So how does one get one's personal issues to the forefront of politics with these two political giants out there being blinded by other issues? My idea has always been forming a third party. The Swing Party.
If the Democrats have 51% of the vote, and the Republicans have 49%, we don't need to grab 33% of the vote to make them pay attention. All we need is that 2% difference to make each side know they need to cater to our needs to get our support. The Green Party has that 1% or 2% quite often, but they squander it by devoting their votes to their own candidate who has no chance of winning. If instead they let it be known that they would support either a Democrat or a Republican that promises to uphold Green Ideals, they then get the candidates fighting for that 1%-2% that could make the difference, and hopefully BOTH candidates agree to support your ideals. So either the swing vote or a guaranteed win for your issue. All with a small but noticable minority.
My third party isn't the Green party, however. It is a moderate party devoted to fiscal responsibility. In the past, the Republicans were fiscally responsible and the Democrats were big spenders. Now adays military spending is through the roof and Howard Dean speaks of being more fiscally responsible. Who knows when it will flip back. The only solution I have is to form a political party based on Fiscal Responsibility and getting both parties to fight for whatever swing vote I can get together.
The plan would be simple
1) Get as many people registered for the Third Party (or whatever it is called) as possible.
2) Make a platform that is simple and focuses only on the issues that matter to those involved. In this case it would involve spending control and fiscal responsibility.
3) Communicate this platform to both the Republicans and the Democrats clearly
4) Rate candidates in different races based off of how well they adhere to the Third Party platform. Include research into past decisions for incumbants, and make it all fit into an easily interpretable scale with some grey areas in the middle.
5) Get a reputation for the entire Third Party voting along those ratings, letting people know that they are throwing away that 1%-2% if they do not put some effort into catering to the Third Party platform.
6) With a reputation for being a deciding factor, grow. This would be both in members of the Party and the scope of the platform, provided those involved in the Party can accept new planks without causing too much internal strife.
At first there would be no need to actually win elections, but eventually we would want people in the House and Senate so we can be the swing vote there as well. Make it so every bill written knows that it will lose a couple of votes guaranteed if it doesn't have an accurate and fiscally responsible budget associated with it. Make it so neither party has 51%, so neither feels comfortable writing extremist policies it thinks it can ram through the congress on the strength of its majority.
Victory would not be a Third Party President. Victory would be all candidates addressing Third Party needs, knowing that without them they cannot win. I think the Third Party would form a bridge in the ever widening gap between Republicans and Democrats. I think it would give the Moderate view a little more of a voice. It would make it so it isn't us and them, but just those of us we agree more with and those of us we agree less with.
I think it is possible.