By Lloyd Sloan, St Louis, Missouri 2024 March 14
Co-Founder No MO Sales Tax (July 2013)
MO CD2 coordinator for Ron Paul 2012 campaign
“Sloan Ranger Show” WGNU 920AM (2001-2007, drive time)
Harvard ’78 (two years after RFK)

– edited by P.C. Bosco (note: the term ‘Upper Left’ does not refer to a Left (or Right) leaning ideology.

The Easy Case for Kennedy (Not Biden, Not Trump)

Seventy percent of Americans do not want a Biden-Trump rematch. [1] For them, the argument to vote for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is somewhat trivial: he is not Joe Biden, and he is not Donald Trump. Case closed (do not laugh; No Labels has raised considerable cash on that basis alone, with NOTHING more to offer than TBD.) In addition, the rising tide of dissatisfied independents has reached another record high. [2]

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. declared independence from the Two-Party System (TPS) in a Philadelphia speech on October 9, 2023. [3] So at least THIS bridge has been crossed. And rightly so! (RFK is ahead of Ron/Rand Paul, and Bernie Sanders, and many others in this regard.) I would like to see RFK further explain WHY we need to “dissolve the political bands”, beyond observing that Democrats rig their pre-season games. If voters should leave the TPS for RFK, then why not also for other candidates? Why NOT support “Kennedy Independents” for Congress? And isn’t that equivalent to building an entirely new political party? What is the difference?

Of course there is still time for further explanation. We often forget that leaving England was just the start in 1776. It remained to win a difficult war and accomplish a still greater task: to build a new nation. It took 11 years from the Declaration of Independence to the proposed Constitution. It can appear inevitable looking back, but divorce does not guarantee the next marriage will be better.  

What do “Independents” Want? An Upper-Left Answer

Who are these independent voters who swing most every election? They share but one obvious attitude: they are expressly disassociated from, and presumably dissatisfied with, our so-called (“donkey-elephant”) Two-Party System. This tells us what independents do not want, but nothing about what they do want.  

I am one of these self-identified independent voters (with the votes to prove it), and I am Upper Left, which I shall now explain further. 

This Equality-Freedom (“E-F”) Political Map illustrates America’s “Two-Party System” [4]. It is based on the two most important questions (dimensions) in politics: Equality: Is wealth too unequal? Freedom: Is the government too big? Two Yes/No questions result in a four-quadrant diagram in two dimensions: 

  • X (horizontal): The “traditional” Left-Right x-axis (called left-right since the French Revolution) that emphasizes Equality and Class (poor v. rich since Aristotle, important to FDR “progressives”) 
  • Y (vertical): An “extra” Up-Down y-axis that emphasizes Freedom and size/role of government  (since at least the American Revolution 1776 Declaration, important to Reagan “conservatives”)  

The KEY insight from the diagram is that the UPPER-LEFT has NO party. These neglected voters of the Upper-Left are likely the “independents” and “swing” voters. They are likely the people looking for RFK (and others) as an alternative.

Polls have reported over many years that 60-72% of Americans believe government has grown too powerful [5] and about 67% believe wealth has grown too unequal. [6] Such clear majority numbers help explain why 60% of Americans wanted a new party in 2014, which looks again like the neglected Upper-Left. [7]  

  • The “WINGS”: The extreme wings in both parties include the lower-left “socialist” faction of the Democrats and the upper-right “libertarian” faction of the Republicans. These are indeed polar opposites on the map, although each quadrant is obviously large and includes a lot of variety.
  • The “CENTER”: The two parties come together in the “uni-party” lower-right; they support Big Business/Big Government partnership. (Mussolini coined the word “fascism” to describe a “middle ground” between [lower] left/Marxist Communism and [upper] right/unbridled Capitalism.) 

Many Americans (including RFK) see the “traditional” Left-Right spectrum as broken. The labels Left-Right are rarely defined and more often used as “donkey-elephant” tribal warfare name-calling.  

The E-F map provides a welcome fix with a simple, historically accurate, definition for Left-Right: Those who believe wealth inequality is excessive are on the Left, those who do not are on the Right. (It is not about abortion, environment, flag-waving, guns, military budgets, transgender people, etc.).

Yet bringing sense to Left-Right is not enough. Not all Democrats are leftists, for example. And while all the Republicans are on the conservative right, not all favor small government. The E-F map makes this quite easy to see.  

My suggestion: whenever you hear some pundit (or neighbor) ranting against those left-wing or right-wing extremists, ask them: Is that Upper or Lower Left? Upper or Lower Right? The non-centrist Republicans and Democrats in their polarized quadrants need to see that half the people they rail against are generally just as much in their own party! (Hint: look lower right)  

You now understand our political divisions better than watching Fox and CNN for a decade! 

The Risk of a Solo Approach

Why should this matter to RFK? Because in my view, Kennedy needs to distinguish between independence from the two parties and a dysfunctional independence from ALL parties. Is cooperation with other like-minded people is a practice best avoided? A worse condition would be playing Follow-The-Leader politics.

If an independent president is a good thing, would not an independent Congress be as good or even a better thing? And that REQUIRES a platform of some sort, not platitudes and slogans. How do we know if someone is “RFK like-minded?”

While Kennedy offers a gold-standard legacy name along with an honest voice of reason, I believe his policy goals and priorities lack clarity at times. Better would be to offer 2+100+435 or more names along with ONE shared list of top ten accountable promises (and those goals need to move Upper-Left).  

The 1992 Ross Perot One-Man-Show approach proved a dead-end. Ross saw himself as running for CEO of USA, Inc. and received a respectable 19% of the national vote but won NO electors (that 19% total is sufficient proof that “the system” has been broken for some time). Nonetheless the Perot campaign influenced the two parties (to balance the budget), and by 1996, Perot had figured out too late that a president is not a CEO and that a new party was needed.  

