Opinion

Bernd Debusmann

Time to end America’s two-party system?

By Bernd Debusmann
August 5, 2011

Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Confidence in the U.S. Congress is at a historic low, more than half of Americans think that the Republican and Democratic parties are doing such a bad job that a third party is needed, and the word “dysfunction” has been common currency in the drawn-out debate over the national debt.

Does this mean the bells are tolling for the Republican-Democratic duopoly which has dominated American political life for more than 150 years?

The answer is yes for a budding political force that aims to get the millions of voters who are disaffected by the present system to bypass the traditional selection of presidential candidates through primary elections.

Instead, the new organization, Americans Elect, says it wants voters “to decide the issues that matter, find candidates to match your views and nominate the President and Vice President directly.”

It’s a novel and extremely ambitious idea, backed by a 50-strong board of advisors that includes business executives, seasoned political operatives and senior former government officials, including ex-FBI director William Webster and former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills. Also on the board: Doug Schoen, a pollster who worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The chairman of the group is Peter Ackerman, who heads the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and made a fortune in the 1980s working for Drexel Burnham Lambert, the junk-bond dealers. His son Elliot is chief operations officer. Both are confident that the Internet and social media are the right tools to change the way the system functions.

The debt debate has strengthened the case of those who think the two-party system is failing. According to a CNN poll this week, 77 percent of Americans say that elected officials in Washington have behaved “like spoiled children” in the tug-of-war over raising the debt ceiling.

Schoen described the disenchantment of many Americans with the bickering in Washington as an “extraordinary opportunity” to win support for the Americans Elect project and said some 40,000 voters had added their signatures in the past few days to the 1.7 million the campaign had already collected. “We are winning greater public acceptance than anyone might have expected,” he said.

Traffic to the website also jumped, according to Americans Elect. “We had more than 600,000 page views on AmericansElect.org in the past 10 days,” said Ainsley Perrien, the project’s press secretary. “And, in the same period, more than 3,000 ideas and comments.”

These are substantial numbers for a new website and for an organization barely known nationally until an influential New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, wrote about it in enthusiastic terms in July: “What Amazon.com did to books, what the iPod did to music, what drugstore.com did to pharmacies, Americans Elect plans to do to the two-party duopoly that has dominated American political life – remove the barriers to real competition, flatten the incumbents and let the people in.”

FORMIDABLE OBSTACLES

Perhaps. There are formidable obstacles on the road to the goals of Americans Elect: win access to all 50 state ballots as an essential step to holding an online convention in June, 2012, open to registered voters who have signed up to select a candidate for president and vice president. The running mate must be from a different party (or independent).

Joshua Levine, the group’s chief technology officer who joined Americans Elect from the same position at E-Trade, has predicted that the way the group is planning its online convention will be a model for the way the voting process will be shaped in the future. Again, perhaps.

Old traditions die hard. But it is worth noting that according to polls, 41 percent of Americans are describing themselves as independents, beholden to neither of the two parties –  which are more polarized than the electorate as a whole.

Will the disenchanted middle go to the trouble of registering with Americans Elect, participating in debates, selecting candidates?

It’s difficult to predict whether the depth of disgust shown by the polls will translate into action, and the will to try something novel and untested. What Americans Elect is hoping to do is more than a twist on an old story of third party candidates taking on the establishment, as did Ross Perot in 1992 (he won almost 20 percent of the vote), John Anderson in 1980 (6.6 percent), or Ralph Nader in 2000 (2.7 percent).

Officials of the group say it’s more about opening a second, 21st century process than about a third party.

To paraphrase a Wall Street phrase – past polls are no guarantee of future results but it’s useful to keep in mind the surveys mentioned at the beginning of this column. Gallup began asking about Americans’ confidence in various institutions in 1973. Then, 42 percent of respondents said they had confidence in Congress. By June 2011, it had dropped to 12 percent, dead last on a list of 16 institutions.

Gallup began asking about support for a third party in 2003, when 40 percent of respondents said there was no need for it. By May 2011, 52 percent thought there was a need for a third party. Among independents, 68 percent of independents thought so.

And by June 2012, when Americans Elect plans to hold its online convention? Let the betting begin.

You can contact the author at Debusmann@Reuters.com

Comments
56 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

For the people to speak truth to power, the people must demand a systemic chage. Just like a breach in computer security, the “hackers” have broken our democracy and we need to upgrade our firewall.

