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Political Party:

1) An organized group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions, that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.
2) A special interest group whose members run for office.


1) A person who is averse to change and holds traditional values.
2) A person favoring free enterprise, private ownership, and traditional social ideas.


1) A supporter of policies that are socially progressive and promote social welfare.
2) A supporter of a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.

Political Parties (a Political Issue)


The United States Constitution does not mention political parties. Our founding fathers had feared that political factions would tear the nation apart. They wanted to avoid the political divisions that had torn England apart in the bloody civil wars of the 17th century. They saw political parties as corrupt relics of the British monarchical system and wanted to discard them in favor of a truly democratic government.

Therefore, the candidates for our first elections all ran as individuals (independents). However, for some offices, there were often dozens of candidates, which made it difficult for some voters to decide who to vote for. In addition, with so many candidates, several similar candidates would often split the vote in such a way that a single fringe candidate would end up with the most votes.

Then, in the 1790’s, despite our founding fathers’ fears about political parties and without anyone really looking for a better solution, the first political parties were organized. The idea behind having these political parties was that like-minded individuals could combine and concentrate their resources to select and then to elect a candidate who was on their side of the issues and who would work towards their goals. Then, those political parties that had more members and had more money and resources were better able to get their candidates elected.

At first, a lot of different political parties were formed. For a long time, they were mainly local, state or regional parties. Over the years, many different political parties came and went. Eventually, mainly due to the advantages of the money and resources that a larger party provided, the political landscape eventually became dominated by two large political parties.


However, there is a disadvantage that grows bigger as a political party grows larger. The more members a political party has, the less likely its members will all agree on even our currently most important dozen or so issues, let alone all our hundreds or thousands of other issues. Although those of us with more similar views on some issues are more likely to have similar views on some other issues, we are still unlikely to agree on a lot of these other issues. Then, this can lead the likeminded individuals within a party to form factions to try to shift the party's positions and policies on the issues their way.

In most countries, voters have a choice between many different political parties, and can usually find one that best represents them. If not, they can easily start a new political party that does. However, in the United States, we have two major political parties that so dominate the political landscape that other political parties are hard to start and have little chance to get candidates elected. Therefore, most voters who want to try to push their agenda will need to join one of our two major political parties, and maybe then join one of its factions.

At some given point in time, a majority of the members of a given political party or at least its largest faction may generally have agreed on their positions and policies related to our currently most important dozen or so issues. However, over time, some issues will lose importance and others will gain importance. Although a party and its factions may have been generally in agreement on our previously most important issues, they may not be in as much agreement on our newly most important issues.

As our most important issues change, divisions may form within a party's current factions, since its members may not be in as much agreement on these other issues. This may lead to some factions growing or shrinking, some factions splitting, and some new factions forming. As each faction becomes stronger or weaker, its influence over a party platform either grows or shrinks. The one or more factions that are now the strongest, will be able to mold their party's positions and policies on the issues, which could change them from what they were before.

As a party's positions and policies change, the party can lose members who no longer agree with these changes and may gain new members who are now in more agreement with these changes. As a party loses and gains members, its composition can change. That is, it could end up with more members that want and push for additional changes to its positions and policies. These additional changes can lead to more individuals leaving and joining the party, and more changes to its positions and policies.

Over time, the changes in what issues are most important to us and the changes in the composition of a party could transform that party into something completely different than it was before. On the other hand, two opposing factions within a party could grow until they tear that party apart. This has happened in the past, and there have been some recent threats by some to do it again. However, the two major parties have become so powerful and entrenched that it would be extremely hard for a new political party to gain the needed traction to succeed, which makes a split unlikely at this time.

Example Factions

We can use a made up and somewhat outlandish example to illustrate how factions work without getting into any controversy over our current political parties. Let's look at some political parties that exist on Hat World, where everyone must wear a hat in public but where individuals disagree over what hats they should be required to wear.

The citizens of Hat World disagree over the best hat color, brim size, brim shape, crown height, crown shape, and what trim and decorations should be allowed. Many of the individuals that have the strongest and most extreme views on what types of hats they want individuals to wear have joined the two largest political parties. These are the Simply Elegant (SE) Party and the Brashly Bold (BB) Party.

