I have made it no secret that one of the most marginalized movements today are the third-parties in the United States, largely because of the duopoly in Washington, D.C., and at the statewide. But I think that there are many other factors at play here.
One, American citizens have just become apathetic when it comes to reforming or revolutionizing the political structures here in the U.S. Sure, everyone complains about the two-party system, wishing there were more options for consumers, but its existence is seen as a fact of life, a necessity. Nowadays, persons are identifying themselves more as independents and third-party ideologies, but still maintaining close relationships with the status quo. The Tea-Party is an example; sure, they possess former policy preferences of the Reform and Independent Parties of the 1990s, but they are willing to be co-opted by the Republican Party if things go their way.
The so-called “political realists” would say that it would be an impossibility for the U.S. to overhaul its electoral politics. These realists, however, are part of the problem. Their utter silence on political reform allows us to continue to faun over Presidential politics. After President Obama was inaugarated in January 2009, all cable news and media outlets began to choose his opponent for 2012, enter Sarah Palin, among others. The media’s role in interfering with political debate is undemocratic. The Republican debate this week (and with no front-runners, exclusion from debates mean everything), CNN is refusing to allow Republican candidate Gary Johnson from participating in the debate. Who has given CNN the power to decide who the GOP or libertarians or Democrats to vote for? No one! That’s who, well except for us who sit idly by while the cable news fat cats tell us what to believe. The criteria to enter these debates, based on fickle polls, are arbitrary; many suspect Johnson’s exclusion to be partly political due to undue influence by unions.
It is sorta strange that I, as an advocate of limited government, am pushing for a multi-party system, but I think this is the best way to move forward. Multiple-parties and coalition governments (yes, Roland, bourgesoie ideas), would decrease the centralized power the special interests wield over our system and we might find at times, strange partners in politics. It is easy to be bi-partisan when there are only 2 parties. Politicians could vote with more integrity, because they would be free from the dualistic thinking that is caused by the Duopoly. One of the Essentials of multi-party democracies is the concept of proportional representation:
“Under proportional representation (PR) systems, used in many other countries, legislative seats are allocated according to a party’s percentage of the vote nationally or regionally, meaning smaller parties can gain representation without actually defeating larger parties. Because multiple parties take seats in the legislature, coalitions of two or more parties are often needed to obtain a majority. There are many forms of PR. Some divide the vote into regional multiseat districts, require parties to win a minimum percentage of the ballots to gain representation, or use complicated formulas to convert vote percentages into seats.”
Of course, there would have to be some work constitutionally, at the state and federal levels, but I believe that this is the best system that works. At the very least, we should be joining this petition , demanding open and public question time whereby the opposition party debates the President. The greater the push for transparency, the more democratic we become.
Therefore, I say we work to end the executive branch (as we know it), and work towards a parliamentary system with a prime minister.