Opinion | Tony Jones: A new party arrives to the elections

Tony Jones

So there’s a new political faction in Colorado. The Colorado Center Party is now officially a minor party thanks to garnering 1,000 voters who have affiliated themselves with the organization, and now that they have achieved this designation, they can host their own primary elections. They are hoping that, by reaching this milestone, they’ll be able to attract new candidates to run under their label because they won’t have to petition onto the ballot anymore.

Their platform is based on moderate politics and denounces the us versus them political rhetoric that is so common today at the state and national levels. On the Colorado Center Party’s website is listed a number of issues that are of concern to a moderate voter such as myself. This includes strengthening gun laws that “define what is allowed to be possessed and by whom”, ranked-choice voting, and environmental protectionism, among other issues. These are all causes that I think many Coloradans can get behind. And given how they track with the moderate agenda that No Labels put out, I do believe that these are ideals that appeal to the vast majority of Americans.

But joining a party, even if it’s the Colorado Center party, which may in fact very ably represent my political values, seems like a form of capitulation to party politics. After years being shackled to the GOP, I’m reluctant to hold my wrists out again. While there’s nothing that commands a person to vote solely along partisan lines upon joining a party, personally, I want to retain the sense of true independence of political thought and vote as I see fit without the baggage of a label pinned to my lapel.

Having stated that, I won’t shy away from voting for a Center party candidate either, if they truly reflect my values. Given the dominance of the Republican/Democrat cartel that hobbles our political systems at all levels, such a vote may in effect be a protest in support of greater variety within our political ecosystems. But that’s OK, because you get enough of those “protest” votes coming in and before you know it you have a real movement.

The major parties will argue against what they’ll view as upstarts because it dilutes the purity of their duopoly. They are in effect suggesting that we should trust their system as the best source of political thinking out there. They’ve had had plenty of time to prove the truth in that argument, but I haven’t seen much effective governance lately to convince me of the veracity of it.

The Colorado Center party represents an opportunity for more choice in Colorado’s politics. In almost all aspects of life, more choices equates to better outcomes for consumers. As things stand now, it’s certainly the case that less choice, as in only Democrat and Republican, has lost any effectiveness it once may have had in competently governing our country. The two-party system has become a jousting match between those parties in which one loses and one wins, with little to no compromise, cooperation or collaboration between them. In this system scoring political points for one side or against the other has become the goal, not doing the business of running our country.

It shouldn’t work like that. Parties should work with each other, not against each other, with each party’s platform providing balance and representation for their values in comparison to those of the other parties. The failure to do so has led to the rise of entities like the Center Party, No Labels, and the Freedom Party as something more than novelty acts that will soon fizzle and fade.

So, by all means, let’s see more political diversification within the American political system and get more ideas on the table. In an ideal system, all voices count and lawmakers are open to working with their counterparts of all political persuasions to reach goals that benefit all Americans. This, as opposed to inter-party animus that leads to government shutdowns and negatively affects the citizenry. A citizenry that deserves more than the same partisan bickering and finger pointing we’ve endured for decades now. Politics, it’s how the sausage is made, and sometimes it can be ugly, but who doesn’t love a little kielbasa or Jimmy Dean’s from time to time. And this may be one of the few cases perhaps where more cooks in the kitchen leads to a better outcome.

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