There're more than two parties here, but little attention is given to them. I remember when I took a civics class, a full ballot of all parties that had attempted to run during the 2000 presidential election was shown to us in the text book. I counted five or six parties on it, and could only verify that I knew three of them.
1. A voting system which makes third parties mathematically viable. Runoff or other proportional voting methods would go a long way.
2. More than one politically viable third party. The Independents are sort of a dumping ground, and the Greens are fielding bleeding heart hippy-type liberals that would be pants dealing with the system, rather than practical savvy-type liberals. And the other third parties aren't even on the map. Leaving just the Libertarians, which are, quite frankly, scarier than the Republicans.
I would love to have proportional voting, especially any type of preferential voting. Then you actually could vote for the candidate you want, because you could also make a hedge bet against the candidate you don't want at the same time, thus eliminating the problem of the spoiler effect.
or the idea of coalitions. Minor parties might never win the presidency, but they could make a showing in congress, and larger parties could ally with them, if they needed a majority.
Which would work great for most day to day issues, but the third parties could put their boot down on issues the majors don't want to touch, especially on major issues that are non-partisan, and both parties support.
For example, the greens, libertarians, and justice parties, could band together and but their feet down against things like the patriot act, SOPA, PIPA, and other things that tend to unite independents in one corner, and the mainstream in another.
At the same time, the greens and libertarians can still quibble over the budget and government spending.
I also think it'd breed more civility. People would need "agree to disagree" with people they know they'd need to be united with on other issues.
I also want a federal amendment for ballot initiatives like many states have now.
I think both are in line with the original goals of the constitution, and progress in line with previous amendments.
I can't see a coalition happening, honestly. If the Republicans and Democrats can't agree, even when the Democrats are implementing Republican ideas, there's zero reason why any other right vs. left groups would. The right-wing in general is too entrenched at this point.
Mmm. I agree on principle, but honestly ballots are abused enough already either on things so confusing that even if you're sure where you stand it's still hard to tell how to vote, or stuff that has no place being put to a vote to begin with.
Actually, the more realistic result would be that Dems would become the new right, Greens would become the new left, and the Republicans would become the new nobodies.
Though admittedly that would require the Greens actually fielding a realistic candidate. We could end up in a horrible scenario where the Dems are still the left and the Libertarians are the new right.
"Though admittedly that would require the Greens actually fielding a realistic candidate" that would happen if they got a bigger base, and more people got involved with the green party.
I expect than any democrat with integrity would jump ship, if the greens became viable.
"We could end up in a horrible scenario where the Dems are still the left and the Libertarians are the new right." I don't think the libertarians are any worse than the republicans. In fact I still think they are a modest improvement.
At very least most of the orwellian mechanisms of state control would disappear, leading to a more honest, and open debate.
It is hysterical, isn't it? I never really thought about it, but recently I saw it pointed out and was like, "HA! Freedumb!". The oooh so free America, where you get to pick between right and righter, and the independent 3rd party can go fuck itself because the paid-off media won't give it a minute of coverage but will gladly bring you blatant lies for the sake of more mass shootings ("In Israel everyone gets to have a gun so school shootings don't happen, BUY GUNS NOW!") or bullshit wonder weightloss pills commercials, followed by "Try the new McFatass NOW!" followed by "Rub your fat off with this soap!" followed by "The new super-greasy gravy at KFC, instant heart attack, God bless America!". The oooooooooh so unfree European countries Germany, Belgium, and many others, oh, and Israel, have a shitload of equally exposed parties to pick from. Why do you think there are those huge mudfights in European and Israeli parliaments? Everyone is represented. Makes it complicated, but the whole convenience crap Americans seem so into, isn't always the best way to go. Obama angers the fat and sassy, and Romney would have fucked the less better-off right up their asses.
We would be so much better off if every political candidate had only a set amount of campaigning funds, supplemented by things like TV stations having to offer a certain amount of ad time to each candidate.
Not only would it make it easier for third parties to get heard (though that's only one issue that needs fixing), but it would make it possible for poor and middle class people to finally get into office and represent those two factions.
actually America has three, there's the Independent party, which doesn't bother with either side. if you want to vote you got a choice, if you don't want to vote then don't. thankfully America is a country which such an option. you can vote one party one term or the next party next term. or not vote at all and votes for the others which interest you.
personally I highly dislike it all: the backstabbing, as well as well as the refusal to collaborate, or at the very least, compromise on issues that need to be dealt with.
it's turning ragewild and both sides tend to immediatelly refute what the other side has to say.
and thats not even going into the 'doomed third party' issue where people don't vote for third parties because they are not established with a long history. our current parties stem from debates over the constitution and have changed names over and over again.
in short we have a two party system because we have always had a two party system.
