You are viewing the print version of this article. Click here to view the full version.
Columbia Missourian

New York election may signal rise of third political party

By David Rosman
November 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

Watertown, N.Y., is a wonderful place to live. Its 27,000 residents enjoy the beauty and solitude of upstate New York and Lake Ontario. Major universities are within a two-hour drive. It is the definition of a New England town, with its wonderful fall colors and church steeple standing guard. (Yes, New York is, or at least was, considered part of the original New England.)

It is the western city in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Tuesday, it was the epicenter of a new revolt in America, the growing rift within the GOP. It was the vote heard around the world.


Related Media

Related Articles

The 23rd Congressional District held a special election for a vacant House seat. Three candidates were on the original ticket, Democrat Bill Owens, Republican Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Doug Hoffman.

“Wait a minute,” you say. “Aren’t the Republicans the conservative movement?”

Nope. A growing faction in the Republican Party believes its members are not conservative enough. That faction is led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, now the chairman of the uber-conservative FreedomWorks and a motivational speaker at Tea Party Patriot rallies.

FreedomWork’s mission is to “fight for lower taxes, less government and more economic freedom for all Americans.” They will accomplish this by using “aggressive, real-time campaigns (to) activate a growing and permanent volunteer grassroots army to show up and demand policy change.”

Read “militaristic uber-conservatism.”

FreedomWorks' “aggressive, real-time campaigns” had an immediate effect on the 23rd Congressional race. Moderate Scozzafava withdrew from contention on Oct. 31. On Nov. 1, she gave her support to …  Owens, the Democrat. It was the newest battle in what some are calling the “Great Republican Civil War.” Conservative Hoffman put up a good fight but, lo and behold, the Democrat won. Scozzafava still received 6,374 votes.

The Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races were also declared by the media as Democrat versus neo-conservative. Conservatives won both. Can these races also be seen as a symbol of the growing divide in the GOP and a possible referendum on President Obama’s support?

You betcha. They were about bad leadership from the executive offices (read the Obama administration).

Or maybe not. The gubernatorial races were about bad state executive office leadership. The only election that could possibly be seen as a “referendum” would be the New York 23rd Congressional district race. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos believes that all political factions will find a “win” in the results. Poor George, it must hurt sitting on that picket fence. But I’m there with him.

Tuesday’s elections did show the renewed fighting between uber-conservatives, born in the Reagan administration, and the uber-liberals, fathered by FDR. Both are vying for the moderate Republican and Democratic votes.

Does this also signal the renewed battle of who is more conservative, strengthening the liberal arm of the Dems? Does this signal the death of the Grand Old Party and a shift in the Democratic Party to more left than moderate?

Why should Middle America care? After all, big city folks are liberal; small-town and rural America is conservative. Not exactly. For more than a century, New York City’s mayors have been loyal conservatives and, according to the National Association of Mayors, though almost all local races are “nonpartisan,” about 40 percent of small-town mayors say they are liberal.

Or does this signal what disenfranchised voters have been demanding for years, a third political party? With the number of angered moderates from both sides, we may be seeing a shuffling in the American political system. We may see the birth of the Republicrats … or Democans … or the Eclectics, the “we are the purple, social liberal, fiscal conservative party.”

This means that you, patriotic voting-age American, must oil that wheel and let the hamsters out, or stoke the fire and create some stream, or just put your brain in gear and do something we seem to dislike – think and make a political decision. Conservative, middle-of-the-road or liberal? You have one year to decide.

Ah, the wanting of the good ol’ days when you voted for liberal or conservative, peace or war, segregation or integration, rights or restrictions, public health and education or privatization, deficit or surplus. Times have changed, huh?

David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics.  Read his blog at  He welcomes your comments at