What is the feasibility of replacing Congress with a Parliament? It is obvious that there will be no more productive work coming out of divided, polarized government. A Parliament would allow the party that was elected to move forward with the agenda supported by their constituents. Isn’t this why we even bother to vote in the first place?

Congress is irrelevant…the checks and balances idea is an archaic system that is unable to function in modern America. We need long-term solutions to deal with our ever growing population and it’s needs.

The system is defunct and needs to be revamped to fight the vermin and greed that has usurped the will of the People. Government built on compromise is neither effective or efficient.

Posted by 5280hi | Report as abusive
 

Projects like this require time, dedication and effort. Something the American people are lacking in at the current time, as most are to busy just holding on to their jobs, and paying their bills.
While I believe a third party is necessary (and ultimately important), it’s not just about electing a President and Vice President. A President who was of neither party, would be nearly powerless to get anything done.
What is needed is a country-wide third party. Which means getting qualified independents elected to congressional seats, governor’s chairs, and state legislatures.
I personally dislike the right more than the left, but you have to give the ‘right’ credit for their organization and growth over the last 30-40 years. They realized that change would only come if you had a strong base…. They started with the local school board, city and town council’s in getting their people elected. Some kooks emerged for sure, but many worked their way up the ladder and now serve at the highest levels. Building a party, particularly a new party, takes enormous amounts of organization, time and effort (and money). People are unhappy with the current situation, but are they truly angry enough to commit to the effort it will take to change it? I hope I live long enough to see the day, but I’m losing hope I will ever see it….

Posted by edgyinchina | Report as abusive
 

Yes, end the so-called “Two Party System”.

It is not in the Constitution and it has failed miserably. But the failure is due to several other tools used to create our current mess.

We need to end “winner take all” elections too. This is also not in the Constitution. It means a small minority can rule America with no regard for the wishes, or the rights, of the majority. We need proportional representation. If 5% of the people support party X, then party X gets 5% of the seats. Who cares if it makes ruling and invading more difficult?

We need to get rid of lifetime appointment of Federal Judges and Magistrates. That is also not in the constitution. They should be subject to a majority confirmation vote from the people under their jurisdiction every 10 years. Failed confirmation should make them ineligible for any Federal judicial post. Maximum service should be 20 years, no exceptions. We need no Cardinals in American Government.

We need to outlaw political contributions to more than one candidate in an election, directly or indirectly. We need to outlaw “buying” elections and politicians. This used to be called “bribery”.

Posted by txgadfly | Report as abusive
 

The two party duopoly is destroying our nation. They have the same goal, power at any cost, they just play the game differently. Americans must make it clear that they will not align with either party 100% of the time. When they do so, the politicians know they can do anything they wish and their party loyal will back them to the hilt. It’s our fault as citizens that this duopoly continues to get away this and it’s our responsibility to end it.

Posted by actnow | Report as abusive
 

Our last and only statesmen as President, George Washington stated in his farewell address to the nation, Political parties distort and misrepresent the views of others in order to further their aims to gain power. Why do we even need political parties? We are not a parliamentary form of government and neither are we a constitutional monarchy.

All media in this country pay a licensing fee to the government in order to broadcast and make a lot of money. In exchange for that privilege, all broadcast companies should be required by law to give equal air time for any candidate who can get his or her name on a ballot to express their views. This should be done free of charge as a public service to the People. After all the air ways belong to all of us.

Posted by coyotle | Report as abusive
 

If change doesn’t happen at the ballot, it will happen by other means. I hope we can change the system through rational debate and the will of the majority. But, after watching the debt ceiling debate, I fear for the worst.

Posted by IntoTheTardis | Report as abusive
 

The real answer is NO parties. It would be truly the most democratic way to elect leaders. Each politician would have to work to get elected on their own. No funding parties. Campaign donations would be limited to something like $200 per registered voter. Companies cannot donate money. Of course, there could philosophical parties, but it would be illegal for them to fund any candidates. This would also limit annoying barrage of campaign commercials. If done right, this would be the most democratic way to elect or government officials.

