America Needs More Choices

I hate the two party system. Virtually every single election in America (in my lifetime at least) is little more than a replay of the same old ideology. The same old ideas from the same old people for the most part. As a voter and a pragmatic centrist, I yearn for new candidates who bring fresh ideas and perspectives to America–and are viable.

Why aren’t there more viable third parties in America? I can’t think of any reason constitutionally or institutionally preventing this…maybe some of my more politically aware colleagues can cure me of my ignorance on this point. From my perspective, it all boils down to money which is tremendously unfortunate. There is no telling how many qualified candidates we’ve overlooked or discarded on the basis of them not fitting into one of the major parties (Charlie Crist is in danger of falling into this category).

I think America would be better served by a viable third party and I am purposefully NOT thinking of the Tea Party. No, I don’t think America needs more parties operating on fringe beliefs and radical ideals. I think America needs a party that is willing and able to be the boring party that brings fresh ideas with none of the reactionary garbage the Tea Party spits out any given day. We need a party who isn’t going to whip the crowd up into a frenzy by passing out air pressure gauges labeled as Obama’s Energy Policy, but instead will counter ideas with ideas. A party which offers realistic (and hopefully) desirable alternatives to both the status quo and Democratic and Republican ideology. It seems pretty obvious the status quo is not getting the job done, and the Democrats and GOP have had ample opportunity. I say it’s time to give someone else a chance; America needs more choices.

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One Response to America Needs More Choices

  1. Michael says:

    One institutional reason would be the parties themselves. Since the current parties emerged as the dominant parties, they became quite good at co-opting ideas from third parties. Think of the Progressive Era. The Progressive party took a lot of ideas from the Populist party, and in turn, the Democratic party adopted many Progressive ideas into its platform. Another institutional factor, and a necessity of the two-party system, is that both parties have a “big tent,” and try to have broad appeal to maintain a large base. Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee are both pro-life; that’s about where the similarities end, and yet they are both members of the same party because Libertarians are held under the Republican tent. Maybe a Specter or Lieberman falls victim to ideological purity tests every now and then (and for Lieberman, it was a single issue), but overall, the parties are pretty inclusive.
    And if you consider limited government and individual liberty to be extreme ideas, I think you might not be as centrist and pragmatic as you think.

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