"If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power." Dwight D. Eisenhower.
One of the biggest separations between our party and the major parties is purpose. By focusing solely on winning, the major parties are ignoring quality input to the political process (the people’s needs) and substituting money. By focusing solely on winning, they have left out the quality character traits and culture of a political party that transforms the people’s needs into caring action. Instead they substitute hustling for dollars, finding candidates who will win, and shaping party action into satisfying the major donor’s needs. By focusing solely on winning, they have a product that wins but does nothing to solve problems. Their public interaction must therefore focus on using scare tactics on the undecided and making promises to the party faithful to obstruct everything the other party wants to do. It is nothing but a power grab. We can do better. We can start with voter needs, then use humility, caring, reason, and service to transform these needs into honest, representative, and fully functional government. This is our purpose and product.
I use this long introduction for three reasons. First, it is not just the Reform Party and us in the middle anymore. There are centrist parties and groups popping up all over. Almost all of them are single state parties at the moment, but there will have to be centrist coalitions to avoid the problem of running multiple centrist candidates for the same position, cancelling all of our efforts. Your party will make agreements with some of these but we will be careful not to get too cozy with parties that do not share our ethics and purpose. We are here to change politics in this country before it totally collapses. People that are desperate enough to fall in behind either of the two major party Presidential candidates of 2016 are only a small step away from being desperate enough to settle for something much worse next time. The sign that a society is about to fall apart is first disregard, then derision, of law and the rules we live under (The Constitution). Getting rid of these rules is first before truly dangerous ideas take root. We need to fix the problems before that happens. The time to do so is now.
The second reason for the long intro is to remind everyone of what we do best. We solve problems. We use reason rather than ideology and we are able to weigh both sides of an issue to find the best answer rather than relying on ideology for one and only one answer, unable to give any weight to opposing arguments. The political trait of extreme, unyielding viewpoints is incredibly dangerous. It prohibits sound thinking and ends with either no decision or a bad decision on a problem. We are the cure for extremism. It is our purpose and our moral imperative to stop the madness in Washington for they are so blinded by ideology they can’t and/or won’t do it themselves.
Think about health care, social security, immigration, and a dozen other problems Americans face. Even when one of the major parties has a controlling majority in our government, they will not fix these problems because they want to win next time above any other goals. We have to be the adults who tell the American people that on our current trajectory, we are impossibly underfunded in providing for them what they were promised. The major parties will never do that. Further, we have to have solutions ready and tell them that by changing just a little, the shortfalls can be almost eliminated. See the plan by centrist economist Dr. Lawrence Kotlikoff for social security that does exactly that. Few have the knowledge of Social Security that he has and he has a far better plan than eliminating Social Security or waiting for it to go bankrupt. Yet that is what we have from the major parties by default because they offer nothing but silence.
The third reason is to compare us with the major parties in civility. While they only offer silence in terms of solutions, they are very loud when it comes to fear mongering and angry obstruction. The two go hand in hand. If you have no solutions to offer because you are ignoring what Americans need, then you have to bring the other side down. I have often been asked why we don’t attack Trump, some making the comparison of Trump to Andrew Jackson. ”The Whigs had scathing words for Jackson and we should do the same to Trump since he is worse than Jackson” the argument goes. We are Modern Whigs for a reason, however. There are many admirable traits of the Whigs that we want to emulate, but some we need to avoid. The politics of hate and fear is what we are against. Similarly, we are equally upset by the actions of Democrats and Republicans. We are not for or against a person or party. We are however, for the American people. We can and should support our platform, philosophy, and purpose with great zeal. We can state why the practices of other parties, groups, and individuals are not serving the American people. We are here to correct politics and give the American people a working government. This is our purpose rather than casting people and parties as the devil. We have solutions and so do not need to play the same game as those that do not.
Our next focus is earning the right to put candidates on the ballot so that we can enact solutions. This is often a difficult process that takes many people, much money, and months of hard work to achieve. We have efforts underway in Utah and soon in Michigan to achieve this goal in those states. Washington does not recognize political parties, so essentially, this barrier to third parties is removed in that state. There are several other states where ballot access is relatively easy to obtain that we will be focusing on next. In the past, our party has had ballot access only in Kentucky and Florida. I promise we will do all that we can to jump this hurdle in as many states as we can. If our purpose is to correct politics before people are desperate enough to choose even more dangerous candidates, and if our purpose is to solve problems that help the American people, it follows that we must first get candidates elected. To do that, we need to earn the right to put candidates on the ballot. Without that access, we are unable to be or do anything for the electorate. We cannot do much to earn us ballot access without you. Please understand this is very important and that we need volunteers to help with ballot access in many states. If there is competition, and one team has no one show for the game, they forfeit. Let’s at least play the game. The American people deserve our best effort.
We need volunteers who can write, who can manage, and who can organize. We need them now and not in six months or twelve. It will be too late then. Yes, I have said this before, but you don’t seem to be taking this seriously. If we forfeit the qualifying rounds because the team is late for the first game it is not my fault. You have been notified. Volunteer now. Do it. All of you.
Dale Ritchie is the National Chair of the Modern Whig Party