This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY -- As the 2012 presidential campaign heats up and Republicans jockey to take on Barack Obama next year, entrepreneur Mike Mann said America’s two- party political system is corrupt and needs an overhaul. Mann, who operates several companies in Utah, is seeking to hire a chairman to lead The Green Tea Party, a new third party focused on increasing grassroots political involvement through the use of technology.
“The ultimate goal is to rectify the corruption, inefficiency and overspending in Washington, D.C.,” Mann said.
Obama has failed to fix the struggling economy, he said, adding that no current presidential candidate is capable of pulling the nation from its economic morass.
“Politicians in both parties are corrupt,” Mann said. “It’s disgusting. They scratch each others’ backs to stay in power while dipping their hands into the pockets of the American taxpayer.”
Since neither Democrats nor Republicans receive high marks from the public, the current political climate is receptive to a third party, said Mann, who is founder of Grassroots.org and Changetheworld.org.
“Americans distrust politicians in general, and with little being accomplished by Congress or the president, it’s a natural response,” he said.
But political observers in Utah said that distrust may not be enough for a third party to gain the momentum needed to influence an election.
“Polls show that Americans right now are more frustrated, and angrier at government than they ever have been, but still I don’t anticipate any major changes here in Utah,” said Taylor Morgan, political programs manager for the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. “Americans are fickle, politically. … We never like the incumbent and we like to blame Congress as an abstract organization without ever making changes on our level.”
Instead of working to strengthen the liberal Green Party or conservative Libertarian Party, some Utahns have chosen to support Democrats and Republicans in recent political races, he said.
“For whatever reason, these individuals have decided that third parties are not an effective way to influence the process,” Morgan explained.
According to Mann, The Green Tea Party “will be built upon a foundation of transparency, trust and accountability.”
Politicians in both parties are corrupt. It's disgusting. They scratch each others' backs to stay in power while dipping their hands into the pockets of the American taxpayer.
“We believe that all Americans have the right to adequate health care, an excellent education and strong environmental regulation in balance with a free market economy,” Mann said. “The corruption will be greatly diminished by integrating representative government and the Internet with the intention of creating an interactive democracy that allows for direct engagement by citizens.”
Salt Lake County resident Josh Brecheisen is a member of the selection committee recruiting applicants to serve as a chairperson of The Green Tea Party National Committee. Nobody had applied for the job this week even though the position includes a competitive compensation package.
“It’s a big deal to take on a new party,” Brecheisen said. “Somebody needs to rise up as a voice of the people and take a leadership role.”
Much of the work will involve fundraising and organizing a political platform, he said.
Brecheisen is advertising the chairman position in the Washington area. He said he expects Green Tea Party headquarters to be located near Washington, D.C.
“Anybody who wants to be in the political sphere, they will look toward Washington, D.C. for job opportunities,” Brecheisen said.
Pat is a writer in Park City, Utah who worked for more than 10 years as a newspaper reporter. His articles have appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune, the Standard-Examiner, the News- Press in Fort Myers, Fla., the Gainesville Sun and other publications.