Posted by CoyoteCrawford | Report as abusive
 

The real answer is NO parties. It would be truly the most democratic way to elect leaders. Each politician would have to work to get elected on their own. No funding parties. Campaign donations would be limited to something like $200 per registered voter. Companies cannot donate money. Of course, there could philosophical parties, but it would be illegal for them to fund any candidates. This would also limit annoying barrage of campaign commercials. If done right, this would be the most democratic way to elect or government officials.

Posted by CoyoteCrawford | Report as abusive
 

No, just end the Party of No. If they want something like a war, make them pay for it upfront.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive
 

It doesn’t matter if you have a dozen parties. As long as special interests and lobbyists keep financing “our” representative’s re-election coffers, nothing will ever get fixed in Washington.

As it stands now, any “representation” the American people have in congress is mostly cosmetic.

Posted by HAL.9000 | Report as abusive
 

Those who advocate a third party forget the Liberal Party of the UK and the havoc it created when it was barely having two dozen seats in their Parliament. Developing a third party here will greatly help Tea Party guys because with very few seats they can play GOP and Democrats one against the other and be those who get things done ‘their way’. We have already experienced a sample. I can hear them speak from every platform available before the next election putting all the blame for whatever had happened on both GOP and Democrats. Harvesting the disenchantment of people with both these parties, they will try to drum up a reasonable number of Reps and Senators and hold the nation for ransom in the next four years. I do agree that most of our current legislators, especially the old bandicoots should be shown the way out, but we can do nothing worse than replacing them with Tea Party or any third party members. nirmalasuman@yahoo.com

Posted by nirmasuma | Report as abusive
 

Those who advocate a third party forget the Liberal Party of the UK and the havoc it created when it was barely having two dozen seats in their Parliament. Developing a third party here will greatly help Tea Party guys because with very few seats they can play GOP and Democrats one against the other and be those who get things done ‘their way’. We have already experienced a sample. I can hear them speak from every platform available before the next election putting all the blame for whatever had happened on both GOP and Democrats. Harvesting the disenchantment of people with both these parties, they will try to drum up a reasonable number of Reps and Senators and hold the nation for ransom in the next four years. I do agree that most of our current legislators, especially the old bandicoots should be shown the way out, but we can do nothing worse than replacing them with Tea Party or any third party members. nirmalasuman@yahoo.com

Posted by nirmasuma | Report as abusive
 

The tea party was supposed to have been a viable third party when it first appeared. The Republican Party quickly absorbed it.

The two party system masks the real divisions within the parties themselves so what difference will a third party make? And unless the media report the difference within the parties (they always seem to listen to the leadership) and make it more obvious, there won’t be much room for a third or forth point of view anyway.

There were brief periods when third parties have appeared in Congress but they seem to fade into one or the other parties. During the last election, none of the campaign posters I saw even announced the party affiliation of the candidates. I was lost. Most of the names meant nothing to me. But it forced me to look them all up in online.

It all has something more to do with voter psychology and political identity whether there are many parties in Congress or two. The minimum or a discussion is two points of view. Less is the sound of one hand clapping. Many more may make too muck of a racket. Or become too much of one. Elections are expensive now. How much more will be required for three or more parties?

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

Let the Tea Baggers split from the Republicans. If they don’t split, force them out.

As a separate party, I would also hope the Tea Baggers would attract all the ultra-conservative religious zealots too.

Let all of those folks form a party with, say 30% of the electorate. That way, neither Democrats nor Republicans would have a majority.

Then we’d have to hope that, with all the numb-scull zealots out of the way and clearly identified, the remaining Republicans and Democrats would form a middle ground coalition based on common sense principles and shared values.

Posted by loveone | Report as abusive
 

It has a lot to do with politicians promising everybody that they can have their cake, and eat it too.

Wanna fight two major wars and slash taxes at the same time?
Don’t wanna make cuts to social programs, while fighting two wars and slashing taxes?

No problem, just vote for me.

The numb-sculls that elect these liars are the same ones who’ll answer those emails from a deposed Nigeria king who offers the a million dollars to help them…

Just a bunch of fools.

Posted by loveone | Report as abusive
 

Michael Bloomberg is worth north of twenty billion dollars. He was a democrat until he realized he had to become a closet Republican to capture the Mayor of New York’s job. So, given his real background and beliefs this guy has the money, talent and guts to win the Independent voters vote in 2012. The current patheic losers in Congress are an embarrassment to our Country! Once the country becomes a three party political country then we can start throwing the current bums under the bus. The grand plan will take three election cycles to complete, but it could save America from itself.