Each of these two parties has a platform defining what they think hats should look like. Each platform is very different from the other party's platform. In addition, although the members of each party generally agree with other members of their party much more than they do with the members of the other party, they do disagree somewhat with their party's platform and have divided into different factions that are trying to change their platform. With hat color being the current primary concern for individuals, a hat’s color is each party’s main platform plank and is what divides its members into factions.

In general, the Simply Elegant (SE) Party believes that hats should be simple and elegant. In general, they prefer hats to have simple colors like white, black or some tasteful shade of gray, and to have simple brims and crowns, short crowns and little if any trim or decorations. The three main factions have split the members between those who prefer white hats, those who prefer black hats and those that prefer gray hats, but other minor factions also exist. If the largest faction wanted white hats, then the party platform might say the party was for white hats, which all the members still prefer over bright colors.

In general, the Brashly Bold (BB) Party believes that hats should be brash and bold. In general, they prefer hats to have bright colors like blue, red, and green, and to have fancy brims and crowns, tall crowns and lots of trimming and decorations. The three main factions have split the members between those who prefer blue hats, those who prefer red hats and those that prefer green hats, but other minor factions also exist. If the largest faction wanted blue hats, then the party platform might say the party was for blue hats, which all the members still prefer over simple colors.

When multiple candidates from either party run for office, they would need to compete in a primary. The most determined members of each party would most likely show up to vote in their primary. That is, the ones who were the most ardent about wanting their preferred hat color and other hat features imposed on everyone, starting with their own party members. Therefore, the winner in each party's primary would most likely be the candidate whose hat preferences most closely matched those of the most determined members of their party.

Given that party members would generally prefer the hat color and other features being promised by their party over those of the other party, they would most likely vote in the general election for their party's candidate. Even if that candidate's preferred hat features were not exactly what they wanted. Those individuals who did not belong to either of these parties would most likely be left to choose between two sets of hat features that they did not really like. They might then simply vote for the candidate who preferred the hat features they liked a bit better or the ones they disliked the least.

Then, if the Simply Elegant (SE) Party won the most seats, then they would most likely try to change the law to require white hats, since hat color was the biggest concern for most voters. Since the white hat faction was the biggest, it would have helped to elect more of their candidates, which should then give it the largest share of their party's representatives. These representatives would be party members who wanted white hats and ones who simply would need the primary votes of the white hat faction to get reelected. Therefore, most of the party's members would most likely vote for white hats, even the ones who did not really want white hats.

The Simply Elegant (SE) Party may also claim a mandate to change all the other hat features. However, it is less clear how successful they would be with these other hat features, since they were not as big a concern for the voters. However, whatever changes they were able to make might result in a backlash from all the voters who did not want those changes.

Over time, voters' hat priorities may change. Maybe brim width will become more important. Maybe the Simply Elegant (SE) Party had passed a law to restrict brim widths to less than one inch, and voters now wanted wider brims. If so, the wider brim faction of the party might grow and dominate the party, which might result in more wider brim candidates winning primaries and wider brims becoming part of a new party platform. If these wider brim candidates also preferred black hats, then that might also become part of a new party platform.

As more time goes by, some Simply Elegant (SE) Party members might decide that feathers were elegant, and their faction was able to grow large enough to add that to their platform, along with an appropriate trim to hold the feather. Some members might also decide that certain crown shapes were more elegant than the simple ones, and their faction was able to grow large enough to add that to their platform.

As time continued to pass, more factions might form and continue making changes to the party's platform. At some point, the party has changed so much that it no longer resembles what it once was. On the other hand, the factions could grow so far apart that they split the party. The party members that preferred simple hats might form a new Simple Hat (SH) Party, and the party members who preferred elegant hats might form or rename the existing party as the Elegant Hat (EH) Party.

Although this hat example is contrived, it does illustrate some things that have happened and could still happen with our real political parties. We will see some of that in the next subsection that goes a little more into the history of the political parties in the United States. In later sections, I will talk about how a new electoral process and other changes could have made life better for the inhabitants of Hat World. That is, a way to allow them to have more say and choice in the features they could have in their hats.


