(TL;DR at bottom of post)Introduction
A long-running debate among American socialists is whether or not they should run for public office as Democrats or as third parties. The main argument from those who advocate for running as Democrats is that is nearly impossible to win elections on a third party ballot, while the main argument from those who advocate running as third parties is that running as Democrats will inevitably dilute a given candidate's radicalism and cause them to sell out to the political establishment. While there is merit to both arguments, the fact of the matter is that neither strategy has yielded much success. The United States is still locked in a two-party system, with neither of those parties representing the working class.
I know of at least one proposal that has been made to reconcile these two approaches, that being the dirty break strategy. The dirty break strategy proposes that socialists run as Democrats until they are strong enough to be able to win elections on third party tickets, at which point they would switch to a third party. However, I have so far seen neither any serious effort to carry out this strategy nor any specific criteria for when the "dirty break" should be made.
With these issues in mind, I would like to propose a new (or at least new to me) strategy: pseudo-parties. How does a pseudo-party operate? Two main parts: running on a Democratic Party ticket (at least most of the time) and strict control of elected pseudo-party members by the pseudo-party.Strict control of elected officials
One issue that seems to exist with most or all elected progressive Democrats right now is that they generally seem to be reluctant to play hardball with the Democratic Party establishment. While right-wing Democrats, like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, are willing to torpedo bills backed by the Democratic Party and force concessions, progressive Democrats, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, seem more reluctant to do so. The Force-the-Vote drama from a few months back is one example of this. My suspicion here is that they have little incentive to play hardball — the political cost (estrangement from the Democratic Party establishment) is too high and the political gain too low (likely to be re-elected whether they play hardball or not).
My pseudo-party proposal aims to increase the incentive Post too long. Click here to view the full text.