Posted by widollar | Report as abusive
 

true that the bickerings over the current

Posted by Ramanan | Report as abusive
 

I recommend people look at the Green Party platform. The roadblocks to third parties must be taken down. Corruption at all levels of government has made a mockery of our guiding principles. Checks and balances do not work because they have been changed to ensure that result. We need public campaign financing with limited advertising on platforms alone with no mudslinging or lying allowed. We need a sensible and active impeachment procedure for those who fraudulently gain office, or refuse to do their duty when in office. We need to abolish the electoral college and any other body that refuses to follow the voters intent. We need term limits on the Supreme Court.
Elections campaigns do not need adds running every five minutes to get the message out. Once an hour is enough; more than that constitutes brain washing and ensures that the highest spending wins, which is why campaigns cost more each year. A couple months is enough for campaigning. Now our officers spend half their term occupied with fund raising and campaigning instead of doing their job. The pay rate of Congress needs to be tied to the average worker salary; they cannot raise their pay when instituting policy that lowers the average pay of the country. Pay for Congress should be reduced from the present level. They must be subject to the same laws they enact upon the rest of the citizens.

Posted by aligatorhardt | Report as abusive
 

True that the bickerings over the current Financial imbroglio has left a bad taste and makes one disillusioned with Democracy in general and the two party system in particular.
The problem encountered is inherent in Democracy where majority rule is important.
Again the value system of each individual is different while looking at problems.
Hence this controversy.
The alternate suggested will breed only anarchy at a later date.
However the emergence of third/fourth parties will be a certainty.
This is being witnessed in India where innumerable parties on the national level and at the State level have made governing an impossible task.
The the US you have people fighting for what they believe to be in the interest of the country.
In India it is personal aggrandizement that is ruining the country.
Multiparty system is good but people who run the parties
matter.
All said done two party system is the best bet until we frame a an alternate system to Democracy.pressures that these parties exert with personal agenda is making Democracy groan at the seams.

Posted by Ramanan | Report as abusive
 

True that the bickerings over the current Financial imbroglio has left a bad taste and makes one disillusioned with Democracy in general and the two party system in particular.
The problem encountered is inherent in Democracy where majority rule is important.
Again the value system of each individual is different while looking at problems.
Hence this controversy.
The alternate suggested will breed only anarchy at a later date.
However the emergence of third/fourth parties will be a certainty.
This is being witnessed in India where innumerable parties on the national level and at the State level have made governing an impossible task.
The the US you have people fighting for what they believe to be in the interest of the country.
In India it is personal aggrandizement that is ruining the country.
Multiparty system is good but people who run the parties
matter.
All said done two party system is the best bet until we frame a an alternate system to Democracy.pressures that these parties exert with personal agenda is making Democracy groan at the seams.

Posted by Ramanan | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Hal9000. We need campaign finance reform, not more political parties. I’ve always voted dem in pres elections. The fact that Obama is straying from dem principles doesn’t mean the party has changed, but that HE has. I’m not going to call myself an independent just because Obama is ignoring his dem base. If I vote for Bernie Sanders, I’ll still call myself a dem. He is more of a Democrat than is Obama.

Posted by yogahelps2 | Report as abusive
 

To elect someone who believes what you think, wouldn’t people have to start thinking? I think that is an insurmountable obstacle for this plan. In fact, people flock together for the express purpose of being told what to think. This plan defeats the entire purpose.

Posted by Jim1648 | Report as abusive
 

I doubt that a 3rd party (or 4th or 5th) would really make any difference. The problem is not that we don’t have enough diversity in political approaches to our problems. The problem is that, once elected, the politicians assemble an economic team made up of economists among whom there is absolutely no diversity when it comes to the most critical aspect of our economy – trade policy. Every mainstream economist is an advocate of unfettered, laissez faire free trade trade. Why? Because an economist in 1812 said it works, and not one economist today is willing to challenge that assumption, regardless of the fact that it has led to terrible imbalances that nearly collapsed the global economy (and still threatens to do so).

