calls and face to face discussions will still be used but the main work and the main campaigning of a new party would be via Internet.

Velvel called for other reforms, such as scrapping the Electoral College, which he called “a disaster continuously waiting to happen,” and for ending the single member district method of election for the House of Representatives.

In today’s House races, this method “discourages the entry into politics of people who have important ideas not consonant with the conventional wisdom of Republicans and Democrats.” “One notes,” Velvel added, “that the system of winner-take-all single member districts has resulted in 95 percent of the seats in Congress being ‘safe’ seats for which there is no real contest—a result that creates entrenched corruption.”

“It is crucial,” Velvel writes, “to open up the legislature to third parties. Only in that way is it liable to be possible to elect legislators who wish to cause America to recede from being a national security state, and who will vote for policies that serve the interests of the vast bulk of the country instead of the oligarchy of wealth and power that has run it for about the last 50 years.” Velvel said:

“If 40 or 50 third party legislators were elected to Congress (instead of there being only one or two who do not belong to any major party,) the debates over policy and legislation would have quite a different cast, the enacted policy and legislation would like be quite different, presidents could not safely ignore the third party legislators’ views, and we would have a fighting chance to go upward instead of downhill. The initial years of the Republican Party in the 19th century show what a difference can be made by a new party with a fighting chance to win.”

“The needed third party would be given a great boost by requiring a majority vote to win the presidency, and by implementing this through some form of ranked, instant run off system if no candidate initially has more than a plurality,” Velvel continued. “Such a system,” he explained, “would allow people to vote their first choice for a third party candidate whom they favor, with little if any fear that this would throw the election to some Neanderthal if their candidate fails.”

Velvel is dean and cofounder of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, established in 1988 to provide a rigorous quality, affordable education to students who would otherwise not be able to obtain a legal education. It is purposefully dedicated to the education of students from minority, immigrant, and low- and middle-income backgrounds.

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(Sherwood Ross is a media consultant to the Massachusetts School of Law. Reach him at sherwoodross10@gmail.com).

Bob Higgins

Lifelong liberal of the Tom Paine wing. Marine Vietnam vet.
Have worked as a photographer, cab driver, bartender, carpenter
and cabinetmaker.

Currently retired and a former member of Veterans Today staff as writer/editor, I've seen it all. I'm getting old. Somebody get me a glass of water.

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8 Responses to "Third Political Party Urgently Needed to Stop U.S. “National-Security State”"

  1. forex robot  May 19, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    nice post. thanks.

  2. B.A. Gilmore  April 30, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I totally agree. We do need a viable third party. One way to do that would be to limit political advertising on TV. Make the candidates get out and come to the people (and don’t try that pre-screening attendees either). And we no longer need the electoral college. The theory was they were founded because of the lack of timely communication. Guess what… that’s gone. We don’t need them anymore. Now you can communicate almost faster than the speed of internet.

  3. Kundo  April 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    This is so right on! More than anything else, we need to get away from the two-party system and the corrupt chokehold it has on our government. We need good people to run as independent candidates and no one should vote for a republican or a democrat in November for any office whatsoever just as a matter of principal.

  4. barrie w.  April 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    and yet any exploration of the tea party gets shouted down at every turn. not perfect, by any means, it is at least an option that can be used against the gangsters in charge of the two established political “parties” (re: cabals). if you’ve got a better example, let’s hear it.

  5. mvymvy  April 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. The National Popular Vote bill does not try to abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President (for example, ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote) have come about without federal constitutional amendments, by state legislative action.

    The bill is currently endorsed by over 1,707 state legislators (in 48 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska — 70%, DC — 76%, Delaware –75%, Maine — 77%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%, and Vermont — 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, and Virginia — 74%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 74% , Massachusetts — 73%, Minnesota — 75%, New York — 79%, Washington — 77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 29 state legislative chambers, in 19 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes — 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

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