Fire the crackpots of Congress! (And replace them with new crackpots!)

If you’re interested in another crackpot desperate to upend the orthodoxy, to dislocate the criminals of capitalism and imperialism, try Cindy Sheehan, the scourge of George W. Bush and author of a recently self-published monograph honoring ex-authoritarian Hugo Chavez: she’s running for governor of California as the Socialist Party’s candidate. “Of course, even though there is just a hairbreadth of difference between the two parties,” Sheehan wrote recently on her blog, “what partisans are saying is that what they really want is a One Party State.” And if you’re keeping score, she too is a 9/11 “truther.”

America, these are your third-party candidates, a cast so outraged by the atrophying of American democracy that they now demand it be replaced by various types of bizzaro utopianism.

And the time is ripe for them. According to Gallup, “60 percent of Americans say the Democratic and Republicans parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed.” A recent USA Today poll, taken after the shutdown debacle, suggests that more than half of Americans want everyone in Congress ejected, possibly to be replaced by an army of non-partisan robots. A new Fox News poll captured America’s longing for a new Ross Perot, with 64 percent considering “voting for a third party presidential candidate.”

When one considers the array of ideas and sub-ideologies contained within the two major parties, one must also ask: what are we desperately missing? Who would these third parties be? If the Republican Party is in the throes of a civil war, perhaps the Tea Party wing will defect and form a Liberty Party (or some such). When the next rupture in the Democratic Party arrives, perhaps the Keith Ellison and Alan Grayson brigades will create the Henry Wallace Party. In other words, the same ideas we have now, fractured and placed under a different banner.

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