Make third party more than a protest vote

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By Benjamin Solomon, Staff Writer

The United States needs to redefine its political party system. Why? How often have you heard a friend complain that they don’t like either party? It’s not just some refusal to decide. They are among many who feel unrepresented.

The Democratic and Republican parties both fail to represent their constituencies well because they try to fit too many diverse ideologies into their grip. All other parties are effectively worthless because they cannot present a challenge, other than the rare, worthless protest vote.

The Republican party is trying to represent conservative libertarians, regressive authoritarians, and the Tea Party. First thing first, the party represents absurdly opposite stances  on one side advocating the government mind its own business in terms of anything from guns to, well, business. On the other side, there’s a strong movement trying to restrict who can marry whom.

This isn’t meant to say that the Republican party is wrong or right for any of these views — just that it ought to have a more consistent message. This cannot be accomplished when the entire political spectrum is shoved into two parties and meant to reconcile all of their differences.

For example, the Tea Party. This group feels different enough from the Republican party to give themselves their own sub-name. Why do they bother to stay part of the Republican party?

They are using republicans. If this group decides that they need to push a new agenda, why not start a party? Why not join the Libertarian party?

Because that’s as good as sitting on your hands. The democrats and the republicans can maintain their deadlock struggle, calling for party unity and squishing out any other attempts to organize.    Together, they have an effective hegemony over formal political representation. If one side has a schism then they will effectively be giving control to the other.

On an important note, the Democratic party is similarly divided. The recent election cycle showed the divide of moderate democrats who tended to support Hillary Clinton and more left-leaning democrats who supporter Bernie Sanders.

Now, every election has some division — that’s why they exist. The significant thing about this election is just how different Bernie and Hillary were in their policies.

Hillary ran on a campaign of maintaining the democrats’ status quo of moderate regulation and vague social progress.

Bernie ran on a campaign of explicit social-democratic values with more unconventional goals.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion of different political views, the point of this article is that these parties are not working for us. They fail to represent the views of their bases because these bases are too varied.

What would work better would be something like five major parties, rather than two. This would have a range of benefits over the current stalemate.

Imagine a libertarian party alongside a separate conservative party free to make deals with a moderate party next to a progressive or a socialist party. Any variation of this could be possible.

Parties having smaller portions of control would also leave room for new parties to come about over time.

Having several major parties would mean that one party could virtually never control everything by themselves. Hardly anything can be accomplished without more than 50% or 60% of the vote in Congress. Unilateral decision-making would be nearly impossible.

This means parties would need to come together and agree (or disagree) to solve problems. Compromise should lead to discussion rather than the back and forth swapping of control, and the undoing of the previous party’s policies.

Political parties in the face of diverse competition should come up with more innovative solutions than those with one arch-nemesis to be constantly one-upped.

I assume that this would lead to compromise as opposed to domination by one on the basis that these parties might be divided relatively well enough to not leave a large majority of the population behind one single party. This could always be wrong.

There’s also the chance that compromise could not be reached and the government would be unable to come together, as has been the case in the Netherlands for the last six months (and apparently, they are fine).

In this case, I feel that an abrupt breakdown of the system would be preferable to slow, stagnant death of democracy at the hands of two parties that both blatantly ignore the will of their voters.

Photo Courtesy: Disabled Veterans

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