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Whose American Party Is This Anyway?

In South Carolina a few days ago, Jill Bossi announced that she is running for Congress this year, not with the Republican Party or with the Democratic Party, but as a member of the American Party.

The American Party? Hey, I’m an American. Does that mean I’m a member of the American Party?

No, actually, very few Americans are members of the American Party – less than a hundredth of one percent of the population. So, if almost no Americans are actually affiliated in any way with the American Party, where do Jill Bossi and her small cohort of allies get the idea that they can claim the name “American” for their political party?

A clue comes from an article about Bossi written yesterday by Richard Winger over at Ballot Access News. The article asserts that the American Party is “a centrist party”. Perhaps if the candidates of the American Party occupy the center of the political spectrum, they think they can claim to represent all of America. This idea is supported by the American Party of South Carolina’s own statement that they support “common ground public-policy”.

But then, what is common ground public policy these days? Here’s the 8-point platform that the American Party of South Carolina claims is common ground.

1. Decrease the National debt while ensuring a strong national defense and essential social programs through a deliberate, balanced, and comprehensive approach that will not do damage to our economic recovery. (e.g. Simpson/Bowles Plan)

2. Create a strong, choice-driven public school system that encourages innovation, rigor, and success for all children with an increased emphasis on early childhood education.

3. Create an efficient, effective health care system that emphasizes preventative care and encourages healthy lifestyles for all Americans.

4. Reform Campaign Funding by doing away with the effects of the Supreme Court ruling (e.g. Citizens United) by legislation and/or amendment; requiring immediate and total transparency; and posting all donors and amounts regardless of source within five business days of receipt.

5. Reform Ethics Legislation by requiring the disclosure of all sources of income as a candidate and as an elected official. Have stand-alone ethics commissions at state and federal levels to investigate, enforce, and discipline.

6. Provide strong, unequivocal support for the Second Amendment- coupled with responsible, reasonable regulations and programs. (e.g. strong, universal background check system and better mental health diagnosis and treatment.)

7. Initiate comprehensive tax reform to acquire a simpler, fairer tax system that supports economic growth and encourages work, savings and investment.

8. Implement a comprehensive immigration policy that provides a responsible pathway to citizenship, encouragement of high skill and high knowledge immigration, employer accountability, and a strengthened national border.

Are these common ground positions?

In platform point 1, I notice that national defense spending gets to remain “strong”, while social programs are reduced merely to what is “essential”. That’s not a common ground public policy. It’s pro-defense, and neglectful of domestic spending. Besides, the Simpson/Boles plan has failed to establish political common ground. It’s been a player in the messy budget battles in Washington D.C.

In platform point 2, the American Party promotes a “choice” based public school system. That’s an idea that has been highly controversial across the United States, not a point of political unity. The idea that Congress would establish national rules for choice is also not a point of political agreement for Americans.

In platform point 3, the American Party proposes creating a health care system. Will this be a nationally coordinated system? If so, the Republicans will detest it. If not, what will it be? A system run by gnomes? The American Party never explains.

In platform point 4, the American Party seeks legislation to overturn the Citizens United Supreme ruling, but many on the American right reject that idea. Along the same lines, many in the right wing reject disclosure of donations, as proposed in platform point 5. These sound like nice ideas, but they’re not common ground. They’re not centrist.

Platform point 6 urges unequivocal support for the Second Amendment. Many Americans don’t agree with this political position.

Platform point 7 promotes a “tax system that supports economic growth and encourages work, savings and investment”. They call this tax system “fair”, but traditionally, the term Fair Tax has been used to promote right wing, pro-corporate tax policies. Does a tax policy that encourages savings and investment mean lowering the capital gains tax? That’s not a common ground position in America.

sick and tired of politicsPlatform point 8 calls for a strengthened national border, but there is not political agreement in America that the national borders need strengthening. Two years ago, the net migration from Mexico to the United states declined to zero.

So, where’s that common ground the American Party of South Carolina promised? Here it is, in this photograph, in which the founders suggest that they’re “sick and tired of politics”. Yes, they’re sick of politics, which is why they’re creating a political party to support political candidates running political campaigns for political office in order to enact a political platform.

How very sincere.

Realistically, how could Jill Bossi, or any other member of the American Party of South Carolina, maintain a centrist position in Congress? They claim to support only the political issues expressed in their platform, but what would congressional members of this political party do when legislation dealing with other issues comes up for a vote? Would they simply not vote at all? That’s not a neutral, centrist position – it helps to defeat the legislation being voted on. Centrism in action isn’t possible in America. Politics requires actually standing for something, and in our country, there are few issues that most people really agree upon.

As for the American Party, the South Carolinians who claim to have recently established this institution can’t even assert common ground status for that simple factual point. The name of the American Party is already taken by a Tea Party organization that complains about “media Marxists”. So much for centrism.

1 comment to Whose American Party Is This Anyway?

  • Dave

    “Centrism in action isn’t possible in America.” Couldn’t agree more, it’s such a thing of one’s perception. Americans voted for the centrist Clinton, centrist Bush, centrist Obama. Candidates, left and right, have to obfuscate their true agenda in order to fool the people, and a “debate” between any two political positions comes down to “I won’t expose your agenda if you won’t expose mine.” It’s the only reason why there can be a debate between two candidates for President, for example, and afterward nobody can figure out who “won”.

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