Answers to frequently asked questions
Why not reform the Democratic Party?
- Working people understand that the entrenched corporate parties cannot be reformed. Billionaires and corporations write the policies. That’s why almost two out of every three Americans is now calling for a major new party, including an even greater number of young and working people. To bring real change to this country, we must stand with its working people.
- Party affiliation is near historic lows despite monumental efforts to bring people into the Democratic Party. The number of independents is now far larger than the number of Democrats or Republicans.
- The Democratic party does not operate democratically. A small number of party leaders, insiders, lobbyists, and superdelegates hold the decision making power. The Democratic Party argued in open court it has a complete right — protected by the first amendment — to nominate whichever candidate it chooses and has no obligation whatsoever to abide by primary election results. Party lawyers argued that since all voters know the primary is rigged, there is no fraud. After decades of relentless work at local, state, and national levels, it’s abundantly clear there is no internal mechanism for real change. In fact, the opposite is true. Enormous power comes to bear to prevent democratic change. The billionaires want their people running things.
- Only a tiny percentage of progressive candidates are able to successfully navigate the obstacles created by the Party. Those who win then face immense pressure to conform to the will of the Party elites. History shows that new progressives quickly drop their progressive mandate in exchange for committee appointments, support for their bills, assistance fending-off well-funded primary opponents, reelection support from establishment politicians, path to higher office, reelection, and continued income.
- Historically, independent parties have been instrumental in bringing about progressive change. That’s the missing ingredient in our progressive movement today. The Democratic party needs to be replaced by a new party that truly represents the working people, not the billionaires.
Why not join the Green Party or another existing party?
- A party’s name is its first impression and identity. It can lead people to see themselves reflected in the party and invite them to learn more, or it can convey that it is not for them. For an independent party to become a major party, people from all walks of life must be able to see themselves belonging to it from the start. That takes a party name and character that encompasses and invites everyone. “The People’s Party” is a statement in itself, that a political party must belong to the people, and that all are welcome. It also leads people to ask, “Who do the major parties belong to?”
- The Green Party’s name unfortunately leads many to view it as a niche environmental party that sidelines other pressing issues, like the cost of health care, housing and education. That means that fewer people identify with it and take the time to learn more. Legally it cannot change its name without starting the party over.
- The Green Party also has to start over with ballot access petition collection in most states every four years. It’s another reason that we might as well start over with a fresh and energetic new party. Because it has so few resources — an annual budget of about $300,000 and about three full-time staff equivalents — the Green Party spends all its energy getting ballot access and then has little left to run its campaigns. This means it’s stuck on a ballot access treadmill: running candidates who get one or two percent just to maintain ballot access and getting a reputation of being marginal in the process. It has been stuck in this cycle for so long that it no longer fights to win, but just to survive. We need a bold, decisive, and captivating party that resolves to become the next major party in America and ushers in a 21st-century progressive era.
- MPP’s mission is different from existing independent parties. We’re building a coalition of community organizations, student groups, unions, progressive groups, and others that can unite for a major new party. Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans want a major new party but are not enthused by existing independent parties.
- More than a hundred years of social science show that when progress stalls, it takes new parties and movements to shake things up and win. Left parties have existed for several decades in Europe and Latin America, but it wasn’t until a new generation of left parties came about in the last five years that they broke-through. The same happened in our country’s history. Abolitionist parties like the Free Soil Party and Liberty Party had existed for many years before the Republican Party, but it took a new party to finally breakthrough.
- It might seem intuitive to think that small parties that have been around for decades could grow and be more successful, but history indicates that it takes fresh new parties to captivate public imagination and succeed. New parties innovate, are more in sync with the historical moment, are technologically savvy, and inspire a sense of great possibility. They also come about at the right political moment, when the public is ready for a mass break with the establishment. They are free of the baggage of longstanding smaller parties, which come to be viewed as marginal and stale. Historically, longstanding small parties serve the role of inspiring and paving the way for new larger break-through parties.
- We bring professional political and organizational knowledge and skills from having worked on Democratic Party campaigns before setting out to build a major new people’s party. We also have the networks to bring over others who remain in the establishment parties. The early Republican Party succeeded because it drew over a large number of former Whig voters, elected officials, party officials. Having recently come from the Democratic Party helps us understand, communicate, and bring over other people and groups from the Democratic Party. It also gives us the personal connections to bring over elected officials and professional campaigners to help set up the party and run winning campaigns.
Won’t a new party split the vote? (The “spoiler effect”)
- Disenfranchised Americans are not voting. Millions of Americans choose to stay home, completely uninspired. They realize the corrupt, corporate, billionaire-approved candidates will never represent them. Only a new party built on the progressive views of the majority can inspire the turnout necessary to defeat the plutocrats’ agenda.
- Affiliation with the major parties has been declining for a decade. There are now far more Independents than Democrats or Republicans. If even half of progressives still tolerating the Democratic party and only half of Independents were to join the new party, it would be the largest party in America. What remained of the Democrats would become the spoiler!
How will the new party get on the ballot?
- Getting ballot access for a new party is a state-by-state process that generally requires collecting thousands to tens of thousands of petition signatures in each state.
- By building a coalition of aligned labor unions and progressive groups, we can add to our resources and make quick work of those signatures.
- The Green and Libertarian parties collect hundreds of thousands of signatures every four years for presidential ballot access. They do so with far fewer volunteers and resources than would be available with a coalition.
- In some states a petition isn’t necessary. A new party needs to reach only a certain minimum of registered party members. In Colorado for example, the threshold is registering 1,000 members to the party. This means that the new party could gain ballot access simply by connecting with voters and encouraging people to register as party members.
- MPP has already been working toward a ballot access via our Pledge Drive. Volunteers are asking communities across the country to pledge their support for a major new party for working people. When we’re ready to file for ballot access in a state, we’ll be ahead of the game with a database of pledges and we can accomplish it quickly.