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America is searching for a MAP.

July 11, 2017

Not a map.  A M.A.P. More on the acronym later.

America, or at least about 30% of it, is actively looking for something other than the two traditional political parties.

Why 30%? Because that seems to be about how many are not satisfied when either of the big two are in power.

Many people who consider themselves independents were forced to choose to be either Democrats or Republicans during the 2016 primary season, just to be able to vote for the primary candidates of their choice.

Twenty-four states have either completely closed or semi-closed primary voting, meaning that in order to vote you must declare your political party to vote in party-restricted primaries.

That decision is a state party responsibility, not a Federal law. It drives independents up the wall.

In local and state elections that’s not so much of a problem, but it does come into play in Federal elections.

Even then, it’s only when an election is sufficiently important to bring people out who are usually nonvoters that party affiliation seems to matter.

Many of the people who voted for Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders in 2016 and even Romney in 2012  are not philosophically welded to either of the two political party heavyweights. Call it a marriage of convenience if you will.

Two of the 2016 front-running primary candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, were also wed to a red or blue ticket for purely practical purposes. Either would have been better represented by a viable third or even fourth party.  Neither were or are traditional Republicans or Democrats. They simply went where the money and press coverage would be the widest.

Since the election, given the infantile and petulant performance of the Democratic party mouthpieces and the indecisive and fractured GOP majority, an awful lot of people are declaring that if this is the best we can do, they aren’t going to play anymore.

That’s the sentiment that spawned the ultra-right wing Tea Party that never materialized as a genuine political party, and its 2016 entry, Ted Cruz, was repudiated in the semi-final contests.

During 2016 and even before, the far left had its own version of the Tea Party, the social democrats, but like it’s opposition counterpart, it never fully gestated, meaning that its standard bearer, Senator Bernie Sanders also didn’t make it to the final round.

That left a lot of Americans looking for a MAP, or Middle America Party.

There is a growing sense that the half-century-old movement toward a totalitarian, centralized government regime, ala Venezuela, may have reached critical mass.

Even those people who really did stay home in 2016 are beginning to feel that the country’s leftward slippage is about to take us over a cliff, accelerating the desire for a cohesive defensive movement that can reverse the trend decisively.

Enter the newest entry, the so-called Brand New Congress PAC, largely formed by former supporters of Bernie Sanders.  The PAC popped up on a new Fox News political commentary show (which quite frankly, this writer had never seen until someone called and said “you gotta watch this tonight”) as a “voice for populism.”

On the surface they have a great slogan. Elect a new Congress full of grassroots ordinary people that will represent Middle America. They claim to be willing to work within the traditional party boundaries.

The organization says it wants to quickly replace as many as 400 members of Congress with what you might call citizen legislators from both sides of the political spectrum. A nonpartisan, apparently peaceful movement of sorts.

For a little background, the PAC was formed in 2016 and is drawing its strength from the ranks of those disillusioned party voters. One of the organizers is a man named Zack Exley, a former senior digital campaign adviser to Bernie Sanders, and a long time progressive Democrat operative. Mr. Exley stated on the show that he goes as far back as Bill Clinton and John Kerry.

It is unknown whether the group has received or even filed for IRS Section 527 status, but a search of the FEC site lists the group as unorganized, a non-qualified PAC and gives their  FEC (Federal Election Commission) ID number as C00613810.

The organization’s “about” page reads like a roster of progressive socialist cause workers.

It’s not surprising that its platform, while having some decidedly socialist planks like free college, and an inflation-indexed $15 minimum wage,  is getting attention. After all, most Americans are not rigidly liberal or conservative, thus the amorphous term, independent.

These are the pro-life Democrats, and the pro-choice Republicans. The square pegs the establishment parties have been trying to pound into round holes for at least 50 years, since the JFK and Reagan days.

Formerly it was this group that made up the largest component of the nonvoting population. Constantly lied to and herded like sheep, they simply sat out elections in frustration.

In 2016, they found out they did have a voice, or rather, two of them, in the form of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

There was a short moment in the 2016 season where impartial observers could actually clearly see a Sanders-Trump contest in November, a true test of whether America would continue as a representative, capitalism centered democracy, or embrace full-on socialist central planning.

Of course we all know how that turned out.

Many, many Trump voters feel that if they had been able to field viable candidates to oppose the entrenched Washington lifers  in Congress, the President wouldn’t have to be working so hard to deliver on his vision for America.

Likewise, Sanders supporters know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that had their guy not been blocked by the establishment Clinton Democrats, they would be the proud owners of America’s oldest first time President.

Both sides know that getting fresh faces into the hallowed halls of Congress is totally, absolutely and completely controlled by the power players running the DNC and RNC. If the party poobahs don’t want you to run, they simply don’t fundraise for you. In politics, the threat of being “primaried” is not an idle one.

That’s a problem, unless of course you are charismatic, arrive on the scene at the right moment in history AND you are a multi-billionaire.

Both Bernie and the President were outspent by the party rulers in terms of funds raised through the national organizations or their supporters. Where they won (and make no mistake, Bernie Sanders did have a win, even if it didn’t land him in the White House) was in their connection with middle America.

That makes the Brand New Congress meme an attractive one. They are actively recruiting from the ranks of POF (plain old folks), novices preferred. Just volunteer to be a candidate, and presto, you too can run for Congress.

That’s a siren song for the disenchanted establishment party drop-outs from both camps.

If there was one common comment during the election season it was ordinary people asking why in the name of all that is holy or even unholy, didn’t Washington “get” the electorate?

This isn’t meant to denigrate the new PAC. It is what it is. There is a lot of political real estate between the coasts.

But take it with a grain of salt.  Do your research. This group is not as bipartisan as its founders would like you to believe. Remember the old adage,  “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.”

The country does need a viable MAP.  Whether this movement is the political answer to that void is still very much in question.

From → op-ed

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