Kurt Andersen proposes the Purple Party in New York Magazine. Andersen typically votes for Democrats nationally, often without entheusiasm, and socially liberal Republicans in New York. He describes what he would like to see in a new moderate party. The Carpetbagger Report does a fine job in summing up this long article by noting he wants a party “that’s fiscally responsible, supports single-payer health care, will fight a genuine war on terrorists but recognizes that the war in Iraq was a mistake, takes the separation of church and state seriously, and is pro-environment, pro-choice, pro-trade, pro-science, and pro-diversity.”
This sounds quite a bit like much of the current Democratic Party and absolutely nothing like the Republicans. Why does he need a third party. He believes “what makes so much of the great middle of the electorate most uncomfortable about signing on with the Democratic Party is the same thing that has made them uncomfortable since McGovern — the sense that the anti-military instincts of the left half of the party, no matter how sincere and well meaning, render prospective Democratic presidents untrustworthy as guardians of national security.”
Here we see the great success of the Republicans at spreading misinformation. Demonization and negative campaigning works–and is about the only thing that Republicans are good at.
Republicans win elections partially by getting people who agree with Democrats on most issues to have a vague notion that something is wrong with Democrats which prevents them from really voting for Democrats. In this case it is the myth that Democrats (the winners of two World Wars) are weak on security. For others it is the feeling that Democrats are quasi-socialists who will tax them out of their standard of living.
Democrats are the Kerry campaign on a larger scale. Kerry is often criticized for failing to get out his message and other vague complaints. Before knocking Kerry (or previously Gore or Dukakis) for this, keep in mind that the entire party has the same failings. This is the effect of the Republican Noise Machine to spread misinformation and give voters a false view of any Democrat running.