Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Freeing the South

Is there a way to free the South from the Republican Party's stranglehold? I have a proposal and I'd like to hear input.

First, I know there are liberals in the South, but they're a rather quiet, though significant, minority. In addition to the incredibly large black minority (often majority) and the Hispanic "sleeping giant", there's a significant quantity of good old-fashioned liberals and progressives. I also think there's an untapped market.

I think someone should start a Christian Progressive Party1. This is partly because the Democratic party has a serious branding problem in the South, along with the word liberal. However, I think there are a lot of people out there like my friend Tony, who want to identify both as Christians and as not-Republicans. They focus more on the charitable aspect of the New Testament and less on the fire and brimstone. Or, to put it in Terry Pratchett's terms, their goal isn't to punish the wicked, but to protect the innocent. I think a political party could make significant headway in the Bible Belt by advocating for strong leftist principles in line with a Christian worldview/morality. I don't think it would ever be a majority party and, I suspect, would usually caucus with the Democrats, but I think it would be a good start.

How would the party begin? I think it would have to begin at local political levels, in a few large cities in the south. I think it could make significant headway in Charleston, Charlotte, and Atlanta (the only Southern cities I'm at all familiar with). From there it could expand to state elections before running in national elections (Representatives, Senators). Really, I think part of the Republican stranglehold on the South is that they've too long dominated the labels of "christian" and "moral", and a lot of progressive voters are depressed at the futility of voting for a democrat.

There's already several third-parties on the right, such as the Constitutionalist and Libertarian party. There's also the Christian Liberty Party which used to be part of the Constitutionalists. I don't know if there's any way to split apart the Republican bloc; unity and uniformity are too central to the conservative worldview for that to be a realistic approach. However, I wonder if there might be a way to siphon off voters with a Christian Traditionalist Party. A group that wants to focus on building strong communities and other Conservative buzzwords.

What do people think of either of those possibilities?


1 - Not me, for obvious reasons.
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