Also, every mainstream economist is an advocate of the use of population growth to prop up macroeconomic growth in the belief that, if the macroeconomy is growing, then everyone benefits, refusing to even consider where that ultimately leads. Nor do they attempt to explain how the daunting challenges we face today – worsening unemployment, our over-dependence on imported oil and our need to cut carbon emissions by 80% – can possibly be helped by adding more workers, more oil consumers and more carbon emitters.

The problem isn’t the political bent of our politicians, but the remarkable dearth of common sense and intellectual curiosity among those who provide their economic advice.

Posted by Pete_Murphy | Report as abusive
 

The problem is that it takes money to get elected. And only the wealthy and corporate elites have money–direct, as well as the even more pernicious indirect “bubba” money–to buy the candidate’s representation. Therefore, for anyone who cannot pay for the representation, there isn’t any. It really is that simple. Party affiliation is irrelevant.

Posted by jkw | Report as abusive
 

Any organization backed by “business executives, seasoned political operatives and senior former government officials” isn’t going to bring the type of changes the middle class needs. Fool me once…

Posted by Medusa | Report as abusive
 

More than a third party, we need to get corporate dollars out of the campaigns. A third party can easily be bought off, just as the first two have been. It’s campaign financing, stupid.

Posted by Medusa | Report as abusive
 

All you’ve to do is look across the pond to witness what multi-party system has done to Europe – ie. since end of WWII. From northern Scandinavia to periphery of mediterranean states, there is not a single state with dual party system anymore.

Political transparency demands the voice of the sovereign or electorate. And until the disenfranchised have a real chance to vote, me thinks, US will continue with its *two party* sacred cow!

Posted by hariknaidu | Report as abusive
 

I look back at the icons from this country’s history and wonder where we went wrong? Dr. Seuss had it right, “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” If the two party system can no longer attract men of vision and character to make the “simple” decisions, we as a country have a rough road ahead. Next year, I am voting for any/every third party/independent candidate on the ballot. I am tired of the far right and the far left running this country. A message must be sent from the middle and this is the only way.

Posted by YukonC | Report as abusive
 

There is only the illusion of choice. That is provided to divide the people and keep them busy arguing about politics while the real rulers sit back and smile at the sleeping masses.
Real choices are hidden from view by the powers that be AND the same old same old is always popularized and promoted. So the masses feel they must vote for one of the popular candidates. The good candidates are always made small and made fun of by the media. Like Ross Perot. Guess who is hardly mentioned today? Ron Paul. Another person who is just trying to talk common sense.

Posted by JuanWild | Report as abusive
 

Before we end a 2 party system, I would like to see us able to sack the entire government … all the way to the top.

Posted by tomwinans | Report as abusive
 

Having more parties doesn’t solve the problem. We in the UK have three, and now have a coalition government following a manifesto for which not only did nobody vote, but nobody was allowed to vote as all candidates refused to answer questions about a potential coalition.

What could help is politicians who wish to represent their voters, rather than expecting their voters to represent them (or worse, their party) — but that does not require a new political party. It just requires the voters to demand such candidates, and the existing parties to provide.

Sadly, while some US voters are indeed demanding candidates who no longer toe the party line, it appears that all they are getting are candidates who are even more extreme, even more prepared to cut off their nose to spite their face, and even less prepared to represent the values and interests of those with whom they might disagree.

It’s a problem which will only be solved by changing attitudes, not by tinkering with structures.

Posted by IanKemmish | Report as abusive
 

OnLine voting for Presidential Candidates, proposed by Americans Elect, will be open to manipulation by hackers. How will verification and accuracy in this day and age work? Do away with all parties, have rules for accountability, and remove any and all politicians who don’t comply. There are “honest” human beings on this planet that will serve. A government of the people, by the people, representing the people!

Posted by O2BINTHEMTNS | Report as abusive
 

As long as 1$ = 1 vote, it won’t matter how many parties there are, or how leaders are “elected.” Imperial government isn’t working for anyone but the globalist elite.

Posted by rvaliant | Report as abusive
 

Unfortunately, the peoples of the USA are drifting apart and into conflict while the Government wants to pretend that it will last 1000 years no matter what it does to the population. After the shooting starts it is too late to reach accommodation. Wake up, those of you who think it is “your” country.

Posted by txgadfly | Report as abusive
 

The Two-Party system is not the problem in America. It is the weakening of the citizen-systems that have kept parties in check (e.g. journalism) and politicians who act like undisciplined rabble.

