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

(19) comments

Carlos Ponce

"How can your rail against federal government overreach while extending the reach of the state capitol to overrule local control?"
Apparently you need a lesson in Constitutional law especially the 10th Amendment. There are things the Federal government cannot do but states can.
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The state government can do things the Federal government cannot. It's not hypocrisy - it's the LAW. So unless the state constitution and laws prohibit it, it's fair game.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [The state government can do things the Federal government cannot. It's not hypocrisy - it's the LAW. So unless the state constitution and laws prohibit it, it's fair game.]

What about the philosophy of local control. Does yours just stop at state lines?

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky, the answer is found in my last sentence you posted.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Little Marky, the answer is found in my last sentence you posted.]

So you are saying you don't care about local control? Is that correct?

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky, I believe in the Constitution.
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Local entities are given authority through charters, that power obtained from the state.

Diane Turski

In other words, yes, I wish people would start putting country over party!! The 2018 elections are a good place to begin practicing that radical concept!

Kelly Naschke

Good points Dave. You definitely hit the nail on the head with “political chaos”. The republican establishment is no better than the democratic establishment and only seem to be interested in perpetuating their own interests. The right is too far right and the left is too far left. One thing you don’t mention though is term limits.....and we have them. It’s our vote. There should be no such thing as a career politician. It breeds corruption. I can’t speak for the Democrats, but I can tell you that establishment republicans all have targets on their backs right now.

Mark Aaron

Leroy: [One thing you don’t mention though is term limits.....and we have them. It’s our vote. There should be no such thing as a career politician. It breeds corruption.]

Or expertise. Corruption is not the only outcome.

==> [ I can’t speak for the Democrats, but I can tell you that establishment republicans all have targets on their backs right now.]

Well that is good to hear.

Carlos Ponce

There are people who call themselves Republican that are not Conservative. They call themselves Republican to ride on someone's coattails or because they live in areas where the label "Democrat" is tantamount to losing an election. By their votes and actions you shall know them.
I am a Conservative. I will vote for Republicans whose ideology is also Conservative but will not back a non-Conservative Republican.
Democrats put their personal feelings aside and vote Liberal in lock step with other Democrats. Personal feelings like non-support for Planned Parenthood and free exercise of religion are set aside. However there are some Democrats who refuse to circumvent the Second Amendment.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [There are people who call themselves Republican that are not Conservative. ]

So you want a purity test? Is your ideology that uncompromising? Do you ever think about the country? I think you are too extreme Carlos. Doesn't your religion say something about excessive pride?

Carlos Ponce

Purity test? No. Proper vetting, yes. Am I am very humble.[innocent]

Kelly Naschke

It's already 9:45 am...how much longer until Mr. Emoji (AKA Mark Aaron) arrives and starts with the insults?

Mark Aaron

Leroy: [...how much longer until Mr. Emoji (AKA Mark Aaron) arrives and starts with the insults?]

Your emoji looks kind of sad today, gray, lifeless, Leroy. So sad.

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky, didn't you just make a statement to me about "excessive pride"?

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Little Marky, didn't you just make a statement to me about "excessive pride"?]

Yes I did. What part of that are you having difficulty with?

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky must be a hypocrite unless he cannot see the "excessive pride" in his own posts.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Little Marky must be a hypocrite unless he cannot see the "excessive pride" in his own posts.]

I have confidence in my posts because I research my answers and rely on facts. So are you saying using facts is prideful, but your purity test isn't ?

Carlos Ponce

No, Little Marky, you rely on questionable sources.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Little Marky must be a hypocrite unless he cannot see the "excessive pride" in his own posts.

You don't say?]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.