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Mar 20

The Democratic and Republican Cartel

In Brief—America’s two party system—Democratic and Republican—is rigged to exclude other parties from competing for the people’s vote thereby reducing interest in the democratic system boasted about by America.

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The Strangulation of America’s Third Parties—

A cartel for political purposes is defined as a coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest. Sound familiar?

In 2012 Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s campaign managers acting for the national parties had Dr. Jill Stein and her vice president, Cheri Honkala, the nominees of the Green Party, arrested and handcuffed to a chair because they had the audacity to ask to be included in the so-called “debate” between the Democratic and Republican nominees. Now look again at the definition of a cartel.

Political PartiesMost Americans like to believe they live in a democracy. But do they really? A democracy is defined as a system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives. Merely voting does not make a democracy. If voting alone makes a democracy, then Iran would qualify.

Aided by the Supreme Court conservatives, several Republican-dominated states have made it more difficult to vote in their effort to cement their power. America is alone among developed nations in disenfranchising its citizens…wel-l-l, certain citizens.

Back in January of 2015 I wrote a piece on the ascendancy of the oligarchs. Oligarchy is defined as a government run by only a few, often the wealthy, or a state ruled by such a government. If you doubt that the wealthy and powerful are in control of the levers of government, then you haven’t heard of the Citizens United case (the conservatives on SCOTUS strike again) or looked at the many ways the rich have built-in their advantage in America’s complex tax code. Why are investments granted a lower rate of taxation? What is the carried interest feature about? America is an oligarchy and the average voters are left eating the crumbs that fall off the rich folks’ table.

Over the years, I have become a realist. I choose to look at America and the world as it is, not as I would like it to be. Back in April of 2014 I wrote ”The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?” about whether one chooses to see the world as it really is or maintain the illusion that what the government and the mainstream media falsely claims is reality. Much like Neo, the hero of ”The Matrix”, I see the Democrats and Republicans as depriving the citizens of the right of actually choosing a candidate who represents them, forcing them instead to vote for the lesser of two evils or simply not voting at all.

America is one of the few nations with only a two party system. Most developed nations have a variety of parties that allow the voters to align themselves with a party that represents what that voter believes. Their governments customarily govern with coalition parties that may or may not support that country’s majority party. The key is that the individual voter has a choice.

There are distinct advantages to a multi-party system. Voter enthusiasm and turnout is greater when the voters have a stake in government. Voters can identify with the values of a particular party and, as stated earlier, are not confined to a choice between two parties neither of which represent the voters’ values.

Another advantage of a multi-party system is there is less partisan polarization such as we clearly see in America’s Democratic-Republican system. Today, we can see how the two-party system in America has become so polarized that it is dysfunctional. An extreme faction of the Republican Party has over the past several decades captured the party making it essentially unwilling to join the other party in governing the nation.

America has other parties, but the Republican and Democratic Parties have refused to allow them to take part in governing the nation. As illustrated earlier, the two major parties have actively opposed any involvement by the Third Parties.

Major Third Parties—

What are those major Third Parties? They are the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party. In addition, there are a number of smaller state parties that have not risen to major party status. Nevertheless, three major Third Parties are somehow surviving in America, but they are being shut out of participation by the Democratic and the Republican Parties. The ruling parties have convinced voters that a vote for a Third Party is a wasted vote. How many times have you heard that?

As I said at the outset, the Democratic and the Republican parties have created a cartel and the voters are stuck with a take-it-or-leave-it decision. So much for the little democracy that survives in America. Only the voters can change that dysfunctional system.

This election is a perfect time for you to vote for a Third Party since the Republican Party is coming apart, but I insist that you find out about the Third Party so you see if it represents your values. I have looked into all three of the major Third Parties and have determined that the Green Party represents my values. You should do the same.

Vote for a Third Party or resign yourself to the status quo that’s robbing you of your right of choice.

6 comments

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  1. Jim Newton

    This argument can cut both ways. In Canada Stephen Harper was able to stay in power because the centrist Liberals and the leftist NDP split the opposition vote and left him with enough seats in Parliament to continue to govern, to the extreme detriment of the nation.

    But in the last election in 2015 the two opposition parties worked together to determine the most electable candidate in each riding and throw their support to that candidate even if the candidate was from the other party, and Harper was defeated. In our case the Liberals won, but we would rather have them than Harper.

    For us we elected our NDP candidate in our riding, and that candidate was opposed by the Green party, the leader of which is in the riding is adjacent to ours. The leader of the Green party was elected in her riding but the Green candidate in our riding was not. Our candidate was an environmental lawyer who will be much more powerful in Parliament than the Green candidate would have been. So in the end the Green party leader won her seat but will have absolutely no voice in Parliament.

    In the US, voting for any party but the two major ones is throwing away your vote. It seems to me that if I could vote for Trump or any Democrat I would vote for the Democrat just to keep Trump out. Nothing could be worse than electing him.

    This doesn’t say that the system isn’t broken and that third, fourth, etc. parties should be welcomed. The Green leader in Canada, for example, was present in the debates.