Posted by SanPa | Report as abusive
 

https://secure.americanselect.org/about A web site offing people a way to directly nominate and vote for a candidate online. Not a new third party, but a field of candidates outside of the “good ole’ boy” system who would work for the people who elected them, not corporations and special interest groups.

Posted by xkross | Report as abusive
 

@txgadfly – You liken the Supreme Court to the College of Cardinals. The Supreme Court Justices don’t elect the President. What’s the problem with lifetime SC justices?
It allows them to outlast political opinion that changes so dramatically over the years. It seems to me the more any position is politicized the worse it will get.

Your suggestion would make them less independent than they already are. They are supposed to be philosophers with a very long view – with the longest view of any of the branches of the government: at least that’s what happened to them. The constitution seems to leave it vague what term they should serve – “On good behavior”. Most people have no idea what federal judgeships are appointed with the change of administrations. I’ve seen lists but they may as will be a grocery bill. I don’t really want to know because, unless one is an attorney, what makes a good judge from a hack? They’d all start to look like hacks.

I think states should do away with elected Judges. Some do and some don’t. And all district judges should be appointed by pier review. In the state I live in, county sheriffs are elected but not judges. Sheriffs are usually process servers.

FYI – The cardinals were originally secular administrators and Popes could sell red hats. They did what every other civil government did and sold lucrative jobs to the highest bidder or the best connected. I have no idea what they do today now that there are no secular roles or territories to administer.

The problem today is the house members have to spend too much time getting themselves reelected and even the president has about two years to get his programs through and the last two years to prepare for a possible second term. And it is generally the case that the last two years of the second term are his lame duck years. And that’s when presidents write all the executive orders, to get even I suppose? I never heard of executive orders until about 15 years ago.

What if every term specified in Congress was doubled and strict limits were placed on campaign finance? But campaign contributions are now considered free speech. I still do not understand how campaign contributions by corporation can be considered free speech? That a corporation can be considered a person and yet can’t be limited like any other person? And Congress isn’t eager take it up. It’s biting the hand that fees them.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

“It’s a novel and extremely ambitious idea, backed by a 50-strong board of advisors that includes business executives, seasoned political operatives and senior former government officials, including ex-FBI director William Webster and former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills. Also on the board: Doug Schoen, a pollster who worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

Posted by carmenslade | Report as abusive
 

Unfortunately the two parties make deals as to how they work in getting around little things like the constitution and actually working for the good of the country. Yes there are differences in ideology. What we had been and continue to see is nationally elected officials fighting over how to use the treasury to retain their personal power over more than the segment of the population they were elected by. There hasn’t been anyone elected to national office on over 50 years who wasn’t in it for themselves and that includes Jack Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Too cynical? Look at the track records and tell me I’m wrong. Another party to dilute power of the two we have will be a good thing. If we thought the recent fight over the debt ceiling was ugly wait until we see what the R’s & D’s do when they are forced to share power with a third party. The worst is yet to come for America if we do not regain control over our politicians.

Posted by sandiego1969 | Report as abusive
 

One of the primary reasons we evolved into a 2-party system in this country is because there is therein a MAJORITY winner, and the concept of majority rule has long held sway in this nation. Having a multiple party system, with a plurality winner, is how you end up with people 60% (or more) of the populace did NOT vote for in power.

What the disaffected minorities, like the Tea Party, seem to refuse to accept is that they often (almost always, in fact) get out-voted by the majority. That will not change if they split off into a separate party. Seventy-five percent of the people will STILL not want the platform of the Tea Party enacted.

Posted by TheNightowl | Report as abusive
 

In many states, the two parties are written into local elections laws. So it would be hard to get rid of them. That’s too bad, because political parties are undesirable in general, and each of the two political parties we have in the United States is undesirable in its own unique way. The Republicans tend to be mendacious, while the Democrats tend to be idiotic.

Posted by Bob9999 | Report as abusive
 

This is more a social problem. Talk to your neighbours…

Posted by markbratanov | Report as abusive
 

Lets have a three party system where the third party is the American people for the really important changes we are going to make. I really believe that the way the debt issue was handled by certain people especially any Republican party member that the people were absolutely fuming at how it was handled. Even big business and the minority rich people should have been appalled at the proceedings even if most of it was caused by their agendas. It really made our political system look like it stunk.