In the 1820's and 1830's, the political landscape was quite complicated with various local, state and regional political parties. Various factions and coalitions within and between these parties and other groups had begun to reshape the political landscape.

In the 1824 presidential election, none of the 4 candidates, who were all affiliated with the Democratic Republicans Party, got a majority in the popular vote or in the electoral college vote. Although Andrew Jackson got the most popular and electoral votes, the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams. Andrew Jackson denounced this election as a "corrupt bargain" between Adams and the Speaker of the House, and started to assemble a coalition that included the new Democratic Party and various other groups.

In the 1828 presidential election, Andrew Jackson won with his new coalition. This resulted in the Democratic Republicans Party splitting apart with those favoring Jackson going over to the Democratic Party, and the rest forming the short-lived National Republicans Party (not related to the current Republican Party).

The Democratic Party then became the first well-organized and tightly controlled national party. With the support of the Democratic Party, Jackson supported the idea of limited government and opposed special interests, new government programs and the banking system. This led to a polarization of the voters between those who supported and those who opposed Jackson. Those who were opposed to Jackson formed the Whig Party.

By the early 1850's, the major political parties were the Whig Party and the Democratic Party. The issue of slavery had taken center stage and led to a shift in the political landscape. The Whig Party had felt that the issue of slavery in the new territories should be left up to the people instead of Congress. However, the voters seemed to disagree with this approach, and that seems to have led to their devastating loss in the 1852 election and their eventual demise as a party.

Many of the former Whigs joined the anti-slavery Republican Party, which emerged as a third party in 1854. The Republican Party took on many of the policies of the Whig Party, except they opposed slavery in the new territories. With the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the Republican Party became a major political party. Since then, the two major political parties have been the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

The Democratic and Republican parties present a perfect example of how political factions can change what a party stands for. If you look at the positions and supporters of these parties prior to 1932, the descriptions will sound a lot like what they would be today, except they would have been switched. Back then, the Democratic party was conservative and believed in a small government and states' rights and opposed industrial modernization. At the same time, the Republican party was liberal and believed in high tariffs and more government programs to help the people.

Although the political positions and policies of the Democratic and Republican parties had already started to shift, the Great Depression from 1929 through 1939, and the Democrats' New Deal programs of 1933 through 1939 accelerated this shift. This resulted in the Democratic Party becoming the party of big government. With this change, the supporters, positions and policies of both political parties continued to shift. By about 1976, the parties had basically swapped positions and policies on most issues.


Today, many factions still exist in both of our major political parties and continue to shift their party's positions and policies on the issues. However, for the most part, the benefits of size have continued to win out over the disagreements that party members have had over the issues. For the members of these political parties, the general attitude may be that it is better to get someone elected who is at least close to their views on the major issues than to risk letting someone else get elected.

Unless someone is independently wealthy or already well known, it is difficult to get elected to a political office without the resources of a political party. Therefore, most individuals who run for political office belong to a political party, even when they do not agree with the parity's positions and policies on the issues and even when they are well known or wealthy.

When it comes to getting involved in the political process, the political parties have left many of us with limited choices. We can go with whichever one of the two large political parties that most closely agrees with our views, go with a third party that may better represent our views, but may have little chance of winning, or try to influence things from the sidelines as independents or as members of one or more special interest groups.

Is there a way to improve the current situation or is there a better alternative? Yes, but to see what we can do, we should first take a little closer look at a few more aspects of the current situation.

Special Interest Groups

A special interest group (also called an advocacy group, lobbying group, or pressure group) is made up of likeminded individuals who combine and concentrate their resources to influence and to steer public policy and legislative action on some issue towards their point of view. Since it is often difficult for us to get our opinions heard, special interest groups can be a good way to help provide some of us with a voice.

On the other hand, some special interest groups create problems for our political system, since they will often resort to buying influence, to pressuring our representatives or to using misleading or false advertising instead of really discussing the issues.