    1. Don Bay

      You illustrate both the problem of a multi-party system and the solution. If the liberal parties go their separate ways, each with its own agenda, then the conservatives who united are free to run the government. However. if the liberal parties unite in opposing the conservatives, then the liberals take over the government.

      The lesson here is that it’s more advantageous to unite than to stubbornly stick your own agenda. Put in plain terms, half a loaf is better than none.

      The arguments in favor of a multi-party system are 1) that it allows the voter to choose the party with which s/he has something in common and thus increases participation, AND 2), it diminishes the chances of partisan polarization such as we see in the current American situation.

      You hit a key point in your final paragraph. Because Jill Stein was actively prevented in 2012 from putting forth her points, she was unable to expand the “debate” by raising points that the Democrat and the Republican wanted to avoid. Thus, the “debate” failed to inform the voters of important issues that cried out for open discussion.

      Though there is no perfect system, the multiple-party system is nonetheless superior to the constricted two-party system America has now. Only the voters can force this change since congress has a vested interest in the system staying as it is. Change the system or live with the status quo.

  2. Kathy

    Other ways voters in the US are disenfranchised: Closed primaries. Republicans vote for Republicans, Democrats vote for Democrats. Independents of whatever stripe don’t get to vote at all, no matter how large a proportion they are of the electorate. This leads directly, IMO, to extreme candidates. Also: this nonsense of delegates, especially when a state is “winner take all.” So-o-o-o-o…. let’s say 50.5% of voters who comprise, what, maybe the 20-30% of TOTAL registered voters who actually vote determine who that state’s electoral votes go to? Now isn’t THAT fair!

    The US system of electing the President is a horrific Rube Goldberg device that needs serious overhaul. There’s absolutely no excuse for it in the 21st century. A straight popular vote is far simpler and fairer.

    1. Don Bay

      Excellent points. Only two states (Nebraska and Maine, I think) have a proportional vote while the majority are winner-take-all states. I have started a blog piece on the advantage of having a direct vote compared with the outmoded Electoral College system. Big problem, though: even though the Democratic platform is for a direct vote of the people and the Republican platform is against it (Surprise!), dumping the Electoral College will never be approved by congress.

      Yet again, the Republicans are wedded to the the imagined glories of the 18th Century while the Democratic Party embraces the 21st Century. Republicans want to disenfranchise voters instead of encouraging voters. Why anybody is a Republican mystifies me. It’s the party of the past, rejecting the future. Go figure.

      Now, if the two-party system is abolished in favor of a multi-party system and voters are encouraged to cast their ballots for the party of their choice, America can begin to join the rest of the developed world.

  3. Donna

    a multi party or 3rd party system sounds better as we get further and further into the election campaign. Where are the anti Trump Republicans to go? or the anti Clinton Democrats? Yet, third parties have never succeeded in the US, only drawing votes from the candidate that would have won without the 3rd party being there.

    Still, Jim’s information about the disadvantage of third party elections sounds a warning too. And Kathy’s remarks about “Winner take all” are ones I identify with.

    Social media has also messed with our political elections. I don’t tweet or read Twitter, but tweets evidently made a big difference in Trump’s popularity and for the record – in the grass roots revolutions in the Middle East.

    I don’t know the solution, but I agree that only two parties give us just the lesser of two evils, and the electoral college gives many of us (especially if you live in a predominant Republican state and you’re a Democrat) a reason to either not vote, or vote for the Green Party, or other 3rd party – it won’t make a difference anyway.

    All of that said – it might not make a difference in the presidential race, but my vote really does count for the county and legislative races that are also on the ballot.

    One further question – would multi parties make election campaigns shorter?

    1. Don Bay

      You raise several interesting questions. The sum total is that the American system—indeed, voting throughout the world—is essentially a farce. In America, I think it’s impossible to get rid of the Electoral College and to have a considerably shorter campaign season.

      You mention the social media. In my cynical view, it’s not just the social media it’s the media generally. Their interest is attracting eyeballs and making a profit. Understandable in the capitalist system in place everywhere. As I have said amid a chorus of “Pessimist!”, capitalism will lead to the destruction of humanity. Earning a profit is as natural as breathing to humans. Thus, it is humanity that will bring about its own destruction.

      Back to the mundane…So far, I’ve not written about the average voter. Putting aside the few who actually know what they’re voting for, the overwhelming majority of voters haven’t a clue about who their representative is at any level (down-ballot or locally) and have no idea who s/he is or what s/he stands for or voted for. To the average voter—and I repeat that I’m not talking about the few informed voters—it’s a “gut” thing. They believe what the candidate says without question.

      If the candidate tells them s/he’ll make America (or wherever) great again, that’s what the voter hears and supports. If the candidate tells them that the moon is made of green cheese, the candidate is telling the truth. Put bluntly, I think the average voter is ignorant and emotionally-driven. They hear the dog whistle and they salivate. I don’t call that cynicism, I call it honesty based on observation of human nature.

      In reality, insofar as the presidential choice goes, America is locked into a choice between the lesser-of-two-evils: A Democrat or a Republican. While it’s remotely possible that this is the year when Third Parties have a chance, the elite in both major parties want things to stay much as the are. The unknown is just too scary for them to chance change.

      That’s Cassandra’s view.

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