Posted by | October 23, 2010 10:46 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Mark McKinnon, a longtime Republican adviser, nailed critical problems with the evolution of politics in the US recently, although I may not  fully agree with his conclusions.

The “mainstream media is dying,” McKinnon stated, and as a result, politicians like Sarah Palin who use social media are able to have complete control over their media image, and do not have to answer to a larger media entity that would hold them accountable and ask them questions.

Elections are being reshaped by the “increasing influence of outside money,” McKinnon said. “Campaigns are being outspent” by unions and special interests. As a result, “voters don’t feel like they can effect elections anymore.” McKinnon said that he is a “strong advocate” of election reform.

McKinnon predicts that a third party will rise in 2012.  While I think he nails the problems, I’m less confident about his ability to predict the future.  I see two scenarios leading to a third party (a real party, not a rich person running for president), neither particularly plausible.

1. The Republicans win a majority but do little to advance the agenda of their tea party constituents.  The tea partiers bolt and nominate DeMint or Palin to run to the right of the Republican nominee.  I don’t think this is plausible because the tea partiers have been jerked around by Republicans for decades and there is no reason to think they’ll wake up with a few more years of such.

2. The Republicans lose and the mainstreamers blame the tea partiers for O’Donnell, Angle, and Paul.  The tea-partiers blame the rest of the party for not being crazy enough.  I think the Republicans will win enough elections (particularly at the state level) to forestall this donnybrook.

So while a third party would be a nice thing for political discourse, I don’t see it happening.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.