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janbb's avatar

Is 2016 the time to break the two-party system?

Asked by janbb (57150points) December 10th, 2014

Clearly the government as it now constituted is dysfunctional. Personally, I would love to see an Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders ticket but its unlikely they would get the Dems’ nomination. Should they run as a third party ticket and should there perhaps be a far-right or libertarian ticket as well? Usually, I don’t vote for third party candidates but maybe it is time to take a stand for real change. What do you guys think in terms of more candidates? (I’d rather not get bogged down in opinions about my choices.)

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22 Answers

grac3alot's avatar

I’m for it. I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012 (libertarian party). We only had 1% of the voters (around a million votes). I plan to vote for him again in 2016.

bossob's avatar

Both parties are guilty of making it near impossible for a third party to get anywhere, and for diminishing the value of a citizen’s vote.

The only two parties we need at the moment are ordinary citizens vs. politicians. If voters on the left and right would tune out the bullshit orchestrated by politicians and media, they could gather forces long enough to vote in politicians who’s priority is restoring the value of citizens’ votes.

campaign financing
re-districting
tax code
lobbying
voting rights/standards

are all processes that have been tweaked for decades to the advantage of politicians and their wealthy benefactors. The parties have taken our power, and it’s past time to take it back.

talljasperman's avatar

A Clinton/Oprah ticket. It would be fun to watch on CNN.

dappled_leaves's avatar

The time to wish for a third party is when the other side (not your own) is thinking of dividing into two factions. Believe me, living in a liberal country, but seeing the worst government in Canadian history not only elected, but re-elected due to vote splitting among liberal parties is extraordinarily frustrating.

I think we could all do with electoral reform – towards a system that doesn’t punish electors for having good choices.

janbb's avatar

@dappled_leaves Yes, that is the theory that has always held for me but this time I might decide to vote my conscience and screw the lesser of two evils. Not sure.

janbb's avatar

@dappled_leaves True dat. But since the two parties have been bought by corporations can’t I dream a little? (At least two years before the election.)

dappled_leaves's avatar

@janbb Absolutely. You can also do work for the party you support. I believe strongly in supporting the best party until voting day, because everything we do matters, can influence others – and surprise outcomes can occur.

But on voting day, I will make the best strategic choice, given the outcome of all that work. There’s no use saying that both parties in your country are equivalent, even if they have both been “bought”. There are specific consequences that will follow from a win by one or the other party. We all know that.

janbb's avatar

@dappled_leaves Of course, you are right. There are huge difference between the two parties still; I’m just frustrated.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@janbb Take comfort in the fact that you’re not the only one!

hominid's avatar

While I think it would be nice to have more than a the 2-party absurdity that we have now, I’m not sure how to bring that about. Let’s say we wake up after having elected Warren/Sanders. Now what? In what ways would things change? I suspect it would look very much like what we have now. If Warren/Sanders decide to go all cowboy and really shake things up, what could they do? And how far could they get?

The problems are larger than who’s sitting in the White House (or even walking the senate floor). Without money, any temporary idealism will be crushed. Hard. We also have to consider that the U.S. media is really just a handful of large corporations.

I don’t mean to sound like a complete downer. I voted Green in 1996 and 2000, and considered people who vote “lesser of two evils” part of the problem. Maybe they are – I mean we. I’ve given up and now do the lesser of two evils thing. I just can’t imagine anything happening from a presidential election of someone different. It seems that we’d need to see simultaneous large-scale sweeps in congress and locally. Then we’d still have a system that runs on money. We’d need a revolution.

I could be wrong.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@hominid @bossob‘s list is exactly what needs to be addressed. I would add a change to the actual voting system – i.e., what constitutes a win – and an enforceable media code of standards.

The problem is, of the two parties with power in your country, only one is interested in changing any of these things for the fairer. And they’re not that interested, because they know they’d have a small revolt on their hands from the brainwashed right if they actually did anything.

So, what to do? When individual people try to organize to make change, like Sanders and Warren, they end up in government, or we never hear of them. I think the only thing ordinary Americans can do to support the change they want is to vote, and to convince everyone they know to vote. I mean, just increasing the turnout would improve things greatly.

osoraro's avatar

It’ll never happen. The only way it could happen at this point is to scrap the Constitution completely and create a parlementary system.

JLeslie's avatar

I love the idea in theory, but it’s scary for the reason other jellies have mentioned—splitting the vote helping the other side win. However, I think maybe if we had 3 or 4 serious contenders on the ticket for a few election cycles then maybe the split vote would be less likely. More and more people would truly vote for who they liked best and pay less attention to the party.

Possibly, we have to bite the bullet, make the change, live through some disappointing elections and start something new that will be better in the end.

I’m not sure. Just thinking out load. I really like Elizabeth Warren. I also really wanted Hillary Clinton when she was running and so I would be torn between the two. If they both run in the primaries I will probably pay closer attention to this election cycle than other in the past.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@bossob got it right. The 2 parties have seen to it that no outsiders need apply. This is necessary to maintain the status quo. It’s a beautiful setup, because it assures that money will always trump polity. Both parties are for sale. The Republicans have the advantage, because they all but openly admit that the government is for sale. Their position amounts to “so what?”. The Democrats on the other hand are compelled to the hypocritical pretense that they’re somehow different, knowing that their constituents have no choice other than the lesser evil.

JLeslie's avatar

Typo: loud not load.

johnpowell's avatar

I actually like the people I vote for. My sister worked for DeFazio and we still get Christmas cards from his staffers. Ron Wyden is pretty great too. He is fighting for net nutrality.

I make great choices. The problem is that everyone you vote for is stupid. And I am pretty sure you feel the same way.

Zaku's avatar

Instant run-off voting is long overdue. And it’s been a long time since there has been an actual progressive or even non-corporate candidate.

jerv's avatar

Well, given that the last few elections have been either a choice between crap and dung (same shit, different label) or trying to pick the lesser of two evils, I think that the two-party system must go if our nation is to even have a chance to stop regressing towards Third World status.

@JLeslie That is precisely how the “batshit brigade” took over the Republican Party and made the GOP swerve ludicrously far to the right, Mainstream/moderate Conservatives would rather throw their lot in with the zealots and fanatics than split the vote in a way that might allow a Democrat into office.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@johnpowell That’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t matter how good or qualified the candidate. The system subsumes all comers and dull mediocrity smothers statesmanship. It’s like tossing diamonds in a bucket of shattered glass with the hope that the quality of the shards will somehow improve.

LostInParadise's avatar

I would love to see Warren run for president, either as a Democrat or independent. She has coined a new catchphrase which pretty much says it all: “The best senator money can’t buy.” I vote solidly Democratic but I will not vote for Clinton. I will vote instead for the most progressive third party candidate. The Democrats have moved too far to the right. A strong challenge on the left may be the thing to get them to return to their core values.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@LostInParadise “A strong challenge on the left may be the thing to get them to return to their core values.”

Good luck with that.

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