Interestingly, political parties and special interest groups have a lot in common. They only seem to have a couple of real differences between them. In addition, their differences only seem to have any real significance when we talk about the larger political parties.

The first important difference is that a special interest group is usually set up only to deal with a single or a few related issues, whereas the large political parties must deal with a wide range of issues. Even so, the political parties often try to steer the debate towards those few issues where they feel that their views are most popular with the voters and to downplay or even to ignore many of the other issues.

The other important difference is that the members of special interest groups are separate from the government, but often try to control members of the government, whereas the members of a political party can try to take over control of the government from within. For the larger political parties, one of their main goals seems to be to become the dominant or ruling party, so, theoretically, they will be able to more easily enact legislation that furthers their agenda.

Majority Rule

In most societies, it is more likely that more individuals will be happier with the way things are going, when a majority decides how their government works and what it does than when a minority or even a single person decides everything.

However, as I have already talked about in the section on democracy, majority rule may not protect everyone. All that majority rule does is to provide a better way to protect those individuals in the majority. What we really need are procedures, and the checks and balances that would ensure that all of us and all living things can be protected and given the chance to live our lives as we want, to the extent that we do not needlessly harm others.

The way our democracy was envisioned to work, was that we would be ruled by the majority. Although this is not the best option, it would still be better than a monarchy, a dictatorship or some other form of authoritarian or minority rule. However, given our current political climate, we really do not have majority rule.

Based on our current political and electoral processes, most of our elected officials are members of either the Democratic or Republican party, which has led to many, if not most, of our governments being dominated by one or the other of these political parties. As of 2020, 31% of Americans indented themselves as Democrats, 25% as Republicans, and 41% as independents.

Since each of our political parties only represent a minority of the voters, this means that most of our governments would end up being controlled by just a minority of the voters. In addition, members of political parties are made up of individuals who are on average much farther to the left or to the right of most of us. That means that if one party is in control in some place, then they will be able to pass laws that are further to the left or right of what most of us want.

When our representatives lean a lot further to the left or right of their constituents, we end up with minority rule. As an analogy, think what would happen to us if we leaned too far to the left or right. We would fall over. If a ship leans too far to the left (port) or right (starboard), it will capsize and sink. Something similar could happen to our country if we let the minorities on the left or right control our governments.

At the very least, we need to ensure we have majority rule. However, our eventual goal must be to get to a point where our governments work for all of us, and not just for those of us who are in the minority or even in the majority. Given our differences, this may seem difficult, and it might be, but there are ways to make it work, and I will talk more about that in the upcoming sections.

Party Principles or Beliefs

Theoretically, each political party and its members has a set of guiding principles or beliefs. The party would say that they use these principles and beliefs when they decide their positions on the issues, what laws they want to pass, and how they want to run our governments. The party members would say that they also use these principles and beliefs when deciding how to live their lives. Although the political parties may say they use their principles and beliefs, it seems to me that they do not always follow them.

For the Republican Party, they are generally considered to be conservative. When talking about someone who is politically conservative, we are talking about a person who is averse to change and holds traditional values, or a person favoring free enterprise, private ownership, and traditional social ideas.

For the Democratic Party, they are generally considered to be liberal. When talking about someone who is politically liberal, we are talking about a supporter of policies that are socially progressive and promote social welfare, or a supporter of a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.

Based on the above definitions of conservative and liberal, it looks like the Republicans and Democrats should have some principles and beliefs in common. These would include free enterprise, which is explicit in each definition, and liberty and freedom, which is implied in each definition. However, to hear members of each party talk, it often sounds like they believe that all their principles and beliefs are the total opposite of each other. The only big difference in each of these definitions would be in traditional verses progressive values.

When we talk about traditional verses progressive, we are talking about keeping things the same verses changing things. First off, the world is changing, so things that worked in the past may not work anymore, so some change is necessary. Second off, if something works, there is no reason to change things just for the sake of change. Bottom line, we need change, but only when necessary. Therefore, what we really need is something in between traditional and progressive, like all things in moderation.

