Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The NoMass Party

For those of you who hate the news, this blog brings an important update: Republican Scott Brown recent(-ish)ly won a special election for the Senate seat vacated by Ted Kennedy's death. This was a huge setback for Democrats, many of whom are reported to have "cried like colicky babies" because the loss of this one seat robs their party of its sixty-seat Senate "supermajority."

This, as it turns out, is a big deal, because as a democracy, the United States' official position on minorities that constitute less than 40% of the elected population is "Sorry, suckas." Brown's victory has upset the balance of power by shifting Republicans from "suckas" to the strong minority block needed to keep a filibuster on the floor, thus bringing Democrats' plans to a halt (which is, quite frankly, where the party's plans spend most of their time anyway--but I digress).

People whose salaries are paid by the Democratic Party aren't the only ones upset by the victory, though.

"It's definitely time for a change" says Vermont resident Walt Thompson. "I'm worried about how our country will turn out if Massachusetts keeps wielding so much power--have you ever seen how Boston is run?"

Thompson is not alone in his concern. A recent survey indicates that 38% percent of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine residents are "seriously ticked" that their neighbor to the south has taken the limelight once again, and that an additional 17% are "moderately pissed off."

Channeling the rage: Emily Belanger

That's where activist Emily Belanger comes in. She's the brains behind the newly-minted NoMass Party, which she claims will be the first viable third party in America in over a century. "The problem with recent attempts to form third parties" says Belanger, "is that they all try so hard to have a national appeal. What good is that? Even if you get 5% of the vote nationwide, that's still zero seats."

Belanger's plan for the NoMass Party is to focus exclusively on five small, independent-minded New England States: New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Assuming roughly equal votes for Republicans and Democrats, the NoMass Party will need only 40% of votes in each voting district to secure the region's 10 Senate seats and 12 seats in the House of Representatives. This seems particularly possible, since the area already has a strong history of electing independents--according to Belanger, talks with Joe Lieberman (I, CN) and Bernie Sanders (I, VT) about joining the NoMass Party are already underway.

The NoMass Party's core electoral strategy focuses on five states.

Is Belanger's plan viable? We checked with Ramesh Chatterjee of Rajput University to find out. He supplied us with the following numerical breakdown of the possible road ahead for the NoMass Party:

7.7 million residents in the five target states
2.3 million likely voters in the 2010 elections in the target region
900,000 votes needed to secure the 40% which is likely to seal across-the-board victories
=0.3% of the U.S. population's support needed to win 10% of the Senate and 12 key House seats for NoMass.

What would the NoMass Party do with 10 Senate and 12 House seats?

"We'd be the most powerful party in the country" says Belanger, with an offhanded sort of confidence. "Republicans and Democrats are famously unable to agree on anything. We'd be the dealmakers, offering our deciding votes for one party on one issue then the other on another in exchange for their support on some of our core issues. We won't pick favorites. In each case, the party willing to offer our constituents the greatest concessions will win."

All this sounds great for the party's planned 900,000 supporters in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island--but what about the rest of the country? "Losers can't be choosers" says Belanger, "but I think they'll be better off after NoMass moves the center of political power back out of Massachusetts."

"After all," she adds, "have you seen how they run things in Boston?"


  1. I did enjoy how Brown voted for universal health care as a state senator (Mitt Romney's plan no less) and then ran on a no-universal health care platfrom. Classy.

    The one state with universal health blocks the rest of the nation from the same. What times we live in.

  2. Dear Mr. Keely,

    I voted for Romney’s plan because I’m concerned about access to health care. Like him, though, I’mable to change my positions after profound experiences force me to see things anew.
    One day last fall, while shopping at WalMart for medications for my wife, I looked around at the people shopping at the pharmacy and suddenly had the profound realization that government programs won’t solve the healthcare crisis in our country. It will only be solved when the current insurance system collapses and doctors are forced to set up shop in little booths inside megastores.
    Naturally, I reversed my position and now look forward to the day when everyone in our society, Senators included, works for WalMart. Together, we can make it happen.


    Scott Brown

  3. The weird thing is that politics are so weird that your post seems absolutely logical.

  4. Just read a chapter from SuperFreakonomics in which the authors demonstrate that most highly effective medications and health treatments are actually fairly simple and inexpensive (for example, immunizations for polio vs. years in an iron lung). That nicely supports the WalMart approach to health care: we cannot do everything, but we can do something. We can offer $4 per month prescriptions, thereby causing nearly every pharmacy to do something similar. Imagine if every clinic, and every lab figured out what they could do inexpensively and did it, while carrying on as usual with everything else. Mr. Brown's WalMart epiphany may not be so far-fetched.

    And, while I am waxing political: has anyone explored the identification of endless debates in the House and Senate as a major contriutor to global warming? That is an awful lot of hot air being spewed forth.

    Aunt Sheila

  5. Aunt Sheila,

    I think you and (the presumably fake) Senator Brown are onto something. If the government worked to get some basic services available for bottom-line prices, it would put pressure on private competitors to provide slightly fancier alternatives for slightly higher prices. The idea wouldn't be to replace private healthcare, but to put pressure on to keep the basics cheap and earn profits by providing advanced services.

    I am not a doctor or an accountant--could someone tell me what would be wrong with such a plan?


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