We need a multiparty system and proportional representation in this nation or we might as well say goodbye to real democracy in America.
Proportional Representation would allow minority positions to be heard and thus quell the outrage heard by such groups as the Tea Party movement who up until now has NO direct representation in Congress.
The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has won several primary contests against more established Republicans including Castle in Delaware, Murkowski in Alaska and Sue Lowden in Nevada.
Mike Castle, a well-known conservative in the Republican Party, was the favorite to take Joe Biden’s open Senate seat in Delaware. However, in a state with a population of less than a million, he was ousted by political neophyte Christine O’Donnell.
O’Donnell’s traditional beliefs are that masturbation is the same as adultery, rats have been bred with “fully functional human brains” and that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape and incest among other extreme positions.
The latter position is being taken by the other Tea Party candidates and many in the Republican Party. If supporting the parental rights of rapists and child molesters isn’t enough for you to abandon the Republican Party, you should reevaluate you priorities.
“RNC for Life has endorsed 63 House candidates who are “pro-life without discrimination” (NO exceptions for abortions for the health of the mother or rape or incest) and heading into the general election. Edmondson pointed to Bill Flores (TX-17), Stephen Broden (TX-30), Rocky Raczkowski (MI-9) and Sandy Adams (FL-24) as especially exciting candidates to watch. Incumbents endorsed by RNC for Life include Michele Bachmann (MN-6), Jean Schmidt (OH-2) and Duncan Hunter (CA-52).”
“The candidates getting the most attention, however, are on the Senate side: Sharron Angle (Nev.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joe Miller (Alaska), Christine O’Donnell (Del.) and Rand Paul (Ky.). All of them oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest.” (link)
I guess the right to life doesn’t extend to rape victims’ lives or expectant women who will die during birth.
The Population of these three pivotal states with contested Senate seats is
Total 4,226,480 ; about 1.4% of the population of the United States
And now, the Republicans might loose these seats to Democrats for choosing far right Tea Party challengers over more established candidates. If there had been the opportunity to create a third party that was viable in the United States, Castle, Murkowski and Lowden would have won their primaries and been up against the members of the Tea Party and the Democratic Party. And if Delaware had rules that supported third party candidates such as public financing, proportional representation and lower thresholds for party registration, the Democratic nominee would have to fought off a challenge from the left in the Greens or other actually liberal party.
In Arkansas, Blanche Lincoln defeated a true moderate-liberal Democrat Bill Halter in her primary. And what is Lincolns’ reward? She now has little support on the left and is trailing her Republican opposition John Boozman by 54 to 35%. In a more democratic system, Lincoln would have to run against Halter as a Peace and Freedom (or other verifiably liberal party) candidate, Boozman as a Republican and perhaps a Libertarian Party challenger. She would loose either way, but there would no longer be a pretense that she is a liberal.
Her seat is not a loss for the Democrats, for she votes with the Republicans on enough big issues such as the health care bill and the Disclosure Act that she is a de facto Republican.
Polls before the Democratic primary showed Halter fairing better against Bozeman than Lincoln, although both Democrats were far behind Mr. Bozeman. At least there was a shot with the “liberal”.
Of the three recent Tea Party Senate challengers, Joe Miller from Alaska has the best chance of winning. While he misinforms voters on the issues of taxes and socialism, he hasn’t practiced witchcraft or had any wacky press conferences. However, he has come out against social security, a loosing proposition in Alaska, and against federal spending in the state. Being fiscally conservative is good politics until it hits your own constituents. Then it’s “spend baby spend!”
O’Donnell is too kooky to win. Some in her own party don’t like her, and she has too much baggage from her recent past. As far as Sharon Angle goes, she will loose. Incumbent Reid will flood the airwaves with negative ads in October, and she will lose. And I am NOT a big fan of Reid.
So what can the major parties do to enhance our democracy and conserve their rigid ideology into the next century? They should promote third parties and proportional representation, of course.
If there were a far right party, then the Republican stalwarts wouldn’t lose their primaries and would be unchallenged. And if there was a real liberal alternative to the Democrats in America, people like Halter and Ned Lamont, the man who beat Lieberman in the Democratic primary, could run as on their own ticket, perhaps in the Workers Party, and Lieberman could happily run unopposed as a Democrat.
In his article, “Third Parties Don’t Work: Why and How Egalitarians Should Transform the Democratic Party”, noted sociology professor G. William Domhoff says that third parties won’t work in the United States. His argument basically comes down to the rules as dictated by the two parties, Democratic and Republican. But if these parties saw their power threatened by coalitions of extremists on the right and liberals on the left, they might concede to third party demands and open up the process. It is the democratic thing to do.
Then again, the two parties aren’t very democratic, in the true sense of the word, are they? Their style of democracy isn’t for everyone in our system; it is for a few elite in each party, wealthy benefactors and their cronies and a few other political elites who decide on who we vote for and limits out choices.
Some answers to our reduced democracy brought on by the two party system include the following: proportional representation, instant runoff voting, computerized Congressional districts to eliminate gerrymandering advantages, a set of rules for party qualifications with a reduction of requirements and challenges to getting on ballots, and elimination of the Senate.
