The precipitous decline of the once invincible United States of America in every way – political, economic, social, cultural and educational – threatens not only the future of the country itself, but of all Western civilization.
The political system of the United States is in the grip of the Trumpist extreme right on the Republican side and the “progressive” extreme left on the Democratic side. One of the results of this situation is that the large moderate electorate is essentially devoid of any adequate representation.
The last time there was such a political stalemate was in the run-up to the American Civil War in the mid-19th century. By the early 1850s, the two-party system consisted of a Democratic party controlled by its southern wing of slave states and a depleted Whig party that no longer had any significant programs or policies.
The result of this stalemate was the creation of a third party, dedicated to preventing the spread of slavery in the western territories of the United States. This new party, the Republicans, nominated Mexican war hero John C Fremont as its candidate for the 1856 presidential election.
Democrats nominated the colorless James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, acceptable to both the northern and southern wings of the party (and who bears an uncanny resemblance to current President Joe Biden) and the Whigs nominated former President Millard Fillmore as their candidate.
Although Buchanan won, the Republicans did remarkably well for a new party, and the Whigs essentially disappeared from the political map. In 1860, Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln won a four-candidate race, and the fledgling Republican Party dominated American politics from that time until Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932. Throughout this period, the Democrats occupied the White House for only 16 years.
Now is the time for a new third party to mobilize America’s centrist voters. If such a party were to be formed, it would almost certainly achieve at least a plurality of presidential votes in 2024.
The nucleus of such a party now exists in Congress, namely the two nonconforming Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, as well as the two nonconforming Republican Representatives, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
If these four members of Congress were to leave their respective parties (after all, their parties have already abandoned them) and form a new caucus in both chambers, it would act as the nucleus of a new third party.
Will they or others take up the challenge? I do not know. What I do know is that some responsible adults in both existing parties better do it before it’s too late.
Norman A Bailey is the author of numerous books and articles and the recipient of several honorary degrees, medals and awards and two orders of knighthood. He also teaches economic policy at the Institute of World Politics and has experience on the staff of the National Security Council at the White House, in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and in business, consulting, and finance. . He is a professor emeritus at the Center for National Security Studies at the University of Haifa and a columnist for Globes, the Israeli economic and financial newspaper.