There are many other principles and beliefs that the two major parties claim as either conservative or liberal positions, but which are not by definition actually conservative or liberal. Some of these positions and beliefs on both the left and the right may be good and would give us more freedom or liberty without causing undue harm. However, others would do undue harm by either barring us from doing some things that would not do any undue harm and by forcing us to do other things that would cause undue harm.

Party Platforms

Each political party has a platform that lists their positions on many issues and the goals that they hope to accomplish. These positions and goals (planks) on their platforms are decided by each party's leadership or, at best, by most of the party's membership. In addition, the positions and goals on the platform of one party may often end up being the opposite of those of another party. It often seems that these opposing viewpoints just stem from a desire to differentiate themselves from their opponents.

When we vote for a candidate, we may be voting for the individual, for the party platform, or against the other individual or party platform. Some of us may completely agree with a party's platform, but most of us may just prefer more of it over what is on the other party’s platform. In some cases, some of us may simply vote for the individual or party that takes a particular position on just one given issue or a candidate or party we feel better about.

It would be nice if we had candidates and representatives who would try to represent all our interests. That is candidates and representatives who would listen to our concerns and needs, and who would then vote in ways that would be best to help all their constituents instead of voting based on their party's platform or based on what they or their party wanted. However, most candidates will stick closely with their party's platform, which does not give us much of a choice.

I have often found that I liked some things and disliked other things on each political party’s platform. Unfortunately, it often seemed like my only choice was to vote for the candidate of the party that had the platform that I liked a little better, or disliked the least, or the candidate that might buck their party on the things that I did not like. In some cases, it seems like some of us just vote for or against a single issue or for a given political party and may not even look at anything else.

Unfortunately, when we vote for candidates, it seems like our only choice is to vote for or against the party's complete platform. The winning candidates then do not know whether we voted for them or for all or some of their party's platform. If we did vote for certain planks on their party's platform, each of us could have voted for different planks, so our representatives may not even really know why they were elected.

On the other hand, some research has shown that many voters do not really vote based on the issues or a party platform. They vote based on how they feel about the candidate or the party. For instance, if voters find a candidate to be particularly charismatic then they may vote for that candidate no matter what positions that candidate or his or her party takes on the issues. This can be a particularly dangerous thing for our democracy, since charismatic leaders may not be held accountable for their actions and can therefore more easily turn themselves into dictators.


A mandate is defined as the authority to carry out a policy or course of action, regarded as given by the electorate to a candidate or party that is victorious in an election. After an election, the members of the winning party may claim a mandate to enact their platform. However, there are a few problems with this claim of a mandate.

First thing, when we elect our representatives, we are electing individuals to represent our interests in the government and to enact legislation that will best benefit us, their constituents. Maybe the deciding factor for us in voting for our representatives was some specific issue where most of us were in favor of their party’s position on that issue. However, there is no way to be sure that most of us were in fact in favor of their party’s position on any one of the given issues.

Although some plurality or majority of us may have elected someone who is in the majority party, we did not specifically vote for each of the policies of that party. Without us specifically voting on our position on the issues no one can honestly say that we have given our representatives a mandate to act in any given one. On the other hand, we may not have voted for the elected representatives, or we may have elected representatives who were not in the majority party. In those cases, we could not have given any mandate.

Second thing, with only two major political parties, we may only have two different positions being taken on each issue. However, it would be a False Dilemma Fallacy to think that there were only two possible positions that could be taken for any given issue. That means that even if most voters preferred one position over the other, there may be another position on the issue that would be preferred by most of us over those two positions.

Another thing, the majority party may claim that it has a mandate even when it has only won the election by a slim majority. Since the major political parties each only represent a minority of the voters, they could then each only claim to represent a minority of the voters. In addition, the party’s positions may then have only been decided by a majority of its members or even just by a majority of its leadership.

This means that the majority party's leadership could then pass legislation for its positions and goals that are not supported by a majority of their constituents or even by a majority of their party’s members. This could mean that just a majority of a ruling political party's leadership may be able to control the government. In other words, not only could we be ruled by a minority (the party), but just a minority (the party's leadership) of that minority.

