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Solutions to Our Perilous Two-Party System

Robert Dimuro

Posted on October 21, 2018 19:38

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"There is nothing I dread so much as a division of the Republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution." - John Adams

Last week, I denounced America’s two major parties as the wasteful, meaningless, and power-hungry monoliths they have become. Most Americans understand this to some degree since about two-thirds of the country agrees that a third major party is needed to offset the Republican and Democratic Parties. Unfortunately, no serious effort is being waged to alter the status quo -- it’s not even discussed in the media, academia, or political debate.

The problem is not about popular consensus - it’s about how to loosen the stranglehold that the “Red” and “Blue” parties have on our political system. Our elected officials need to be endorsed by either the Republican or Democratic party to have any reasonable chance at holding office. Therefore, they are beholden to the interests of either party and not the interests of the voters, rendering any push from our elected officials to sideline these parties politically unviable.

One solution would be to limit the number of terms an elected official can serve in office to one. This would kill several birds with one stone. Our representatives would not need to waste their time in office campaigning for reelection, the occupation of “career politician” would end, and, most importantly, our representatives, not having to worry about campaign support, would be able to vote their conscience while in office. Although virtually no politician would support this initiative, it would be a great first step in undermining the influence of our two major parties on policy implementation.

There are many superior alternatives to our single member plurality voting system. One example is a ranked-choice voting (RCV) system (or proportional voting system) in which voters rank each candidate on the ballot based on whom they prefer the most. The least preferred candidate gets eliminated in each round of voting until a candidate receives an absolute majority of votes. This would encourage more participation from a more diverse group of political parties as they would no longer simply play the role of spoiler to the Republican and Democratic candidates.

In fact, RCV is already in practice in Maine and has been since its referendum in 2016. After almost two years of resistance from the Republican and Democratic establishments, the people of Maine were victorious in their effort to strengthen their local political power.

Ultimately, as in Maine, the only way to begin dismantling our national two-party system is from the grassroots. We can’t begin to ponder these various solutions until the people become more politically active and can formulate opinions based on individual thought. Our current system feasts on the ignorance and inactivity of the citizenry - mindlessly thinking and voting in accordance with whatever the bloc preaches and dictates.

As John Adams once wrote: “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the Republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

Robert Dimuro

Posted on October 21, 2018 19:38

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