The key aspect of making Rank Choice Voting work is having more than 2 parties. Actually in America it’d be great if we had 2 parties, but as we’ve discussed they’re both parties of money and were for Nixon’s racist Drug War and racist regular war too! In America, the so-called Third Parties like the Green Party, Libertarians or even the Socialist Party are called spoilers.
Calling Third Parties spoilers has always been an odd thing to me, because not once have they given away the ending of a Marvel movie. But they do represent the end of the corporate monopoly of the American Election Dumpster Fire so I guess in that way they’re giving away the ending…so maybe they are the spoiler. They’re a spoiler to a dying Empire. Spoiler Alert, it’s going to die!
Without a Third Party the Republican Party wouldn’t actually exist, because they were in fact a Third Party! The Whigs and the Democrats were not listening to their party members who didn’t want to see slavery in their society anymore. So in 1854 a bunch of members of the Whigs broke off to create a new party! The absorbed members of various fringe parties in the process.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the Kansas-Nebraska
Act which wanted to make Kansas & Nebraska slave states. The members of the Whigs were opposed to more slave states, but when the leadership disagreed, it gave birth to the Republican Party. Their first State convention was in Jackson, MI in 1854 and then in 1856 their first NATIONAL convention was in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA! They didn’t try to organize in the Southern States!
So to recap, the reason why the Republican Party was created was to fight against slavery and was formed in northern, working class cities! They stood against slavery and for expanding the banks, higher tariffs on the rich, and FREE land to Farmers! That’s right, they were Farming socialists! Everyone hear that, that’s the sound of all the Republicans’ hearts bursting at that knowledge.
This was the party of Lincoln! This is why Lincoln won and when he did, he gave a bombastic speech! He said: “When you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to “Black Republicans.” […] But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, ‘Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!’”
Lincoln is basically calling out the spoiler argument in 1860! It was a bullshit argument 160 years ago and it’s a bullshit argument now! So what the hell happened to the Republican Party? They seemed far more progressive in 1854 than in 1954 and most definitely in 2054. If we continue on the same trajectory the Republicans might just turn into the National KKK Super Hitler Party.
After Lincoln’s assassination, the party had grown and had 2 factions; the Radicals and the Moderates. Sound familiar? By the time President Grant was in office in 1868, the Radical Republicans – which is such a weird phrase to say – were in control. These guys were forming Unions, mobilizing voters in the South and fighting off the KKK.
That’s right the Republicans were fighting the KKK! So with that knowledge, the next time the one of these white washed Modern Republicans claim to be the Party of Lincoln ask then when was the last time they broke up a Klan Rally or kicked David Duke in the dick!? If the answer is never, they’re not the Party of Lincoln! Really the modern Republicans dare not compare themselves to the Republicans of the yesteryears, aka the Afro Klan Hunters!
By 1872 there were at least 7 Black Republican Congressmen from the Southern States. This was despite the fact that the South was particularly difficult for the Republicans to gain a massive foothold and become a biracial party. And this brings up the notion of the Confederate Statues Look this is about where we should draw the line for Confederate Statues. If you built a statue before 1872, then fine, leave your loser heritage up. If it’s after 1872, it’s not heritage, it’s you being a massive dick and the sorest of losers! After 1872 the Republican Heritage should include these Radical Black Republicans!
The trouble begins in the 1880s when the Republicans start losing steam because of German and Irish Catholic immigrants who begin to support the Democrats and the fact that the Republicans became sober. This is probably where all the anti-immigrant rhetoric comes from for the party. But you know, I don’t remember shit on immigrants being part of the 12-step program!
The Republicans started calling the Democrats the party of “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion” Rum because the Dems were linked with the Tavern keepers, Romanism because of the Irish Roman Catholics and Rebellion to remind folks they were trying to break up the union during the Civil War.
By the time of the McKinley Administration in 1896, the Republican Party started becoming the party we see today. President McKinley vowed to decrease tariffs and developed a partnership with big business like the Rail Companies. With that in mind he promoted the idea of Pluralism, which meant he was aiming to get prosperity for all via the first version of Trickle Down Economics, an idea that will go on to fail for over 100 years. William McKinley went for the money and started transforming the Republican Party into the Party of Privatization. So really the modern Republicans are the Party of McKinley, who was assassinated. They should take note of that.
But the Republican is party is responsible for the birth of one of America’s Third Parties besides itself. In 1901 Teddy Roosevelt became President. By the end of his term he saw what the party was becoming and started denouncing it. He states: “Again and again in my public career I have had to make head against mob spirit, against the tendency of poor, ignorant and turbulent people who feel a rancorous jealousy and hatred of those who are better off. But during the last few years it has been the wealthy corruptionists of enormous fortune, and of enormous influence through their agents of the press, pulpit, colleges and public life, with whom I’ve had to wage bitter war.”
As we mentioned earlier, William Howard Taft was chosen to be the Republican nominee despite Teddy Roosevelt winning 9/13 states in the 1912 election. He was so disillusioned by the system, Teddy Roosevelt created the Progressive Bull-Moose Party of 1912. He ran on a Square Deal, which had 3 goals: Conservation of Natural Resources, Control of Corporations, and Consumer Protection. He’s already out-lefted most Modern Democrats! He also wanted to “dissolve the unholy alliance between corporate business and corporate politics!”