Party Loyalty

Ideally, we want our elected officials to represent all of us, to listen to all our problems, complaints and ideas, and to work in all our best interests irrespective of whether we voted for them or not or whether we belong to their political party or not. In some cases, our elected officials do try to represent all of us, but mostly, they will show preference and loyalty to their political party and to its members instead of to us. Which means, they may not really work in all our best interests the way they should.

In most cases, when individuals are elected to office, these elected officials will want to be reelected. To get reelected, these elected officials will need the continued help and support of their political party, so these elected officials will try to keep in the good grace of their party. To do that, these elected officials will often work with and go along with the agenda of their party's leadership and their fellow party members, even if it is not what is best for us, their constituents.

As a result, our representatives may not feel the need to listen to their constituents who do not belong to their party and who probably did not or will not vote for them. This is especially true if their constituents want something done that most of their party would not want done, even when it would be a really good idea to do.

This is not to say that our representatives will never listen nor help, but it may be harder when we belong to a different political party. One way around this problem is to be an independent voter. If our district is not completely dominated by the political party that is in office, then candidates will be looking to win over the swing voters. Therefore, independent voters may find an easier time getting heard than members of another political party.

An interesting irony is that a political party will want the members of its party to show loyalty by voting with the party 100% of the time but like to criticize members of the other party for voting a lot of the time with their party. The better test of loyalty is to look at how often our representatives vote in the best interest of us, their constituents.

Political Control

In many countries, there are many different political parties. In many cases, none of these political parties are large enough to rule alone, so they must form coalitions with other political parties to form a government. The members of a coalition must then cooperate with one another to get things done. If they do not cooperate, then the coalition may break up, and a new coalition must be formed to form a new government.

In the United States, things are a bit different. Although there are many different political parties, two of them have become large enough that each can form a government on its own. Now that these political parties have become large enough to rule on their own, they do not want to give that up, and have made it difficult for any third political party to become large enough to compete with them.

This two-party system has become so ingrained that it even influences who can be an election poll worker. Where I live, there was a shortage of poll workers, so I volunteered. However, even with the shortage, I was not called upon, so I investigated why. It turns out that the law states that each of the two main political parties each selects half of the poll workers. Therefore, as an independent voter, it looks like neither party wanted me. They each only wanted members of their own party. Meaning that independents, who would theoretically be better qualified to protect the integrity of our elections, are unlikely to be able to be poll workers.

In most cases today, one or the other of the two major political parties is in control of each of our local and state governments. This is mainly due to the voters in each locality or state leaning a little more conservative or liberal, and therefore electing more representatives from the corresponding political party.

Once a given political party has gained control of a government, that political party is able to pass voting laws and to create local, congressional and senate districts that are more favorable to their party. They can then help themselves to stay in power or to gain more power, even if the political ideology of the voters in the given locality or state has shifted away from their political party.

The one last and most important remaining government that is not completely controlled by a single political party is the Federal government. However, that is now under attack as fewer and fewer federal congressional districts remain competitive. If one of the political parties can gain the upper hand in the number of federal congressional districts that they control, then that political party could gain control of the federal government and set the rules so that they could remain in power.

In essence, if one party can gain control, we could end up with one party rule, which could end up looking a lot like what China now has. In China, there is only one political party. That political party can do whatever it wants without any checks or balances. In fact, the communist party in China decides who can join and can expel anyone from the party who does not go along with its leaders. Although this is the communist party in China, any party on the left, on the right, or with any ideology could rule as an Oligarchy or a Dictatorship if it was able to take control of the government.

Gerrymandering and Extremists

When a political party is in control of redistricting, they can Gerrymander the districts to create more districts that are favorable to their party's candidates. They do that by dividing up counties and jurisdictions to create more districts that lean their way and create just a few districts that are heavily dominated by individuals who would vote for the other party. This can create some odd looking and contorted districts and can lead to the election of representatives who hold more extreme views.

Let's look at a simple example. Take a state where voters are closely split between favoring or leaning towards each of two political parties. If party A is currently in control of the state and gets to redraw the congressional districts, then they can do so in a way that can keep their party in power. For instance, with 10 congressional districts, party A may be able to create 8 districts where they have a 60 to 40 percent advantage, and 2 districts where party B has a 90 to 10 percent advantage. Therefore, instead of ending up with about a 5/5 split between the parties, party A can get an 8/2 split in their favor.