I fear RFK Jr. is repeating this same one-man-show dead-end. It is a common mistake: That politician is rare who does not believe their mere election is enough by itself to fix everything. It is easy to believe when all their supporters proclaim it so devoutly; such fuehrer worship is even encouraged by too many of our politicians (and their sycophants in and out of the media).

I hold a contrary “Chief Brody” view: if the campaign remains a one-man show, even if it should elect a Kennedy sent by the Camelot legacy angels, it still would fail the nation. So much more is needed. 

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” –Chief Brody, “Jaws” (1975)  

That is: America needs a new (Upper-Left) direction and even a new party [system]  


To “Heal the Divide” we must reject false cures

It seems the first step in any presidential campaign is creating a feel-good slogan. Obama gave us “Hope and Change;” Trump was “Make America Great Again” (MAGA for purposes of hat sales); Biden was “Build Back Better” (which first requires complete demolition!).

Kennedy has promised to Heal the Divide (by “telling the truth.”) No surprise, that is a popular slogan, especially with the rising independents that are fed up with all the tribal “donkey elephant” name-calling and finger-pointing.  

This begs for the question: what is “The Divide” in need of healing? The real divide is not between the so-called moderates of each party, but between polar opposite extremists of each party, between the lower-left that wants less inequality and the upper-right that wants smaller government. Bill Clinton v. George Bush is maybe a crack, but Karl Marx v. Ayn Rand is a canyon. 

For over a century the moderate centrists of both parties have compromised their extreme wings by moving lower-right to the benefit of wealthy ruling class elites- what Plato might have called plutocracy. The result: America has the biggest government in its history, along with the worst inequality in over a century! Do Americans really want yet another compromise between these two worn-out parties that only delivers the worst from each?!  

Compromise is a blessing when BOTH sides get what they want. It is more a pact with the devil when NEITHER side gets what they want. Why not give each extreme their first priority? Republicans can get their smaller government, so long as the poor and middle benefit most. And Democrats can get their lower wealth inequality so long as the government shrinks. That is the correct way to compromise.  

We must Heal the Divide by creating a new politics, a new compromise in the Upper-Left direction. The Kennedy 2024 campaign is the best chance in decades for America to escape this death-spiral two-party trap, this stranglehold that has led to fascism (in all but name) for over a century.  

What is to be done? An Upper-Left Answer

In conclusion, here is some advice with concrete suggestions to fulfill these hopes: 

  1. Develop a short list of policy goals (a “party platform”) for Kennedy independents. These should be clear and specific policy objectives; not merely issues or visionary vagaries.
  2. Find hundreds of other RFK independents to petition on the ballot for Congress, etc. It is as easy to petition for two hundred names as to petition for two names. If there are not hundreds of other quality candidates “like-minded” with RFK, then what is the point? (An alternative would be Upper-Left hostile takeovers of either Greens or Libertarians or both. Presumably RFK has sufficient resources that such “low budget” strategies were ruled out.) 

People want to end poverty (war, bigotry, crime, inflation etc.) or support the middle class (family etc.). These are certainly worthy ends, but hardly policy goals. The ends may justify the means, but the ends are just daydreaming where the means go missing. We all want to end cancer, but doctors are working on a treatment to cure it.  

Agreement on policy goals is important, more so than agreeing on what issues are important. Many agree that “abortion is important”, but if some want all abortions tax-funded where others want them all outlawed, then agreeing it is important amounts to nothing (but conflict!).

To justify creating a new third-party choice, these policy goals should be: 

1) OPPOSED BY BOTH parties, officially  

2) POPULAR with many Americans (majority rules, but plurality works in a 3-way race)  

Where the two parties disagree between them, there is little need for a third to split the difference. The opportunity lies where the two parties agree and BOTH OPPOSE WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT.

Policy goals in an Upper-Left direction often meet those two requirements. Generally, the opportunity for a new party (third choice) is to move Upper-Left to heal the divide.

Here are a few suggestions to build an Upper-Left party platform. All of these both shrink government and lower inequality.  

  1. Raise the income tax standard exemption to $100K. Cut taxes bottom-up; tax only “the rich”;
  2. Freeze (cap) total U.S. government spending until the budget is balanced (The resulting give-and-take budgeting should be means-tested: top-down cuts, bottom-up increases; the goal is a self-reliant middle-class that pays trifling taxes and receives piddly benefits);
  3. Leave NATO (end the empire, no more undeclared open-ended wars)  
  4. Audit the Federal Reserve. Require 100% transparency of all transactions (The Fed causes inflation almost entirely, and it causes greater inequality with its favors to a privileged few.)  

Without such concrete examples, it is hard to see, but once seen, it is hard to stop!  A complete or final list is not for one person to make, and that includes this author. Ralph Nader called it “convergence” (in his book “Unstoppable”), what Bill Clinton called “triangulation,” what Hegel called “dialectic,” and what many call “win-win” or “healthy compromise” (“the best of both worlds”). 

End Notes:  

[1] Over 70% of Americans want to see neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump on the ballot in 2024. 

[2] Record high “independents” Gallup/ar-AA1mSFD7  

[3] RFKJ Speech 2023Oct09 Independence Hall Philadelphia, PA  

[4] The Two-Question Quiz E-F (Equality-Freedom) Political Map  

[5] Gallup 2010, 2013: Record High in U.S. Say Big Government Greatest Threat 

[6] Gallup 2014: 67% Dissatisfied with Income, Wealth Distribution  

[7] Gallup 2014Sep24 Poll Americans Say Third Party Needed 


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