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New Party: Mailbag
I did essentially nothing but blog for three days after Trump won -- I skipped meals, ignored some committees I'm on, didn't sleep -- so I am taking a couple days off of blogging/thinking to catch up... and recuperate! (Rod Dreher, consider me newly impressed by your daily output. It's exhausting!)
However, I am getting and seeing a lot of feedback from my proposal yesterday to start a new political party. I'm really happy about that, and I want to share with you some of what I'm hearing. I am, for the moment, just trying to listen, so I am (for the most part) refraining from comments:
I like your ideas, but I have to tell you, this article takes a long time to get to your point, which is that you want to form a new political party and that you have some ideas on what it should be about. You and I and a lot of people on this thread love long, detailed trains of thought like this (A history of the founding of the Republican party! Party-formation benchmarks out to 2024!) but some readers are going to want you to get right to the point and tell them what you want to do, so you might consider writing another post or even rewriting this one, so that your core idea(s) can be more readily shared.
COMMENT: This is true. Although I think everything in the article is necessary for the full picture, I will write a condensed (and perhaps more readily shareable) version soon.
I don't remember these conservatives who say they believe in "upholding human dignity" proposing the formation of a new party when George W Bush started torturing people, suspending habeas corpus, and pursuing a foreign policy that has all but eradicated Christianity in the Middle East. I don't even remember them saying people should refrain from voting for him...
This is a lovely party in many respects; I am deeply concerned about the economic side of things from the two sentence sketch you gave, and I am definitely interested in hearing more on that. I should mention at the top that I think that Distributism seeks a foolish utopia through morally reprehensible means to approximately the same degree as Communism; it is responsible for fewer deaths only because it has not been tried.
I think I'm maybe a bit at sea proposing other options because I'm not totally sure what it is about distributism-ish economics that is appealing to you here. If you think that large corporations are an evil, full stop, then by all means blog about that! But unless you see breaking them up as a good in itself, it seems to me like there are much better platform options. How about this: a guaranteed income (there is at least a specious argument, likely a good one, that this is the most subsidiaritous solution to welfare) takes care not only of the sensu-stricto safety net, but it also gives people an opportunity more easily to change jobs, train up skills, start their own businesses, etc, freeing them from wage-slavery or whatever. Combine that with small business tax rebates if you must, and restrict corporate speech or whatever comes handy for reducing pork.
Now I think you have an economic platform that is far more palatable to me (and I think the National Review side of things in general, and even libertarians: certainly the latter aren't going to agree with your current proposal to bring back government-imposed monopolies), but just as appealing to folks on the left as your original proposal was. Guaranteed Income is something that could be a pretty solid signature issue for a rising party, by the way, because you could get Democrats to sign on it, so the chance of passing something that is both good and splashy early on really increases.
Scrotal cancer! Classic. I'm in.
So I've been trying to figure out what to say in response to this post, but I guess, as an NF big-picture don't-give-me-reasons-why-things-are-impossible-figure-out-a-way-to-make-them-possible kind of person, I'm just going to toss my hat in by way of saying: I actually felt EXCITED reading that potential platform.
I don't know if you've noticed, but for all that I enjoy following along with y'all's politics posts and discussions, I've been party-homeless for a long time and spent the majority of my life feeling defeated by politics in general. On the one hand, I'm an overly emotional idealist, so me being excited about something has very little to do with its actual likelihood of ever happening. On the other hand, if I could get people like you and David on board with my big ideas, well, that would be useful.
And then SURPRISE, here you are putting forth some of my favorite big ideas! And even proposing biting your tongue about raising the minimum wage! If I were on mobile I'd be doing a hearts-eyed emoticon right now!
So sign me up, let me know who you want me to talk to, I do have some thoughts about drafting various types of people and what they're likely to want that I'll get into in a comment probably tomorrow, sorry my husband's leaving the active duty military so I'll have less perspective to offer on that front but he'll still be Reserves so I'm sure we could pick up some stuff, and uh, yeah, it's late and I have to go to bed [for the first but not the last time tonight, obvs], but
just gosh diddly darn. EXCITED.
Can we take Matt Walsh off our list of people we want talking about us? (This is part of plan "don't alienate the lady Christians.") Also, should we not have a list of people from the disaffected Sanders side of the media that we also want interested? It seemed very conservative-media-heavy.
3) I've been reflecting on the reasons why I lean more liberally than conservatively and I think part of it has to do that when things are left to the states, they seem to eff things up royally. For example, Alabama (currently) cannot support itself, period. There's a myriad of reasons for that (taxing all the wrong things, for starters), but I guess I'm trying to figure out how to address that tension between "do everything as locally as possible" and "also we are a nation of fifty states that theoretically do try to take care of each other." Maybe that's part of the problem with the current model? California and New York are happy to let Alabama and Mississippi burn? (Granted, the feeling's mutual, but you know.)
COMMENT 1: Matt Walsh, call your publicist!
COMMENT 2: The truth is, I don't understand the disaffected Sanders side well enough to know who would be receptive to our ideas. Here, I depend on the expertise and help of my more left-leaning friends to expand that list to liberal elites.
Who should we be reaching out to on (to me, at least) the "other side"? Fr. James Martin? Are there any Democrats in Congress who would be open to this? Maybe Joe Donnelly? Help me out, progressive friends!
COMMENT 3: As for the fact that states tend to "eff up royally"... I think we have to resolve that tension by letting them eff up. Letting people do things locally means letting people do things *wrong* locally. The electorates of certain states consistently vote for governance that doesn't really line up with my values... so be it. The beauty of democracy is that voters always get the government they deserve.
The alternative is the broken system we have now: we blow up the whole principle of local self-rule whenever a bare majority of the country thinks their one-size-fits-all solution will be marginally better than whatever dumpster fire is going on at the state level. Problem: federal government solutions are just as much of a dumpster fire, and they have an extra layer of rigidity, inflexibility, and inefficiency because they are operating at an even more remote level of government. This is how we got No Child Left Behind, the healthcare mess (now in its nth decade!), and so much of our political system being disputed in the courts. It has also provided a tremendous amount of fuel for the culture wars, as each side of that fight tries to use the federal government for reinforcement.
So I think, when we blow up localism, we lose all the goods it provides in pursuit of a largely illusory good: a mythical national solution that's better than a state solution for what is fundamentally a state or local problem.
Oh, look at me, commenting when I said I wouldn't. Let's shut me up and move on.
A bunch of people proposed names for the new party. Here is what I've collected so far (it's possible I missed some; I wasn't careful enough at first about taking notes):
Civility Party ("members are 'civilians'; marketing writes itself")
People First Party
Family and Freedom Party
Life and Liberty Party
Christian Democratic Party (based on European parties of that name)
Localist Party(nearly everyone hates this)
Faith and Family Party
Fair Elections Party
Populist Party / Popular Party / People's Party
Party of Five
Keep 'em coming! I don't know when we'll pick a name, but, when we do, I think it'll be something the whole party participates in.