One should only read the Whig papers

A letter by Michael Burger ran in Wednesday evening’s edition of the Grand Rapids (Minn.) Herald-Review declaring the organization of the Modern Whig Party. Burger cited the need to reconstitute the Whigs, defunct since 1856, because of partisanship in Washington and the Independence Party being a state party instead of a national one. He reminds us that Minnesota’s first territorial governor, Alexander Ramsey, was a proud Whig. I’ve since learned that a similar letter was published in other Minnesota papers.

I’ve seen the Modern Whig literature online (logo at right). Something about seeing it printed in a bi-weekly newspaper in northern Minnesota reinforced the Herculean task facing any third party in America, even when dissatisfaction with the major parties is high. It is perhaps a fitting metaphor that it’d be the Whigs to try a reboot. They fell apart because of regionalism, internal disagreement and disorganization — all barriers for any third party today.

On the other hand, is that a bigger barrier than the Democratic Party growing a spine, developing a plausible vision and organizing better? Is that a bigger barrier than the Republican Party becoming more tolerant to the new demographic and social reality of the United States or tamping down its current ideological radicalism? Those are both tall orders, too.

I do concede that I enjoy the owl.

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