Does Virginia Want or Need a Third Party?

Gallup recently released a poll that shows 60% of Americans think a third party is needed.  This was the highest number of American voters on record as saying it’s time for a viable third party since they started including the question in their surveys.  That is going back a whopping 10 years!

The belief is that right now Americans think both Republicans and Democrats are doing a poor job representing the American people.  Only 26% think the two major parties do an adequate job of representing their citizens.

The last time the dissatisfaction was this high was in 2010.  It was shortly before the midterm elections when the Tea Party movement was emerging as a major force.

I think the key here is to find out what people want.  They don’t think these two parties are cutting it.  But why?

My personal opinion is each party is catering too much to the extremists and Americans want a party that falls more in the middle.

Democrats have to go extremely liberal to win any party nomination.  Conservatives seem to go so far right on the issues that they turn away most independents.

What would a moderate party look like?  There are millions of middle of the road voters, but they don’t agree on all parts of the middle.

How big do most people want government to be?  Do they want massive budgets for social matters?  Raising their taxes in the process?

Do they want minimal government interference and the lower taxes that go along with it?

The truth of the matter is that we need more detailed information.  There are plenty of times members of both parties get tired of the extremes.

You have to remember that when going through the Presidential primaries each candidate has to cater to those extremists.  They push themselves a little more towards the edges than even they are probably comfortable with.

Then once it’s time for the national election they try to work themselves back to the middle.  They know the party extremists would rather die than vote for the other side, so they are desperate to get the middle of the road crowd to head to their side.

Could Bernie Sanders be less liberal?  I doubt it.  This is why Hillary Clinton will win the nomination and when she does be a force come November.  I’m not surprised at all that she’s the Presidential odds favorite.

However, we’ve seen independents run before.  None of them have done well in recent memory.  Ross Perot garnered just 19% of the popular vote and basically gave Bill Clinton the Presidency.

I don’t think Americans will really back a third party in the near future.


1778 – Outlawing Slave Importation

On October 5, 1778, Virginia became the first Commonwealth in the world to outlaw the importation of slaves into her sovereign boundaries.  It was a penal offense to import any slaves.  Any slaves who were imported into Virginia thenceforward were categorically free.

It wasn’t the first effort to draft such legislation.  Virginia had previously tried multiple times to end the slave trade before America’s independence.  However, royal governors vetoed any taxes on importation and assent was never given to the assembly’s efforts.

On March 20th, 1772, the General Assembly crafted an address to King George III urging him to allow the royal governors to execute anti-slave trade laws passed by the General Assembly.  However, nothing was done.

Once the Revolutionary War begin in 1775, you might have expected Virginia to table the issue.  The British had blockaded the trade anyway so no new slaves were being imported.

But, Virginians did not delay.  They were determined to enact anti-slave laws now that they finally had their independence.

The following law was soon passed:

“For preventing the farther importation of slaves into this commonwealth, Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That from and after the passing of this act no slave or slaves shall hereafter be imported into this commonwealth by sea or land, nor shall any slaves so imported be sold or bought by any person whatsoever.

“Every person hereafter importing slaves into this commonwealth contrary to this act shall forfeit and pay the sum of one thousand pounds [about $168,000 today] for every slave so imported, and every person selling or buying any such slaves shall in like manner forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred pounds [about $84,000] for every slave so sold or bought, one moiety [half] of which forfeitures shall be to the use of the commonwealth, and the other moiety to him or them that will sue for the same, to be recovered by action of debt or information in any court of record.

“And be it farther enacted, That every slave imported into this commonwealth, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, shall, upon such importation become free.”

It took 10 years before Massachusetts would pass a similar law ending the slave trade for their citizens.  The delay was due to the trade being far more lucrative for their citizens.

Slavery did not come to an end in Virginia.  This didn’t mean Virginians wanted a complete abolition of the institution.

In the 19th century, Virginia became an export state.  They sold portions of their vast population of slaves to the more southern states.  The southern states were growing fast and labor intensive crops like cotton and sugar cane led to a huge demand for labor.

But, you have to give Virginia some credit.  Other states allowed the slave trade to continue after gaining independence.  Even the federal constitution allowed it.  But, Virginia did not like the foreign slave trade.  They felt it was evil and a threat to the moral fiber of their civilization.