Sports

Prohibition: the party of the future, from the past

Opinions- Oliver.Prohibiton - United States Presidential Election 1888 - unknown wikipedia.png

Andrew Oliver
  Staff Writer

People from all over the United States are reeling from this election and its results. Whether your preferred candidate won or lost, it is safe to say that just about everyone has been dissatisfied with the way these elections have been conducted now and in the past.

In light of people’s’ disappointments, and therefore, the rise in popularity of third parties, the issue of ranked choice voting has come about, in which people could vote for multiple parties, and thus, can give third parties a chance at gaining some ground in governmental elections and races.

For this election, it was all about the Green Party and the Libertarian Party. In the recent past it was the Reform Party, but with the advent of ranked choice voting, even more of the United States’ parties could be considered for election.

I invite those reading to consider the Prohibition Party,  the United States’ oldest third party, of which I am a member. It has been active for almost 200 years. The party has ran a candidate in every presidential election since its formation, including one for this past race – progressive candidate James Hedges.

The party itself has undergone tremendous changes from its birth to today. It started as a left-wing populist party in the 1800s, championing the needs and the health of the people while railing against corporate interests, inadequate healthcare, poor labor conditions, and, of course, the sale and distribution of alcohol.

Through the years, and into the 20th century, the Prohibitionists began to take on increasingly conservative views, which did not begin to shift until very recently. This cost them votes as their election returns dwindled more and more every four years.

Indeed, it was not until the past few years, when James Hedges and other progressives took more control of the party’s platform, that the party started returning to its progressive populist roots.

The platform now includes many issues which modern voters fall in line with: Affordable healthcare for all Americans, free university education, an increase in the minimum wage, and combatting climate change.

That being said, there are still conservatives within the party who are fighting back, and have managed to wrestle some planks of the platform their way. The party formally took a staunch pro-life stance. Thankfully, James Hedges, the executive head of the party, managed to change the platform to one which does not encourage abortions, but respects the rights of women and families in need.

Probably the biggest problem in the party is its long-standing view of marriage being a traditional ceremony between a man and a woman. This is being fought hard within the party at the moment, and will most likely not survive for the near future, as many disagree with it, and many of those in the party’s leadership refuse to even acknowledge it.

Still, the Prohibition Party is one of transition from its decades-long run as a hyper-conservative third party back to its roots as a leftist party, and is making great strides in that regard.

In 2016, James Hedges has continually backed the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux and Native rights in general, when other candidates had been too cowardly to do so, and believes that the United States’ policies in the Middle East have been cruel, unjust, and ineffective, while opposing disastrous, job-killing trade deals.

One issue, though, that cannot be left out of a discussion of the Prohibition Party is, of course, the alcohol issue.

After all these years, after almost two centuries of existence, the Prohibition Party still sets itself apart with its position on temperance, and perhaps, eventually, prohibition. Those in the party believe that alcoholism is a disease, not a vice, and find it morally repugnant that big corporations and parasitic lobbyists are making money from the sickness they cause.

The prohibitionists believe that heavier regulations should be placed on production, distribution, and advertisement of alcoholic beverages, much like there are for cigarettes and other tobacco products.

This part of the platform is even more emboldened by recent research by Healthline and Dr. Sally Norton of the University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust that shows that alcohol has disastrous effects on the body, even when consumed in moderation.

Naturally, many people point out the result of the United States’ first and only prohibition period, which, in quite a few ways, did not go so well.

However, what people often fail to realize is that prohibition worked very well before the Great Depression, when people became desperate for something to escape into – alcohol in this case.

When economic conditions are secure, temperance, or even prohibition measures, would work quite well. This means, of course, that the party realizes that people’s quality of living must be good, first and foremost.

In many ways, it seems like the Prohibition Party might become the party of the future, coming from a long way in the past. It’s becoming more and more akin to the populist movements championed by those like Bernie Sanders, while also denouncing the hyper-liberal idea that drinking alcohol is good in moderation.

In 2016, the Prohibition Party gained more votes than they have the last 5 elections. They’re on the rise, and while that matters little at the moment, if ranked choice voting ever came to pass in the United States, we could see this party achieve some real solid change in government; change for the better.

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