In 1944 Henry Wallace was the popular choice for Vice-President under Roosevelt, a position he had held since 1941 and one that Wallace was seeking to continue in the re-election. As with his modern day counterpart, Bernie Sanders, Wallace was popular with the people, warm, well-liked, and possessed a sense of care not seen in many politicians who reach high levels of office. Most people may recall from history classes that Wallace was not Vice-President for the next term. Instead he was replaced by Harry Truman who would go on to become President after Roosevelt’s death in April 1945. Truman ended left his presidency with the lowest approval rating of any president at 32%. What is not widely discussed or talked about is the ‘veritable conspiracy’ as quoted from Truman’s biographer that put Truman into the VP position. I won’t take the time in this letter to go into details, however, I can assure anyone who wishes to delve into the matter that they will find it quite interesting, poignant and reminiscent of modern times. In short, the leaders of the democratic party did not like or want Wallace as VP so they conspired during the Democratic National Convention of 1944 to install Truman into that position. The events of the 2016 Democratic National Convention were nothing but an encore performance played to an unappreciative audience forced to sit, stand, and shout impotently as the leaders of the party chose the candidate they wanted.
It has been more than 50 years of protests, 50 years of begging, 50 years of faithful obedience and to this day the two main parties do not hear our wishes. The Republicans are no better than the Democrats at this game( and no worse.) To see them vote is like watching lemmings jump from a cliff; the first votes ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and all the others follow. It’s a pact they agree to for party support. Furthermore, their inept bungling and inability to listen to the will of their members led to the rise of Donald Trump: a virtual outsider who represented, among other things, a change to the party that the people could believe in; one thing Donald represented was guaranteed change.
It is interesting to note how these two rebels rose to power: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. I use the word rebel in a positive sense here much as we would say that Thomas Jefferson or George Washington was a rebel. Trump and Sanders rose to power in political party whose members cried for change. Neither set of party leaders listened and everyone knows how that turned out. If only the Democrats had not blocked Sanders or perhaps the Republicans could have bowed their heads in humility, put their hands in the air and given us honest change.
It is now that I see, as an independent voter who has voted for both parties based on the quality of the candidate and the issues at hand that these two parties will not change, they will not listen to us, and they will not barter. Neither party broke the rules of their parties by what they did. In essence both parties are set up like private clubs. They can do what they want and the members be damned. But the faith is broken, and yet like a weak child afraid to strike out on our own or to stand up to an abusive situation we return and hope the beatings will stop. In our heart we know they won’t.
This last election convinced me of two things. First that the national election is not yet rigged. I say yet, because I fear that given enough time and energy the general election could be compromised by the parties. They are learning their lessons better than we are and consistently put measures in place to keep outsiders on the outside. My reason for my belief that the system is still fair in the vote is simple. Both parties hated Trump so much that they would have conspired to put Hillary in the office and performed back room deals between the parties to ensure their monopoly. Hillary fell into the ‘better the enemy you know’ category. The second conclusion I came to is that now is the time to abandon the parties and form new ones. We need at least a third and a fourth strong option. How much better would our debates have been if there had been three or four candidates to choose from? I can almost hear the critics and media cat-walling now about this idea. If there were four candidates we might have a president with only 25 percent of the votes win the office, but what of it. If that is a risk we must take to break this chain of slavery to the current parties then it is a move we must aggressively make. Even still, I would counter argue to those critics who post trivial banter so they can sell advertising space that even in large elections many are so lopsided that a clear victor would be chosen.
It is now that we must abandon the two parties and choose another party to support. I will not be crass enough to tell you which one to join. You must make the choice. But the decision to leave is a choice we must make as a majority. If we leave the parties en masse and flock to the other parties then we can begin to elect new leadership, slowly, and with patient persistence. It will be turbulent, but that is what change is about and I would argue it won’t be more turbulent than it is now. The real danger is this, if we allow the parties to recover, if we allow the democratic party to rebuild (Remember they are in shambles but their leadership is still in tact; the same old people with the same old tricks), and if we allow the republicans to plug the gaps that allowed true change into their party (albeit not the best change) then we will only be worse off in the future. We must rally around one undeniable truth: The parties will NOT change until we force them. That force will come with our abandonment of them. If we allow them to recover, if we allow them to become stronger, and if we allow them (the gods forbid) to join forces then we will only have ourselves to blame.
In these next elections over the coming years we need to leave the Democratic and Republican parties. We need to vote for independents and encourage new candidates. Bernie Sanders showed that it is possible to raise millions of dollars, come out of nowhere, and have a shot. We now know that it was a false belief due to the parties atrocious behavior, (he never truly had a chance) but the idea has been proven valid. We need to take heart in that failed attempt and try again, even as we realize that the rebellion against the parties did succeed in part. It was either going to be Trump or Sanders and we got Trump. Let’s let the pundits argue the merit of that particular victory as we revel in the idea the the victory of Trump was a black eye to the parties delivered by the voters.
Above all remember this: The parties will NOT change until we force them.