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American Party

Posted: October 15, 2013 9:23 a.m.
Updated: October 16, 2013 5:00 a.m.

History hasn’t been kind to third-party movements in this country, but that’s not deterring two South Carolinians -- one with Democratic roots and the other with a Republican background -- from trying to launch the American Party, which they contend can be a viable alternative to the two majority parties. Jim Rex, who was superintendent of education in this state, and Oscar Loveless, a physician who once ran for governor, think voters need another option. In light of the gridlock in which our Congress has become mired, that’s not a bad idea. The odds are long against the success of such an effort, but it’s worth a try, for more and more people are fed up with the direction of politics.

Rex points out that third-party options in the past have tended not to be centrist and he believes the American Party can appeal to people who are politically moderate and willing to listen to both sides of an issue. Increasingly, elected officials haven’t shown much of an inclination to do that. Ironically, the comments of a political science professor at the University of South Carolina, Mark Tompkins, provide a perfect reason for a need for such an alternative. Tompkins says it’s difficult for people to take third parties seriously because they ask what candidates would be attempting to do in a third party that they couldn’t achieve in their own parties. Therein lies the problem: many reasonable, centrist people can’t achieve things within the current framework because Republicans are dominated by the hard right and Democrats by the hard left.

The American Party is an interesting concept. Despite the long odds against it, we hope it will be successful enough to at least give the two major entities pause.

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