Here’s what Richie and Hill say about proportional representation,
“Finally, PR is important for majority interests because, as Mill argued, it provides represented minorities with a platform to challenge conventional wisdom. An advocate of universal suffrage, Mill still was sympathetic to conservative concerns about educated minorities being outvoted by newly enfranchised, less-educated voters. Assuring a voice to the minority eliminated his fears because of his faith in the results of a fully democratic process, with open and organized discussion among competing political ideas and projects. By allowing dissenters to win representation, PR fosters ongoing challenges to majority opinion, and thus complements our First Amendment freedoms.”
If the Democrats and Republicans split off ally factions, then they wouldn’t have to take full responsibility for their “extremist” positions. They could then have two parties that are more liberal or extremist than they are who would in the end be reliable allies.
Ritchie and Hill and many other social scientists agree that proportional representation increases voter turnout. Wouldn’t the two major parties want increased voter turnout? (Watch out, that’s a trick question).
South Carolina might have had a third party challenger instead of Democrat Alvin Greene who has almost no chance against Republican Senator Jim DeMint, no matter what DeMint does.
And if minor parties got seats in the Congress through proportional representation, then third parties would run in every state to meet the vote threshold. That would increase voting.
More support for Proportional Representation from Ritchie and Hill
By restricting voters’ choices and underrepresenting voters from minority groups, winner-take-all elections devalue the right to vote, our fundamental democratic right. Correcting these failures requires PR. No other political reform currently on the table–public financing of elections, term limits, fusion, or universal voter registration–will suffice to correct these deficiencies in our democracy…Minor parties by definition begin with minority support, which wins nothing in winner-take-all elections unless it is geographically concentrated. With little chance to win, minority party candidates cannot build or sustain support. Ross Perot’s well-financed independent candidacy in 1992 won 19 percent of the vote, but he did not finish first in any congressional district. In 1996, his vote was reduced by more than half, although one voter in ten still voted for minor-party presidential candidates, and half of all eligible voters saw no reason to participate.
Gerrymandering creates safe seats even when the seat is an open seat. The district can be created to be majority Democratic or Republican party, regardless of the advantages of money or loss of incumbency. Proportional representation would allow a person to vote for candidates over several districts and thus remove the power of gerrymandering in states with more than one representative. If nothing else, using a computerized system to randomly select districts in a state, rather than letting the majority party in the state legislature make as many safe seats for themselves through gerrymandering, would reduce the two party advantages.
In addition, if the Senate was removed and each state got an additional two House seats (leaving the less populated states with three seats), third parties would have a greater chance of gaining seats in Congress. This would increase the voice of all Americans and reduce the chance of rogues within the Republican and Democratic parties from taking over. Minority voices wouldn’t be subsumed by the two parties, they would join or create new ones. That would energize more citizen voters.
Democrats and Republicans set the rules for qualifying for office and the rules for qualifying for a debate. If the two ruling parties decide to make it hard to qualify, they can monopolize Congress, Governorships and state Legislatures to the exclusion of third parties.
If we had a multiparty proportional representation, Arkansas wouldn’t be stuck with an ultra-right Democrat in Blanche Lincoln as Senator. They would vote in a more liberal progressive candidate, as well as a Republican, and perhaps a Libertarian.
Proportional representation would re-enfranchise Southern minorities to an extent even greater than the voting rights act of 1964. For example, you could have a “Southern Freedom” party that was mainly for African American candidates. With the number of African American voters (not that any minority group votes as a block, other than Republicans), perhaps there would be and increase in black membership to Congress.
Here’s an example of the idiotic logic used to defend the two party system:
Why has there only been two parties that have dominated our government for nearly a century and a half? Because the two-party system works. The two-party system makes voting for Americans a lot simpler. If the voter is conservative, and he doesn’t know much about certain candidates, he could just vote for the Republican candidate. It combines groups of people with similar platforms into two solid platforms. The Republicans are conservative and the Democrats are liberal.
Basically the writer is saying we are too stupid to understand a multiparty system when they say, “The two-party system makes voting for Americans a lot simpler.” If it really prevented the truly stupid from voting, that would be a plus to proportional representation. And it would force the vast majority of Americans of average intelligence to study our elections more closely.
The author is also saying that there are two types of voters, Conservative and “Liberal”. If you didn’t my catch the drift yet, the fact is that most Democrats AREN’T liberal. And in reality, there aren’t just “conservatives” and “liberals” in our nation. Those labels are basically meaningless with the plethora of issues and positions one can take on each issue. Ideology is a multifaceted spherical continuum. It defies such simple labels.
Ron Paul Supports Third Parties
Mr. Speaker, political operatives across the country are using state ballot access laws to deny voters the opportunity to support independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. For example, one New York election lawyer publicly stated that partisan election lawyers should take advantage of New York’s complex and costly ballot access procedures to keep Mr. Nader off the New York ballot. Meanwhile, a state party chairman in Arizona has hired a team of lawyers for the sole purpose of keeping Mr. Nader off the Arizona ballot.
Links, again with the links?!
Gerrymandering a two party monopoly
Join the Green party
Join the Libertarians
Join a third party of your choice.
Think for yourselves and tell me to shove off!
Fiscally Responsible Social Democrats Unite!