It’s time to establish the Moderate American Party, or MAP in the short-handed way we traditionally refer to political organizations in our country. Its logo? The American flag; no donkeys or elephants or other animal need be considered to represent this fledgling concept of a serious, thoughtful, legitimate third party.
If the current disruptive and divisive soap opera we’ve seen in Washington during the past few years, starring lawmakers and loudmouths from the two mainstream political ideological parties — Democrats and Republicans — is not enough to convince us we need a third option (if not more), then our democracy will continue to struggle.
We can’t afford to wait for the strategists of either traditional party to recognize the need to move their followers back to the middle of political thought and action. It would take too long, and given the damage Trump and the GOP (Grand Old Party, with an emphasis on old) has done to our country in just the past six months, there is an immediate need to end gridlock in Congress and many state legislatures across the country.
MAP, with Old Glory gracing its letterhead, Facebook and Twitter pages, will work from a mission statement focused on returning the halls of Congress to the voice of the people in the form of elected representatives intent on governing our country, not just winning elections. No more legislative roadblocks on key issues — think health care, environmental protection, job creation in today’s global economy — from either side of the political spectrum. MAP will provide a third option to break any deadlock and keep our government functioning.
Most importantly, no more Donald Trump and the Trump family dancing around the truth of what drives their love of all things Russian: maintaining their lavish lifestyle at the expense of our country’s future. MAPers won’t stand for it. Most if not all politically moderate Americans will immediately recognize an attack — electronic or otherwise — against our country and respond with vim, vigor and vitality (apologies to JFK) to repulse any threat to our democratic way of life.
Warning: If moderates come together under the MAP banner there will be an immediate attempt by leaders from both sides of the aisle to undermine this call for a third party, since it will threaten their stranglehold on power and purse strings — the riches of a life in politics. They will call organizers all sorts of names; they will paint the movement as extremists attacking the traditional, nay historical American way of life.
If that doesn’t work, they will try to laugh at MAP leaders, challenge their call and support for candidates as the work of “fringe” radicals who are single-issue driven and not experienced enough to govern the country.
Sure, the Tea Party attempted to create a third option but its leadership and fan base consisted of an extreme wing of the GOP. It failed to sustain an initial burst of support for an anti-establishment agenda. A main stumbling block for this effort was its my-way-or-the-highway philosophy of governing. The Tea Party created great campaign sound bites, talked a lot about ending gridlock in Washington and state capitals, but basically their rhetoric amounted to just another obstructionist voice in the body politic.
To avoid credibility challenges MAP leadership should come from established lawmakers of both mainstream parties or candidates with credentials that highlight a knowledge of American government past, present and future and its place in the global marketplace.
The recent congressional battle over health care showcased two potential MAP leaders — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bill Nelson (D-Florida). In the aftermath of the highly volatile repeal and replace, and then the repeal-only effort, they forged a partnership aimed at pulling representatives from the two warring political parties together to hammer out an acceptable course of action to fix the Affordable Care Act.
Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Adam Schiff (D-Ca), ranking members of the Senate and House intelligence committees, respectively, could provide strong voices to MAPs founding. As congressional investigations surrounding the Russian attack on our electoral process proceeded, these two lawmakers have shown a determination to provide information — through their respective committees — to the electorate about what happened during the presidential election last fall with respect to the Russians.
MAP could also benefit from Ohio Gov. John Kasich stepping out from under the GOP apparatus. His administrative skills on the state level have resulted in sound decisions based on what would benefit the people who elected him. The Buckeye State, in case you missed it, is doing well these days.
MAP, even with Old Glory providing patriotic image support, will only be as good as the people who step forward and commit to fighting legislatively for the fundamentals of our democracy outlined first in the Declaration of Independence and then the Constitution (as amended during the past 240-plus years). There will always be various views on what exactly our Founding Fathers meant in their creation of our country.
That’s a good thing because it allows for vigorous debate and the need by our elected representatives to determine what action will best support the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness by all Americans, not just what position they can take on an issue to create sound bites for a campaign to get elected or re-elected to a position of power and riches.
MAP should and must represent we the people, not the lobbyists and political party loyalists who currently hold our country hostage with their just-say-no approach to government.