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The Myth of a “Viable” Third Option

By nivekbr | Policy, Not Politicians | 2 Nov 2020

It’s all about placation


Of all of the memes circulating in the fake-progressive propagandasphere of the Democratic establishment and their followers, I think one of the most insidious is the idea that we just have to wait for a “viable third option.” It may have started out as a genuine sentiment, but it definitely seems to have been co-opted. I’m not saying that the Republicans haven’t benefited as well, but particularly in recent years, it seems to be the Democrats that stand to gain the most, or think they do.

Perhaps you’ve heard the line “Bernie was the compromise.” Maybe that sounds radical to you, but I’m not the only one saying that today’s Democrats are more like Republicans. As I’ve pointed out before, Obama even said so himself. Despite this, the right continues to attack them as “radical leftists.” Allow me to show you how far off that is from reality.

For starters, take a look at how many of the same policies both parties support: mass surveillance (from policeintelligence agencies, and corporations), net neutrality (rather, the lack thereof), money in politics, endless wars for corporate profit, unjust policing and over-imprisonment, a terrible for-profit healthcare system, and the list goes on.

Next, we’ll look at some charts from I’m not saying this website is the be-all and end-all of political discourse, but I do think they’ve done a good job. It’s certainly useful for our purposes. Note that these charts are theirs, not mine, and their website has some pretty good info about what goes into their process. Positions in these charts are determined based on “reports, parliamentary voting records, manifestos … and actions that speak much louder than words.”

Up first, we have a chart for the 2020 US election, including most of the primary candidates:


Image from


Next, we have a similar chart for the 2004 presidential election:


Image from


It’s a little harder to read the second chart because of the lack of a grid, but you can see that Biden is roughly the same policy-wise as George W. Bush in 2004. You may also note that despite Sanders being so often described as radical, he is actually far from it. There are no actual radicals in mainstream American politics.

As Mehdi Hasan points out in The Intercept, the policy positions of supposed “radicals” like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders are more in line with what the majority of Americans actually want than those of the out-of-touch billionaires like Michael Bloomberg or career politicians like Amy Klobuchar who typically get foisted on the public as “moderates.” Furthermore, this idea so many have of an American “center” doesn’t really exist.

One of the key issues that often comes up in this discussion is healthcare. It turns out that Medicare for All or some other single-payer system are incredibly popular with voters. So are the ideas of tuition-free college and eliminating student debt. It seems to follow that Sanders would have been perfectly “viable.”

As many have pointed out, Joe Biden and the Democratic establishment give us nothing to actually vote for. The majority of people who say they’re voting for Biden also say that they’re only doing so because he’s “not Trump.” That doesn’t sound too viable to me.

It seems as though the problem isn’t “viability,” but that the establishment and their friends in the media don’t want to upset the status quo.



Originally published on Medium.

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Mountain hermit turned rabble rouser. Maker of strange noises. Deeply disturbed, but not surprised. He/him.

Policy, Not Politicians
Policy, Not Politicians

Looking past the cults of personality that have come to dominate US politics.

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