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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
9:47 AM Sun, Oct. 21st

Column: Time for a third political party?

Is Now the Time……?

To finish my question, and try to provide my thoughts on an answer, I first have to pose a separate question to your readers. If you had to describe your political persuasion, are you a…

  1. Staunch Conservative

  2. Somewhat Right of Center

  3. Moderate Centrist

  4. Somewhat Left of Center

  5. Committed Progressive Liberal

Okay, everyone who answered one or five, you can quit reading, because I will never be able to persuade you of my point of view. Everyone else, please bear with me for just a few minutes.

I have to begin with a disclosure. I have been a registered Republican all of my adult life, going on 52 years. I have believed in most of the major tenets that the Republican Party has stood for during those years. Until recently.

Now let me finish my first question. Is now the time to create a viable third political party in this country?

I believe the answer is yes. Why? Because the Republican Party no longer represents my values, and my hopes for this country. It has been hijacked by a far right wing extremist element that sees no value in compromise, that doesn’t believe in respecting the opinions of others that don’t agree with theirs, and that thinks that it is better to see our great country destroyed than to budge from their rigid positions on all issues.

In talking to some of my more moderate Democrat friends, they feel much the same about the far left fringe element of their party. What were once referred to as Clinton Democrats feel abandoned by the “new” Clinton Democrat party of Hillary and Bernie, committed to taxing and spending this country into oblivion.

According to recent Gallup and Pew surveys, only about 10 percent of voters identify as “staunch conservative” and 14 percent as “committed liberals,” yet between them, these two minorities have taken the entire political system hostage at

this point. That has to change.

I believe that what the country needs, now more than ever before in its history, is a legitimate third political party. One that would reside in the ideological middle of the country and speak for and offer a real alternative to those of us who are moderate Republicans, moderate Democrats and true independents. (The 2s, 3s and 4s from above.) The people who believe:

  • That compromise is not a dirty word, but rather the only hope we have to solve most of the problems facing our nation today

  • That willingness to compromise does not make you a “traitor” or a “RINO” or whatever other pejorative is in vogue at the moment.

  • That you can disagree with someone’s position on a particular issue without resorting to vicious name calling and character assassination to try to make your point or win an argument.

  • That stonewalling critical discussions and decisions, whether by Republicans in the House or Democrats in the Senate and White House, does nothing but extend and exacerbate the damage

already done to our country.

  • That when dealing with critical issues like the solvency of our entitlement programs or the unrestrained growth of our national debt, both of which threaten our future and that of our children and grandchildren, nothing should be categorically off the table.

  • That qualified individuals should not be automatically disqualified from holding office in this country, either elected or appointed, based on some politically imposed, self-righteous litmus test, whether it be abortion from the left or gun rights from the right.

  • That holding public office, at any level, is not a right, but a privilege granted by the voters.

  • That our electoral process is broken, and can only be fixed through an overhaul that would include term limits for all elected officials, open primaries where the top two candidates regardless of party affiliation move on to the general election, abolition of the electoral college so that presidential elections are decided in all 50 states, not a handful of “battleground” states, and a presidential election process that runs for no more than 90 days.

I don’t see either of the established parties embracing any of these ideals. They occasionally give lip service to some of them, but they are not sincere. It’s all political theater to make sure that they retain control of the levers of power. A third party would go a long way toward forcing the Rs and Ds to begin acting in a manner that is best for the country, rather than best for them.

Okay, I’ve said my piece. If ever a serious effort arises to create a middle-ground third party, I’ll be the first to sign up and write a check.

“Shockingly Ignorant” I hardly ever agree with any opinions promulgated by the NY Times, but when they recently characterized Trump’s comments on using nuclear weapons on ISIS, maybe in Europe, and allowing Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear weapons as “shockingly ignorant”, I got up off my couch and actually cheered. Everything Trump says about any subject is “shockingly ignorant.” He stands for nothing. He has no ideas. He is bereft of solutions to our serious problems. His campaign is built on clichés. When asked a serious question about any domestic issue or foreign policy question, all he has for an answer is “It’s going to be great” or “We’re going to make America great again.” Why in God’s name is anyone supporting this empty suit?

Paul Border first moved to Prescott in 1989. He is retired from JPMorgan Private Client Services and currently serves as the volunteer Executive Director of Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation and has worked with several other local nonprofits.