There's pros and cons to it. On the one hand, it generally causes there to be a 'lesser of two evils' feel. On the other hand, it does force politics in general to cater to the center to at least some degree.
The two party system is a sham so Americans are stuck with a choice of a lesser of two evils. The elections are often a choice between a douche and a turd sandwich. People need to open their eyes and learn to vote third party.
We have more than two parties (Green Party, Libertarian Party, etc.). Problem is, the biggest two monopolize pretty much everything about the election process from the media coverage to the funding, which they have worked to perpetuate as they're the ones who'd have to lose out first before a third party rose on the horizon. And the current political atmosphere is less about function, and more about screwing the other guys.
As an American Independent, I think the two-party system is stupid. It encourages politicians to only follow what their party demands as a whole and not actually think for themselves. So you are just set up for giant stalemates when politicians of opposing parties go head-to-head. And especially when all other parties just end up getting outdone by the main two, because then either democrats or republicans will choose to support everything.
there are actually more like 30 thousand parties in this country. The problem is that the voting system tends to cause such a system to take place while the other parties fail to gain any votes whatsoever.
It's not that America is 'blind with the norm', but because the GOP and Democratic Party actively prevent third parties from competing with them by denying them equivalent funding and the right to participate in debates.
Ironically, if we had more than two parties, we'd probably be less democratic, at least as far as the Presidency is concerned. With two parties, one candidate is guaranteed to reach a majority of electoral votes. The winning candidate must have a majority; a plurality is not sufficient. If no candidate had a majority, the election is decided by the House of Representatives -- but not by majority vote. Rather, each state delegation casts one vote.
Bear in mind that American parties are not the same as parties in countries with parliamentary systems. American parties can encompass a much broader set of views than a European party, and party policies comprise only one among many considerations when an individual legislator casts a vote. Party whips are relatively weak, and party members are ALWAYS free to vote their consciences. A President can never count on the cooperation of Congress even if his own party enjoys a majority in both Houses.
That assumes that democracy is the best system. Also you can have a system of elimination where a candidate get a certain score and if they are not eliminated it goes to a second count etc each time eliminating a candidate. Eventually one candidate will have 50%+ of the vote.
I don't make that assumption at all; I was only commenting on OP's remarks about the 2-party system vs. democracy. I'm also not talking about what CAN be done, but what WOULD be done.
The framers of the Constitution did not assign our modern incantatory value to "democracy" and saw no reason for the election of the President to be particularly democratic. They assumed that most Presidential elections would be decided in the House, but in reality that has only happened once, in 1824. At the time there was a single party in operation, but at least there were 4 candidates. In the previous election, the winning candidate ran essentially unopposed.
Generally systems that work on the principle of first past the post whittle down the number of parties due to tactical voting. Evenutally you are left with just 2 or 3 parties as voters will abandon the person they want and vote for someone else if they think it will keep someone they don't want out of power.
Our government was designed to work more at the local level and become less as you get to the federal level. You have a bunch of control at the local level as you should have. I don't mind the two parties up top, but it would be helpful if democrats remembered the ideal of local governance and their electorate didn't have the notion that national government should be a nanny to the people.
I'm finding both parties have suck moments... I usually vote for republicans because I prefer their stance on the economy and such. but my boss is trying to pull me over to the Ron Pauls side. and it's kinda working XD whatever party he is. I still don't agree with all his ideas though...
It isn't strictly a two party system, it just kind of turned out that way.
A lot of people are afraid to vote for a 3rd candidate because it "Throws your vote away". And what poopgoblyn said is right, people more often than not vote against a candidate as opposed to voting for a candidate.
An excellent example of the "3rd party throwing your vote away" situation was the election in the year 2000 between George W Bush and Al Gore. A lot of people voted for the green party candidate Mr. Ralph Nader. Though if Nader voters had only the choice between Bush or Gore, they would have picked Gore.
Thus having the 3rd party nominee in there, George Bush won because the liberal votes were divided among two candidates as opposed to all of them going towards Al Gore.
I can most certainly agree that there should be more than just two parties, but I think the only way to get a 3rd party into the big scene, they need to start looking at winning smaller elections, such as mayors, or city councils and work their way up, as opposed to just aiming straight for the presidency, which sadly,is what a lot of 3rd parties do.