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It’s Time for a New Party (And Why Third Parties Lose), by Waleed Shahid

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In this piece, Waleed Shahid calls on progressives to form a left variation of the Tea Party.

“Instead of attempting to grab hold of the Sanders base in one swift move, progressive organizations should ask themselves what role they can play in the next stage of the political revolution and its developing network. Many organizations exist within the Tea Party network: Americans for Prosperity, Tea Party Patriots, FreedomWorks, Tea Party Express, etc. But the institutions that make up the Tea Party network are not the same thing as the participatory Tea Party movement. While virtually anyone can claim to be a member of the Tea Party, not everyone can be a member of hugely influential organizations like Americans for Prosperity or FreedomWorks. Institutions in the Tea Party network have helped incubate, launch, finance, and ultimately engage directly in “member-led” campaigns based on their comfort level, something labor organizer Stephen Lerner has been pitching progressives for years. While most of these conservative institutions play a critical role in the Tea Party network, none of these institutions have a unilateral ability to command, control, or stop grassroots activity….

In the vocabulary of the contemporary left: elections are also the most ripe stage for intersectional politics, since competitive candidates must speak to broad constituencies on a variety of issues in order to form an electoral majority. Any sort of new party will limit itself if it only resonates with a small set of constituencies. But such a “party” requires not a laundry list of grievances and identities that the framework of intersectionality can sometimes lead to, but a new collective identity and compelling narrative–an “us”–that is much greater than the sum of its parts.”

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