(Previous page: Policy Program)
Any strategy for political action in the United States must confront the “two party” system. The two largest political parties are advantaged by current election laws and aggressively defend themselves against challenges from alternative parties and candidates. The usual strategies therefore fall into three categories, each with its own problems:
- Work within one of the two dominant parties. Lots of money in necessary to sustain a large party and to compete with its rival party in elections. As a result dominant parties rely heavily on big donors and bend toward their interests. They must also appeal to large masses of people and so tend to waffle on issues which might alienate some set of voters. While working within a dominant party it is a constant battle to challenge moneyed interests or raise contentious issues as a matter of principle.
- Work within an alternative party. Due to our election laws alternative parties have a very difficult time maintaining ballot access and winning partisan elections. They are often tarred with the “spoiler” label which drives away potential voters and members. For these reasons it is nearly impossible for alternative parties to break out of their marginalized position.
- Work outside the electoral system. Some groups work outside the election system by lobbying officials, supporting citizen initiatives, or participating in marches, rallies and demonstrations. These groups usually focus on a single issue area or constituency despite the interconnectedness of issues. In trying to build relationships with those in office they often become dependent on one of the dominant parties. Activists can become overwhelmed choosing among events sponsored by multiple groups competing for attention and support.
Social Advance will follow a different strategy from the usual ones as listed above. Like a political party it will have a broad policy agenda and focus on electoral politics, but unlike a party it will not seek ballot access for itself. Instead it will support candidates from any party or independent (“unaffiliated”) candidates as will best help advance its agenda. Members will be able to work within a party if they choose to while also working with Social Advance to challenge dominant party candidates when strategically advisable.
Our immediate plan is to adopt a simple constitution and institute an initial Board of Directors. We will then begin accepting members who are attracted to our aims. In mid-2018 we hope to hold a membership meeting to replace the initial board with an elected board and determine further steps. Depending on resources, such steps could include:
- Establishing chapters in one or more locations;
- Investigating candidates for the November elections, rating them, and publicizing our findings;
- Developing a fund raising plan;
- Conducting and disseminating research on select policy proposals; or
- Building alliances with other groups.
We invite you to contact us to begin discussing and working together toward a better future.