The Purple Party

Purple, instead of red or blue. This is a great example of a collective mind idea stricken by the collection action problem. The moderate middle front is one of those great ideas thousands of minds invent individually—from all disparate demographics—and yet no standard-bearer community emerges to enact, no vindicating action passes. Probably, a history similar to that other idea---what was it called again?---democracy? Some impossibilities are worth hitting our heads against the message board for—if only so the next poor bloke has a better chance of hammering at it.

This post is a reference to the comments on Metafilter (4/19/06—what, I said I was catching up--didn’t believe me?). The post is not so interesting, but the comments on it are a good representation of the main points of collective logic on this problem/opportunity. The one I left out is the most obvious—which is that a third party would cripple the nearest party with a split in the elections. True, true, life’s rough---but it may be rougher still to endure ideologues and shyster politicians protecting themselves under the rhetorical shield of ‘preserving unity’.

In comments:

I identify as a strong moderate. Do you know how many friends that has won me over the years? Zero. It's impossible to get people excited about compromise. I feel like a constant party pooper- in any given situation, I'm the guy saying, "Sorry, you can't have it ALL your way." Nobody likes that guy. At best, they'll grudgingly agree with him, but they'll never love him for it.

People like to get excited and passionate and worked up over things. They like to see the world in philosophically pure terms, even though the real world is built on dirty compromises.

All that aside, I like what Anderson has to say. The only flaw in his logic is the very nature of moderates - we're pragmatic. If we see a third party candidate who promises to give us what we want, we'll still probably vote for a major party since that is the choice most likely to yield a positive result.

The only way I could see his Purple Party succeeding would be if a really strong candidate rose to great popularity in a short span of time, kind of like a replay of Howard Dean's 2003 victories minus his 2004 humiliation.

Who knows? With the internet, anything's possible.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:50 PM PST on April 19

The real 3rd party already exists and it's called non-voters--It's the largest in the country.
posted by amberglow at 7:41 PM PST on April 19

The US does not have two (major) parties. It has one party with two faces and the hoi polloi laps up the false dichotomy: Democrat/Republican, liberal/conservative, blue/red, Coke/Pepsi.

The problem with a "moderate" party is that most everyone's moderate, whatever that means, on different issues. To pick a few, it's possible to subscribe to "centrist" views on the economy and crime – that is, basically pro-market, pro-death penalty, three-strikes laws, vague suspicion of environmentalists – while both supporting all measures taken by the Bush admin in the War on Terror and being an iron-clad pro-choicer. It's what they weigh as most important that determines where they'll vote.
posted by furiousthought at 4:51 PM PST on April 19

More thoughts on this later...