Business Plan for a New Party

The Democratic and Republican parties keep making government bigger and more intrusive. The rich get richer while the country goes bankrupt. We are supposed to be the Land of the Free, yet we have one of the world's largest prison populations.

What is to be done? Vote Libertarian?

I once thought so, but have since gained wisdom. The Libertarian Party is too radical to win, and shows insufficient sensitivity to issues other than the size of government.

How about a party that calls for significant, but reasonable cuts in government? One that is also concerned about preserving the environment, the plight of the poor, and over-concentration of wealth?

Those who want smaller government and are happy with the existing wealth distribution have a home of sorts in the Republican Party. The Libertarian Party provides a home for borderline anarchists. (The Libertarian Reform Caucus has made progress turning the LP into a home for a broader range of freedom lovers, but there is so much left to do that I think it easier to start from scratch. Also, they are simply moving the LP downward on the chart below, vs. down and to the left.)

But where is the home for those who want smaller government and smaller corporations? Where is the home for those who want to disperse all power, not just the power of the federal government? Where is the home for those who want small government but still see a place for some public property, such as town squares, public roads and parks?

After years of arguing the case for liberty, I have come to realize that some of the counter arguments make sense. But I still want liberty. But I also sympathize with the plight of the poor, and want strong (but efficient) environmental protections. So ideologically, I looked for the overlap between these and other values and wrote them up as Holistic Politics

Here, I look at the practical aspects of implementing such an agenda via a third party. This could be one of the existing third parties or it could be a new party. This business plan could be used for either, though experience has taught me that the latter option is more likely.

The plan is divided into 5 chapters:

  1. Why Third Parties Fail. Third parties usually fail in the U.S. Let's be honest with ourselves at the outset. This is an uphill battle; the system is rigged. However, I believe I have found two loopholes...
  2. Working Within the Constraints. There are two constraints that a third party must conform to or failure is inevitable. It is difficult to conform to both at the same time, which is why most third party efforts are doomed. In this chapter I lay out these constraints and show two different opportunities for dealing with them.
  3. A Strategic Framework. I present a general strategic framework for evaluating third party strategic and tactical options.
  4. Lessons Learned in the Libertarian Party. A quarter century of membership and a decade of hardcore activism have taught me a good many specific lessons for third parties. Not all lessons apply to all third parties, but some will apply to whichever third party you support. (If you are interested in starting a new party, you might want to skip this chapter on the first pass and move on to Part 5.)
  5. Starting from Scratch. The previous chapters apply to both existing third parties as well as a potential new party. Here, I look at the specific challenges of starting from scratch ca. 2007. This chapter also presents some possible names and themes for a new party that occupies the upper-left quadrant in the chart above.

If you like the ideas in this plan, and want to be involved in starting a new party, contact me. I hope to get a forum up eventually to discuss options and strategy, but for now, email will have to do.

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