We are an ambitious party – we want to be competitive in every state and at every level of government
Many of us joined the Modern Whig Party because we recognized its values to be a breath of fresh air in what is otherwise a suffocating, smoke filled, politics as usual world. We applaud the common sense solutions that the party ambitiously supports to change the practice of politics in this country. We want to field candidates that serve all of their constituents, not just the large donors or those that have precisely the same ideology as is reflected in our platform. We want our candidates and members to practice service, civility, and humility. We want to give voters a real choice, not leave them forced to choose between two extreme candidates, neither of which represent their concerns. We want to solve problems using reason and use those solutions to better the lives of our constituents.
These ambitions are not based in ideology, emotion, or mere wants, but in necessary change supported by reason. Are there any of these goals that are not a vast improvement over politics as usual today? Are there any that are not rational? Are there any that the voter would reject if put to a fair vote? We clearly stand on the right side of this debate. Who would argue these points with us when reason supports our case? They may deflect, change the subject, or criticize the messenger, but arguing these points is folly. The effect of implementing these changes would obviously be a huge improvement in how our government and the political system work. We have a beautiful message for America that must be heard.
If these changes are clearly superior to present practice, then why have they not been implemented? The simple answer is that too many in power benefit from the system exactly the way it is. They build roadblocks intended to discourage or stop change before it has enough momentum to succeed. They effectively have unlimited amounts of money as well control of the political power in Washington to use to thwart change.
So why do we challenge the supporters of “politics as usual” when they have all of this power? We dare to challenge them because there is a greater source of power that they do not control. This is the power of the ballot. The voter can, in theory as well as in practice, ignore the money and the power of the politics as usual establishment and vote to return reason to politics and representation to government.
As long as the voter is convinced that they only have two choices, both of them being voting for the politics as usual establishment, they will continue to concede their power by voting for parties that do not represent them. They need to know that there is a third choice that puts them in charge again. Our strategy therefore is to convince voters one at a time, if necessary, to vote for better candidates, better politics, and better representation.
Shortcuts are not going to work in this strategy. We cannot become a major party by giving in to our emotions and showing voters with our actions that we behave in the same manner as the current major parties. We cannot become a major party by nominating candidates who cannot win and thereby losing credibility with voters. We cannot convince the voters that we are here to bring a better way when we are stopped by every obstacle. We cannot become a major party by valuing winning an election above our values.
We become a major party by believing in our values and then convincing voters we can and will change politics for the better. Half measures born of a half-hearted belief in our own goals will not convince anyone of our resolve or of the necessity of our purpose. We must know that we have the best solutions, forged with reason and then spread with passion. Would you believe someone had a great message if they were stopped by small obstacles, only planned to spread it to a few places, gave up on ever winning in any community or any office, or were less than on fire when spreading this great message? You would judge the message by the resolve and enthusiasm of the messenger and so does the voter.
We must convince voters that we can and will repair our broken political system. We will not be stopped by the forces pitted against us but instead we will dismantle the “politics as usual” establishment. We will then rebuild it to the voter’s specifications and no one else’s. We will take our great ideas and implement them at the national, state, and local level. We will spread our ideas to every state, to every community, and to every home. We will not leave any voter’s allegiance unchallenged nor take any voter’s allegiance for granted. We will not be discouraged. We will not make compromises with our values for short term gain. We will not quit until we succeed. This ends in only one way. It ends when we have convinced every voter that they have the power to change our political process into a source of pride for America. That is when our grand ideas will transform political practices that rule us into political practices that serve us. We are an ambitious party.
Dale Ritchie is the National Chair of the Modern Whig Party