Hat tip: Poli-Tea
The following is a hypothetical conversation concerning third parties and their role in U.S. politics.
I get it. Third parties represent legitimate views that aren’t adequately represented by either of the two major parties. But, obviously, Americans aren’t interested in third parties. We vote either Republican or Democrat, and that’s why those are the two major parties.
Not exactly. There was a time (long ago) when the average man could run for office, as a member of any party, or none at all, and still stand a chance of winning. Especially at the local level.
But Republicans and Democrats began to work together (for once) to restrict ballot access. Now, if any other party wants to appear on a ballot, it must collect thousands of signatures per state. The same goes for individual candidates. They spend so much time trying to get on the ballot that they hardly have a chance to get their message out to voters. Depending on the state, they must repeat this tiring, time-consuming process for each election, over and over!
Republicans and Democrats are not major parties because Americans want them to be, necessarily. They are in their present positions because they worked together to get there, and work together to keep themselves there. If one party could pass a law to make itself the only major party, it would, but since that is impossible, the two are bipartisan in their opposition to ballot access reform while they bicker about everything else.
Even if we were to enact fair ballot access laws, and all political parties were equal, it would be bad for the country. We can hardly get anything done with two parties, let alone three, five, or more!
The two major parties are the cause of partisan gridlock; it could not possibly be worse if there were three or five major parties, particularly if each was similar in size and influence.
Imagine a political process free of today’s chains of “right” and “left;” in which several competing ideologies would be forced to work together and make compromises. There would no longer be two sides, with each calling itself “right” and the other “wrong”. There would be several sides, each of which might share common ground with other parties. Rather than looking at issues in black and white (or red and blue), the political spectrum would include a potentially unlimited number of colors.
Well, if everyone would start voting for third-party candidates, so would I.
Conformity for its own sake is sickening, and an obstacle to progress. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Parties spend more time trying to defeat each other than actually serving the needs of citizens; American politics has become a business, closed to the average working man. Today, the Democrats are in power. Make no mistake; Republicans will eventually replace them. Only to be replaced again by Democrats. The cycle goes on and on, while our nation suffers.
Break the cycle. Become educated about third parties and individual candidates. Make ballot access a priority; praise representatives who support it, and harshly criticize those who don’t. It takes many to bring about change, but if you don’t take the first step, why should anyone else?
26 February 2010
"Democrats and Republicans Spend More Time Trying To Defeat Each Other Than Actually Serving The Needs Of Citizens"
Excerpt from SlavensSays.com: Third-Party FAQ