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canidmajor's avatar

How would we change the two party system (please read details)?

Asked by canidmajor (15673points) 1 week ago

Many of us don’t much like a two party system, but people only seem to try to change it at the last minute, during the elections with write-ins and last ditch third party candidates.

What can be done early on, in smaller elections, on the local and state levels to make a difference on a national scale, before we all get to the petty-bickering-before-the-big-election stage?

Honest question here, how can we revise/dismantle the two party system?

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16 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Vignette's avatar

Campaign finance reform pure and simple. Start with Citizens United and work your way down the ladder to aldermanic elections. Take away the cash flow/power of these super pacs and they cease to be a manipulating force for each party. What makes it all the worse is many of these corporate leviathans donate to both parties.

hmmmmmm's avatar

I’m not sure it’s possible without larger changes. While campaign finance reform (and reversing CU) is necessary, corporate media and the 2 corporate parties are really the firewall that guarantees that the left will never be able to organize an opposition party.

There are those who believe the only reasonable chance of effecting change is to infiltrate the Democratic party by running as a Democrat in hopes of gaining enough seats and power to be able to have a voice and shift the the Democratic party left.

Nobody is really sold on this idea, and they approach it with cautious optimism that some day there will be something other than 2 right-wing parties. Until then, however, people aren’t just sitting around. Activists and organizations are actively endorsing and canvassing for these candidates, while continuing their daily work.

The Bernie campaign gave the left hope back in 2016, but again witnessed the limitation of trying to go up against the weight of the corporate Democratic party. The stakes are too high not to try again, and I certainly hope it will work. But the blackout is real, and if you talk to people who get their information from tv, they really have no idea what is going on. It’s not promising.

And electoral politics is just a small part of the whole operation. Even if Bernie could be elected “organizer in chief”, it would still take people continuing to organize and demand actual change.

Short answer: I don’t know/it would likely take changes to our economic, media, and electoral system – the kind of changes we need to make anyway if we plan on surviving.

canidmajor's avatar

This is why I asked about local and state levels. There is a lot of hoopla addressing the big elections, but I hear nothing about what’s going on in my town, in my state. Ranked choice voting could be a start, it is being considered and adopted some places. (Maine?)

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ Yes, ranked choice is another good step.

gorillapaws's avatar

Ranked choice voting.

I would also point out that there’s a reason people are told to focus on the local level, it’s because they know it’s not going to ever reach the critical mass it needs to take off. Most people can’t name their state delegate, state senator, city council representative, etc. They don’t have the bandwidth to deal with that. It’s a tactic for dismissing 3rd parties entirely.

cookieman's avatar

Pie in the sky:

I would have a No Party System. You run as an individual, based only on your platform (which has to be a detailed plan based on verifiable research). All platforms are posted on a public website.

Campaign donations are only allowed from individuals and capped at $20K per person.

You can run ads, but they can only be about your platform and why we should vote for you. No slamming the competition.

If you want to run for office, you have to fill out an application one year in advance of the primary election.

Primaries narrow it down to the top four based solely on number of votes.

Main election is based, again, solely on number of votes. No electoral college. Popular vote wins.

cookieman's avatar

Oh, and the winner gets 3-dozen, homemade, chocolate chip cookies a week for life.

Darth_Algar's avatar

You don’t without changing our entire electoral system. A First-Past-The-Post system will always favor two-party dominance.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Have both parties share power. If you are Democrat then you get represented by a Democrat, and if you are a Republican then you get represented by a Republican. Would require a constitutional amendment.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, @Darth_Algar, that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

LostInParadise's avatar

You don’t have to change the entire system. Each state allocates electoral votes according to its own rules. A few states use ranked choice for primaries, though none use if for the general election.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Yes, but the Electoral College is only used in presidential elections, and two-party dominance goes much beyond that.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Honestly, that sounds like a system all but guaranteed to result in hopeless deadlock.

kritiper's avatar

There is no two party system.
We have two parties because there just are two major ones. But there can be many. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Moderates, Centrists, Whigs, Bullmooses, Jerrymanderers, Dingleberries, ...
You name ‘em, there can be a party of ‘em.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There will be no possibility of reform as long as the edict declaring money as speech stands unrescinded.

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