For decades, in their wishful thinking, many voting Americans have put forth the view they wanted an alternative choice between the country’s two major parties and candidates — not just a pick one from column A or one from column B choice.
It’s been suggested that another option, a true third party, would offer a different voice.
We might have that true third party now — or not — depending upon your perspective. And if we do, how well is it working?
Consider that the Republican Party on a national level is split. You only have to look at the dialogue, more often now coming in the form of tweets and sound bites between GOP officials, to realize the GOP is not unified in its platform on issues.
Then we have the national Democrats, who, judging by recent elections, are becoming entrenched as the minority of the two major parties.
If you look at the national election voting maps in the last decade — not polls — the majority of the states in the heartland of the country, too, have been voting with the Republican presidential candidate.
OK, the heartland is mostly conservative. There is nothing new here.
But we have seen, for nearly a decade, members of Congress going back and forth, often within their own party, over serious questions of how the country, and the state of Texas, should move forward to deal with issues such as police and citizen relationships, immigration, abortion, differing sexual orientation rights or even how local officials spend their taxpayer funds.
It’s also getting difficult to figure out the affiliations of members of Congress these days without looking at their voter registration card. Forget their political stances, those matter little in the scheme of things when it comes to toeing the party line.
Take, for instance, Sen. Bernie Sanders. What is he? Politically, he is an independent. Still, he ran for the Democratic nomination for president.
Then you have the Republican Party standard-bearers running the administration of the state of Texas.
Of course, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick railed against the heavy-handed nature of former President Barack Obama’s executive orders — edicts — about gender-neutral bathrooms in public schools or ordering the federal government to turn back 20 years of inaction by the federal Labor Department about overtime rules for the country’s middle managers.
At the same time, both Abbott and Patrick publicly blamed many of the state’s woes on the Democratic mayors of Texas’ largest cities.
How can your rail against federal government overreach while extending the reach of the state capitol to overrule local control? It makes no sense, in a common-sensical way.
Still, in politics, common sense often is left behind.
To us, none of what is happening on the political landscape seems any longer like infighting. It sounds to us as simple politicking.
A three-party system is a good and often noble idea. The idea that third parties, such as the Libertarian or Green parties, being a grain of sand that irritates the oyster that makes the pearl, is part-and-parcel of American politics.
But the idea that we now have a three-party system, such as the failed tea party movement tried to convince us, is naive.
What we have now is political chaos, on too many levels of government, where candidates are seeking cover, but not reasonable platforms.
We have an idea. As the midterm national elections are about a year away, spend the time listening to the candidates, but don’t look at whether they are filing as Democrat, Independent or Republican.
Just listen. Really listen.
And don’t worry about party affiliations.
• Dave Mathews