In a district that is dominated by one party or the other, only candidates from the dominant political party may try to run for office. The reason for these uncontested races is simple. A candidate for the other major political party may have little, if any, chance of winning in the general election. Therefore, no candidate of that other party even tries to run. Of the more than 500,000 elected office holders in the United States, it is estimated that about 70% of their elections were uncontested.

When we have an uncontested general election, we could get there in one of two ways. There may only be one candidate of the dominant political party who runs. In that case, this candidate does not even really need to campaign at all. There may also be multiple candidates from the dominant political party. This means there will need to be a primary election. The candidates will then need to campaign for the primary, but the winner of the primary election would then be unopposed in the general election and would therefore be elected without any further campaigning.

Gerrymandering leads to at least three major problems.

Party Only Primaries

First, in most places, only members of a given political party can vote in that party's primary election. That means that most voters do not get a choice in who is elected. In other words, if we are not a member of that party in our district, we are deprived of our vote, and the dominant political party can pretty much dictate who can get elected. We need a way to ensure everyone gets a vote, so primary elections must be open to all of us and not limited to members of the given political party.

Extreme Candidates

Second, it has been found that more members of a political party who have extreme views and who are more adamant that things should be done their way will bother to vote in a primary. Therefore, a candidate with more extreme views often has a better chance of winning in the primary election. When these extreme candidates run unopposed or run in districts where their political party dominates, then they would also be able to win easily in the general election.

When these extreme candidates get into office, they would be able to help pass laws based on their more extreme views, which would not be in line with what most of us, their constituents, wanted. Thus, we not only end up with minority rule instead of majority rule, which is not democratic, but we also end up being forced to live our lives in accordance with more extreme laws that most of us do not like.

One way to combat this trend towards more extreme candidates is for another political party to run moderate candidates in these otherwise noncompetitive districts who might appeal to more voters than the more extreme candidates. Not only would that give the other party's moderate candidates a better chance to win in the general election but could lead to more moderate candidates in general.

Control Over Redistricting and Voting Laws

Third, over time, if a dominant political party can continue to control redistricting and voting laws, it can become entrenched so much that it would be very difficult to overcome. This could continue even if we, the voters, have shifted heavily towards the other party.

It has been said that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Therefore, if a political party were to gain too much power, it could become corrupted, and even evolve into an Oligarchy or a Dictatorship. Unfortunately, we have seen a trend in that direction, especially since the 2016 election. We must therefore do whatever we can to prevent any one party from ever gaining too much control.

What can we do?

Obviously, we can see that there are some major problems caused by having a two-party political system, especially if one party is able to gain too much of an upper hand over the other. Fortunately, there are some things that can be done to make a two-party political system work better. These include, but are not limited to, things like having nonpartisan means of redistricting, having open primaries where we all can vote for candidates irrespective of political party, having ranked choice voting, and running clean elections that eliminate the influence of outside money. I will talk more about these changes plus others in the next section on a New Electoral Process.

However, although the above-mentioned changes would make things a lot better, I do not believe that they can really fix our two-party political system so that our democracy works as well as we want and need it to work. Therefore, the question becomes, can we find something else that does work? Despite our founding fathers’ admonitions against having political parties, let's start by seeing if there is a way to fix things so that our democracy can work with political parties, and then move on to look at a better alternative.

A Third Party?

One idea would be to create a viable third political party that could moderate and balance out the influence of the other parties and provide a middle ground on many issues. With three or more political parties, where none of them could dominate the political landscape, the parties would have to cooperate to get anything done. Like in many other countries, the political parties would need to form alliances to form a majority government.

Third parties have been tried many times in the past and most recently with the Reform Party. Although a third party may sound like a good idea, it has never really worked, at least not recently. It seems like there are just too many things that can go wrong. The main thing that may be getting in the way is the resistance of the current 2 main political parties. In many states, they have passed laws that make it very difficult for a third party to be recognized.

