As I’ve previously outlined on PolicyMic, U.S. third parties generally offer valuable ideas that the two major parties can annex. I’ve also sung the praises of a vegetarian diet.
Merging both of these themes, there used to be a Vegetarian Party in America. From 1948 to about 1964, the party promoted all the tenets of vegetarianism and living off the land. In 1956, the party nominated Herbert M. Shelton, known for introducing the Raw Food diet, as its presidential nominee.
If the GOP were to resurrect the tenets of the Vegetarian Party and support a new vegetarian policy movement, Republcians would not only help to raise awareness about America’s health problems, but they would also give a serious political platform to vegetarian ideas. This could especially be advantageous for the party and help it to appeal to younger voters, especially considering its new progressive swoon.
Stereotypically, Republicans are seen as gun-toting, religious meat-eaters. However, the party’s recent societal advances and progressive legislature are starting to prove this stereotype wrong. With a focus on vegetarianism, Republicans could make their party more socially progressive. No one, despite their political ideology, is against reducing heart problems and obesity. If the Republicans could harness this untapped health market and make it a solid policy platform, they could continue on the path of appealing to undecided moderates.
Obesity and the associated health risks affect everyone in the U.S. It is a national issue that plagues 60 million Americans. We are aware that this is a problem, but there has been little legislation to fix it. In a 2009 poll, the Vegetarian Resource Group found that 8% of American adults did not eat meat. Of that percentage, 15% were students. The resurrected Vegetarian Party would have young voters’ support, an increasingly difficult market to tap.
Even with all of our country’s other (financial) problems, our representatives should not be wholly consumed with just one affliction; solving other problems can aid in larger ones. Considering the nonstop partisan fights during the debt ceiling debate, the Republicans are in desperate need of more leverage and could use a new avenue for garnering support.
The mere announcement of support for vegetarian as a possible major health policy could do wonders. This social progressivism could keep the party in a good light with young voters.
Marrying vegetarian ideas with Republican health legislation could prove to be a strategically beneficial move for both Republicans and Americans.
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