Posted by David123456789 | Report as abusive
 

The two party system is not the problem. The influence/money of special interests and corporations are the problem. Most of the people in Congress could care less about doing what is best for the country. They are all consumed with getting reelected and/or securing connections that will provide them plenty of opportunity to enrich themselves outside of Congress. We need to have elections strictly funded by public money and do away with any and all campaign contributions. We need to understand that most lobbyist do not have the best interest of the majority of Americans at heart. We need to put in strict laws that severely limit the ability of these special interests to influence elected officials. Those elected to Congress should have only two priorities: 1. What is best for the country as a whole. 2. What is best for the district that elected them. Until the above gets done it will not matter how many political parties we have.

Posted by Rodean | Report as abusive
 

This is a line of horse droppings.
Peter Ackerman? This guy has been giving money to both sides for years. This is simply an attempt by the Wall St syndicate to maintain control of US politics. Any party Ruetars is talking about is already usurped by the tribe.

Posted by JamesScott2 | Report as abusive
 

There is little question that Rs and Ds both spend taxpayer money like wild–Rs through government contracts given to their friends (private enterprise according to them) and Ds through new government agencies, “initiatives”, programs linked to non-profits headed by their friends. I agree that Third Party power will begin with seats in Congress, State Legislatures and State houses. Now, get registered and run for Congress–start today. Check your Secretary of State’s website and get what you need to be on the ballot in 2012. Run for Congress. Run for Congress. Make yourself heard.

Posted by Whigman | Report as abusive
 

If political positions can be parsed into three parts institutionally – why not five or six – or multiples of two or multiples of three? Why not twelve sides to every question? The US tends to live with binary politics while other countries may live with more subdivisions. Perhaps they have more time to lavish on decision making? Perhaps they are only addicts of politics and even less able to reduce beliefs to basic yes or no. Three parties will be a variant on the u yes or no. It will be two parties with a cedilla or an accent or an umlaut.

Two party system may really only be an aesthetic choice or the choice between Yes or No. The proportions of votes on any issue hardly matters except for the Supreme Court. What media reports even seem to notice?

Honesty or broader outlook can also be an illusion. If one gets too far from ones’ core concerns one is in danger of having none. The question is one of sincerity. How much should sincerity cost and not even the most spectacularly sincere – Kennedy comes to mind – ever forget the core concern of having the financial backers so that they could matter in public affairs at all.

But if the patient is as sick as so many of the comments suggest, than the patient is also the doctor and in the very likely loosing situation of having to operate on himself.

The only thing that keeps a thirds party form existing is that most people want sure bets with their campaign contributions. If third parties are going to mater it is up to them to do it not for the other parties to make room for them.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

I would trust anything this group of political insiders put forth as far as I could throw them. Yes, America desperately needs a third and more parties. It also needs to get the money out of politics and make all elections taxpayer funded. Until this happens, third, fourth, and fifth parties won’t make a big enough dent to change the way Washington works. Even then, what do you do about what appears to be bought and paid for Supreme Court Justices?

Posted by Marks2Much | Report as abusive
 

As an American who has lived in Canada, let me warn against setting up any kind of Parliamentary government in the future in the USA. The result is pure dictatorship, except during the run-up to an election. The Constitutional basis of the system of checks and balances (President-Congress-Supreme Court) does work, has worked, and will work again. It has been choked by lobbyists in the House and Senate. In fact, it has been choked by One Giant Lobby in particular, obeying the orders of One Foreign Power. I am talking about treason here. Forget the labels. We are facing a financial holocaust because American has been on a guilt trip since WWII, to psychologically paralyze them into submission to rulership abroad.

Posted by Cheryl-Helena | Report as abusive
 

Marks2Mush says – “bought and paid for Supreme Court Justices?”. That seems like a practical impossibility. Could you explain how this might a occur? Potential Justices do not have to campaign for their appointments.

And at Cheryl-Helena – what guilt trip has the US been on since 1945? They have been very aggressive – with at least 6 wars in that time. The country doesn’t seem to be crippled with self incrimination.

Wouldn’t you hope that – unlike a few commenter (on other sites) who identify with the bomb – they don’t brandish it and do feel a little guilty about the Japanese cities. Don’t you remember Barry Goldwater? He wanted to nuke the Vietnamese.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

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