If a third party was able to get recognized, it would need to become large enough to get enough of its members elected, but not so large that it simply replaces one of the existing two large political parties. Then, without one party having a clear majority, there would be times when these parties could not agree on something, and the government could not get anything done. At other times, two of the parties might cooperate in passing each other’s legislation even if the majority did not agree with any of it.

As we can see, having a third party could simply open a whole bunch of new problems without really solving the underlying issues. However, there is a way a different type of third political party could work to create a better political system. I will talk about that in just a bit.

A Single Party?

If three or more political parties could cause as many or more problems as just having two dominant ones, what about a single political party? On the surface, it looks like it would have many good points, like our party would always be in power, our elected officials would represent our party and therefore us, and there could not be any party rivalries or partisan politics. Unfortunately, all that would happen is one of two bad things.

On the one hand, the divisions between parties would simply shift to factions within the single party. Of course, the large political parties already have many factions within them that are fighting for control, so that really would not be anything new. It would just become more extreme.

On the other hand, if our country had just a single political party, we might not even have a democracy anymore. The party leaders could gain so much power that they could do whatever they wanted. For instance, they may do what party leaders do in other countries with a single or one dominant political party, they might limit who can be in the party, and they could select our representatives instead of letting us elect them. In this case, we would end up with an Oligarchy or a Dictatorship.

No Political Parties!

What if we looked at the process more as hiring individuals to represent us in our governments instead of electing our leaders? If we need a CEO for our company, would we ask just a couple of placement firms to send us only a single candidate each and then only be able to select from whomever they sent us? No, we would gather as many resumes as possible from wherever we could get them, whittle them down to the top few candidates, put the finalists through an intensive interview process, and then make our selection based on who would do the most for our company.

Therefore, I would completely remove the political parties from the electoral process. (The political parties could transform themselves into special interest groups, which is what they really are anyway.) Then we could elect independent representatives who would work for us, and who would have more of an incentive to represent all of us equally. In this way, we could get back to the principle of a truly democratic government that our founding fathers had wanted.

Of course, it will take a lot more than just eliminating the Political Parties, since the candidates would still need a way to campaign for office, which means the original problems that led to the creation of political parties in the first place would need to be solved. What we would need is a New Electoral Process, which I will talk about in the next section.

The "No Politics" or "No Party" Party.

Unfortunately, it may be very difficult, if not impossible, to get the existing major political parties to change the system to one where they would no longer have the power they currently have. Therefore, we may need to create a third political party that would have the goal of getting enough individuals elected who would then make the needed changes.

One of the most important planks of this new political party's platform would be the reform of our political process so that the political parties could be eliminated. Other planks on the platform would be to have nonpartisan redistricting, to have open primaries, to have ranked choice voting, to have clean elections, and to make other needed reforms to our electoral process. Another plank would be to work towards representing and doing what is best for all our citizens, and for all living things.

There are a few names that might describe this short-term political party and its goals. I thought of quite a few different names. For instance, some of my initial thoughts were that it could be called something like or related to Citizens, Peoples, Everybody, Voters, Reform, Transformation, Democracy, Equality, Moderation, Temporary, and Our Future Path Party. Unfortunately, many of these names have already been used, would be confusing, or simply do not fully express what the party would be about.

Although I am open to suggestions for a better name, for now I thought I would stick with a name related to the party's final goal and call it either the "No Politics" party or "No Party" party.

The Forward Party.

In 2022, a new and different kind of political party was announced. This is the Forward Party. This party looks like it will try to do many of the things that I am advocating for. This includes Ranked-Choice Voting, Nonpartisan Primaries, Independent Redistricting Commissions, and Common-Sense Solutions. Their mottos are "Not Left. Not Right. Forward." and "Moving Forward Together". Their core principles include Free People, Thriving Communities, and Vibrant Democracy.

I am hoping this new party will succeed in helping to fix our political system. I have volunteered to help this new party and plan to propose that it adopt some more of my ideas.

Next Section

New Electoral Process - A New Electoral Process that will help us elect better representation.

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Saturday, December 23, 2023
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