Someone might get the impression that people actually read my blog with comment counts that high. I don’t like to mislead folk!
So as I’ve alluded to previously, I think the two-party political system we’ve got here in America sucks. There’s a litany of problems associated with it. I can’t begin to rank which problem is worse than the other, so I’ll just list and describe them in no particular order:
Band-wagoning. As I mentioned in my last post, I hate bandwagon liberals. Extend this to two party democracy and I hate bandwagon democrats or bandwagon republicans. Such band-wagoning cripples democracy in the first place. It encourages ignorance. Try asking most people why they voted for Bush (or against Bush). The most common answers will either be “Because I’m a Republican,” or “because I hate Kerry (IE, I’m not a democrat).” (Against Bush: “Because I’m a Democrat,” or “because I hate Bush.”) The founding fathers knew that an educated public was key to a thriving democracy (I’d go dig up a quote right now but I’m lazy — you can trust me on this, they don’t call me Dr. Deezee without warrant!). A brainless herd shepherded by whichever political party throws more money into their campaign doesn’t seem to mesh with an educated public. But who knows, that’s just me, I could be wrong…
Corruption. The good ol’ Spoils System, as introduced by Andrew Jackson, was inherently corrupt, although I would be inclined to argue its necessity at the time of its implementation. (The public needed to get more involved in politics, and the Spoils System certainly got more people involved – but it’s been allowed to run amok, unchecked, for far too long.) There’s another kind of corruption aside from just the Spoils System, too. Contributions are made to parties which in turn influence the way representatives vote. Sure, it’s not supposed to happen, but do you really believe that it doesn’t?
Ineffectiveness. Two parties are supposed to represent all the divergent political views in the country? I guess they think that the adage “there’s two sides to every issue” is what makes the party system effective. However, in politics, there’s often many more than two sides to an issue. Two parties can’t possibly be representative of the entire political makeup of the United States — it’s simply ridiculous. The ineffectiveness of the system is highlighted by voter turnouts — which are usually pretty low, under 50% if I’m not mistaken.
So what do we do? Well, I thought about this a great deal either last year or two years ago (it’s tough for my old brain to remember). I haven’t thought about it so much lately, so bear with me. Also, this idea is (of course) crazy and you’re going to lose any respect you once had for me once you hear it.
I advocate eliminating parties as we know them. Instead, we go through a series of local, regional, state-wide, larger regional and finally national elections to decide Presidents. Essentially, a candidate will campaign locally, in a city. Accepting political donations wouldn’t be kosher. If s/he wins the local election, s/he goes on to the regional election. The regionals could just be by county. The top 4 vote takers in the regional could go on to state. Debates would be held at colleges and would be televised at a state-wide level. The money required for these debates would be provided by the federal government — I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be taxed a bit to ensure that corruption is swept clean from the government?
Once a state has elected its candidate, then a couple of states will be divvied up into regions where votes are again taken for a national candidate. Finally, national elections would be held. Again, all debating would take place at college campuses. This would be the primary way of getting to know the candidates — through debate, not through soapbox speeches where they can say whatever they want to and not be questioned.
Anywho, that was my crazy idea now made crazier because I don’t remember the particulars very well. I never thought of how candidates for the House of Reps or Senate would work either.
So, lambast away! (Thanks to Dan for the picture below)