Teddy realized that only the Devil could come up with an alliance between business and politics! Only the Devil would enact an idea as fiendish as math manipulation! Only the Devil could make evil so fucking boring! I mean look at what God was doing! God sent his kid down to turn water into wine, walk on water, raise people from the dead, punch bankers in the dick – very exciting stuff! But the unholiness comes from those bankers making legislation to fuck over the Working Class and a blatant overuse of use the words ‘hereto’ and ‘thou’!
The Bull Moose Party took 20% of the votes in 1912. They tied with the Republicans. Unfortunately, the party disbanded because most of its members just wanted to win instead of driving real change. But 1912 was a big year for new parties, because the Socialist Party of America was also taking hold!
In 1912, Eugene Victor Debs was running for President under the Socialist Party of America! There are some folks who consider Bernie Sanders the Eugene Debs of today, but that isn’t true. In 1884 Debs was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives. He was a Union man and hence introduced bills to help the families of injured Rail workers. He gave riveting speeches that led to these bills passing in the House, but left to die in the Democrat controlled Senate. Debs did not run for the House again, because he saw the Democratic Party for what it was – a corrupt soulless party that is willing to let its people die for money.
Debs left the Party, Bernie did not! Bernie Sanders tried to reform the party from within, Debs realized that the Party is unwilling to reform. He saw that over a hundred years before Bernie Sanders! But Bernie wants to be liked by the Democratic Party, but they never will like him. They’ve spent the better part of a decade demonizing him and his flagship ideas. Bernie has become the nerd that desperately tries to win the friendship of the jocks only to get tackled over and over and over again! Bernie Sanders is no Eugene Debs.
Debs left politics to start the American Railway Union and led the Pullman Strikes of 1894! This was one of the many times that the American military was called to fire upon its own citizens to break up strikes. In order to prevent a General Strike, which would be a peaceful protest, the American Military, under the order of the Insurrection Act, used its force, killing 30 strikers, injuring 57 others and causing $80 million worth of damage!
You know how your parents would threaten to turn the car around if you don’t shut up? This was the Government’s version of that, but instead of going home they ran the car into a Walmart and then blamed the kids!
The rich Railroad tycoons used their media propaganda to turn the public against Unions, blaming them for the damage and the death and put Debs on trial. After a 6 month stint in prison under conspiracy charges, Debs came back to create the Socialist Party of America and ran for President 5 times. His goal was to create a system that would empower workers and reduce Militarism in America!
He challenged Capitalism every time and pointed out how the Democratic Party is not for the Progressive! He says: “The radical and progressive elements of the former Democracy have been evicted and must seek other quarters. They were an unmitigated nuisance in the conservative counsels of the old party. They were for the “common people” and the trusts have no use for such a party. Where but to the Socialist Party can these progressive people turn?…Every true democrat should thank Wall Street for driving them out of a party that is democratic in name only, and into one that is democratic in fact.”
In 1911 leading up to his run against Woodrow Wilson he’s quoted to say “We should seek only to register the actual vote of Socialism, no more no less. In our propaganda we should state our principles clearly, speak the truth fearlessly, seeking neither to flatter nor to offend, but only to convince those who should be with us and win them to our cause through an intelligent understanding of its mission […] Socialism must be organized, drilled, equipped and the place to begin is in the industries where the workers are employed.”
He was the first and true candidate that was running as an Organizer in Chief. In 1912 Eugene Debs got one million votes, that’s 6%. He got no national attention and was virtually a nobody in the Political arena. In 1918, at age 63 after giving an Anti-War speech he was imprisoned under the Espionage Act. That’s right, the big tough American War Machine was afraid of an elderly Socialist in Derby Hat!
So what was his 1918 speech all about? Debs points out that only the rich make war and only they decide the terms of peace. The Middle Class, who would fight in these wars, don’t get to be involved in that process. Which we don’t. When was the last time an average Iron Worker was ever invited to any of the Treaties of Paris? And if we REALLY think about it, when was the last time you heard the word treaty in our lexicon? The answer is 1898. We’ve pretty just replaced the word treaty with ‘SUBMIT’!
After his speech that pointed out how the Middle Class has been cannon fodder for the arms industry in a battle for imperialistic control of power and resources, Debs was sentenced to three-10 year prison terms and had his right to vote revoked! This is the origin story of the Prison Industrial Complex! We don’t treat prisoners like they’re people, we treat them like turncoats in a revolution against nothing.
In 1920 he ran for President again FROM PRISON and got another 6% of the votes! Imagine how well he would’ve done was he not a Political Prisoner!? During his time in the Atlanta Penitentiary, he was a major advocate for Prison Reform! He was liked so much by the prisoners that when he got out, the prisoners had made him a hand carved cane.
6% of people rejected the Democratic Party in 1912 and 1920. 20% rejected the Republican Party in 1912. Over a quarter of the country rejected the duopoly over a hundred years ago! So why is it that Americans can’t do that a century later?
America is thought to be a country of winners. Going against the American way of Exceptionalism and the corporate duopoly is said to be a loser. The reason why we choose to vote to win rather than vote our beliefs is because we have an election system that says you don’t matter unless you’re the winner! But voting against your beliefs means you’ve already lost. Our passive relationship with voting makes us forget that life is political. Healthcare, race relations, immigration all affect how you feed your family, your health and your job! If you don’t engage in politics then you don’t engage in life! If we want to win, we have to burn our apathy in the trash and support the fight for a new system!
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!