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writing for godot

More Political Parties: Divide and... Just Divide!

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Written by John Miller   
Wednesday, 25 July 2018 22:15

Political parties are not part of the U.S. Constitution. George Washington argued against even having political parties. But with 300 million people, it would be pretty unwieldy to each have in our own political party, so we need some organization on things. However, the Constitution doesn’t specify, so we are able to change things at any time.

It makes no sense to have an either/or system of government. In any group of people there is rarely agreement on anything, so it’s unreasonable think they could agree on something as important as government representation and direction with essentially half of the population. I continually hear people spouting, with all sincerity, about some “fact” that they heard on cable, or worse from another “well-informed” friend, that something is just this way, only to react with shock and awe when someone explains that they have missed it all, yet again.

In the past 200 years, America has had many instances where voters were forced to choose between one barely acceptable alternative versus one totally un-acceptable alternative. Hence, Trump. And, in my opinion, Lincoln. You may think one of these worked out ok, but I (and the 600,000 dead in the Civil War) might argue that neither did.

When you have only Republicans or Democrats to choose from, you’re going to get a large spectrum of beliefs inside each group. Once Democrats included the likes of George Wallace & Strom Thurmond, as well as Eugene McCarthy & George McGovern, who were pretty much polar opposites.

The saying goes that Democrats Fall in Love while Republicans Fall in Line. Republicans like to think that they agree on most everything, but this is really not true at all, they just like to be agreeable and follow a leader. This is especially true now that they are trying to include the Tea Party wing, who are still pretty much right wing white racists, who are quite a bit different from your corporate Mitt Romney/Nelson Rockefeller types.

Because of this, presidential elections frequently come down to very small differences in voting. And with the Electoral College, this very minor difference is intentionally magnified. Our first Republican president (Lincoln for Trump’s information) was elected with 180 electors out of 303, but only 39.8% of the popular vote and only 18 out of 33 states.

So we have a problem, but also a major opportunity to fix it.

I would say that rather than a “center-right” or a center-left” population, we have a nice bell curve of beliefs and standpoints. There are some Nazi skinheads on one end, and maybe a very few radical flame throwers on the other, but for the most part, there is some spread in the middle. “Independents” seemed to be stuck in on the fence, mostly because they have a problem with a particular part of the dogma of each of the major parties. While many could find lots of agreement, they know that under the current set up their votes would be wasted if they cast them for a candidate of the teeny group that they really agree with.

(None of this is probably not original thought, by the way, but I decided to type it up anyhow.)

So here is my thinking on the “opportunity” of which we might be able to take advantage. There are, in my totally un-researched opinion, a number of different groups that spread across that middle of the bell curve. Independents, who currently amass more than 40% of voters, would be much more likely to find a home in one of these smaller groups:

Corporate Republicans: Your Romneys, Rockefellers, etc.

Corporate Democrats: Your Clintons, Schumer, etc.

Tea Party: Santorum and the like.

Progressives: Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (isn’t she amazing!), etc.

Libertarians: Gary Johnson, et al.

Green Party: Jill Stein, and a bunch of people.

The Gerrymandering problem resolved, if these six groups were divided up evenly in the House and Senate, each would get about 72 Representatives and 17 Senators. Since that would never happen, let’s say that the largest parties might get 90 reps and the smallest 50. Thirty senators to maybe 10. (This is my fantasy so I get to say this.)

For the presidential election, the Electoral College immediately becomes obsolete. Nobody would get 270. So the election is thrown into the House. But that’s ok: Now the People, (remember “We The People”?) get to decide who is running the administration. The converse is that we also would get to decide when that arrangement is over. Impeachment becomes a real thing, not just a “Monica” or “Russia-gate” happening.

Multiple parties would have to agree on who gets selected as president. 218 of them, in the current math. That means Progressives and Greens, and even Libertarians might grab a couple Republicans and put in somebody acceptable to them. And if she screws up, toss her out just as quickly! Progressives and Libertarians and Democrats might put together a coalition and do the same.

The current litany of beliefs would be abolished, and there would be much less dogma. Just because some party “platform” says this or that, the rank and file could disagree. There would much be less loyalty to Party, and much more loyalty to the voters. Majority would really rule. About 70% of Americans believe in Choice, yet it is likely to be taken away soon. As many as 80% think reasonable gun control is a good idea, yet it gets nowhere in our current system. Health care, term limits, lack of infrastructure spending, immigration, monetary policy, excessive military spending, publicly funded elections, even foreign policy might reflect the actual will of the people, instead of the political expediency of the moment. Marginal beliefs wouldn’t have a chance. The art of compromise (sorry, Henry Clay) would be defunct.

Myself, I don’t believe in compromise. Compromising to keep the Union (or a marriage) together only leaves all sides unsatisfied.

Another advantage might be that the US might just get smaller. I’m not sure why Lincoln wanted to “preserve the union,” but it’s a totally artificial construct. Why should Alabama have to do something it doesn’t want to because those wacky libs in San Francisco say so? And vice versa. Why should Massachusetts have to compromise with Mississippi over things that the majority in each state believe?

Of course, human rights are important, and America should always defend an oppressed minority, but forcing all Americans to agree on everything is both wrong and impractical. We are still fighting the Civil War 153 years later, and some think the North might be finally losing!

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+2 # Depressionborn 2018-07-30 16:35
Geo Washington warned against "Factions". I think government power makes them likely. It is a sign of a nation failing.
 
 
0 # pappajohn 2018-08-02 12:10
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And the question becomes, "So what?"

If the U.S. disintegrated and, would that necessarily be a bad thing?
 

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