This past weekend someone told me that a candidate from the Massachusetts Pirate Party was seeking nomination signatures in Lowell to qualify for the November ballot for an elective office (I’m not sure which one). Perhaps confusing the Pirate Party with International Talk Like a Pirate Day, I dismissed it as a joke. Then this morning I spotted a New York Times Op-Ed that reviewed the recent success of the German Pirate Party in that country’s recent parliamentary election and predicted the Pirate Party might soon become a force in American politics.
The focus of the Pirate Party has been copyright reform and online privacy but as the NYT contributor Steve Kettman contends, the party has the opportunity to grab the rising ranks of Internet-savvy voters who are largely being ignored by the major parties. Historically, any time a third party begins gaining traction, one of the major parties co-opts its issues and the reason for the third party’s existence fades away. Still, a generation of new voters who have known no life other than one dominated by a computer will increasingly demand the integration of technology in politics and government.