Hello once again ATS, and, as always, thank you for your time and consideration:
As we are now deep into the Presidential election cycle, most of us, American or otherwise, can see the deep, deep divisions which are severing
America into at least two seemingly opposing nations. We are a people divided. We are divided by class, belief, doctrine, dogma, rhetoric, position,
philosophy.... and by party affiliation. Mostly this infers either Republican or Democrat. A two party system.
Wiki tells us this about a two party system:
A two-party system is a system where two major political parties dominate voting in nearly all elections at every level of government and, as a
result, all or nearly all elected offices are members of one of the two major parties. Under a two-party system, one of the two parties typically
holds a majority in the legislature and is usually referred to as the majority party while the other is the minority party. While the term two-party
system is somewhat imprecise and has been used in different countries to mean different things, there is considerable agreement that a system is
considered to be of a two-party nature when election results show consistently that all or nearly all elected officials belong to only one of the two
major parties, such as in the United States. This can lead to nondemocratic measures that reduce ballot access for other parties. In these cases,
the chances for third party candidates winning election to any office are remote, although it's possible for groups within the larger parties, or in
opposition to one or both of them, to exert influence on the two major parties.
I think many simply take it on faith that America has only two parties - as all other options tend to get lumped together under the label "third
party". But the truth is that America does have more than two parties. In fact we currently have fivemajor political parties in the
United States, and a whopping thirty-fourminor political parties. And that's just at the federal level. There are at least another
forty that are not Federally recognized, but which have state or territorial recognition. That's in addition to seventy-one now defunct
parties and thirty entities that currently function as political parties, but do not nominate candidates for election.
So why is it all about Republicans and Democrats? Why do they get the lions share of the press?
Even though Both Madison and Hamilton had argued against domestic political factions in The
Federalist Papers numbers nine and ten - they got sucked into doing it anyway. Why? Because Jefferson and Hamilton disagreed on a few things.
The biggest issue being.... You guess it - The idea of having a central bank. This is a highly
simplified condensed version, to be certain, as states rights and other issues were also being hashed out and argued. But banking was the biggie.
So.... What did some of the other framers and founders have to say about partisanship anyway?
"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting
measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution." John Adams
"The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people."
"To restore... harmony,... to render us again one people acting as one nation should be the object of every man really a patriot."
"If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most
direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check."
"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them
into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most
honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they
are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories,
Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object.
The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all."
It appears that Mr. Jefferson saw both the inherent good and potential evils in an oppostional environment.
Our first President had this to say:
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and
countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent
despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an
individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the
purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs
of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and
false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence
and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one
country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the
spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not
with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From
their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of
excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to
prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
en.wikipedia.org...]Nietzsche would have a field day with this. Our nation was born because it was fractured
into two "parties" - even before it was a nation - [/url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tory]Tories - or English Loyalists[/url] and
Whigs - or Colonial Patriots. Ironically we no sooner "healed" that division
than the next came along and we fragmented into a two party situation almost immediately. Duality of man indeed.
So, let us just avoid many obvious arguments or observations and cut to the chase... with so many choices? Why just two that come to the front? My
thought it's the Coke / Pepsi phenomenon. These two parties have the magical mix of ingredients to attract most of the "market" IE the voters.
It will not suprise ATS - I drink Pepsi!
There are countless other Colas on the market. But Coke and Pepsi dominate. Coke so much that I grew up in an area where the word "Coke" was a
generic term for any soda. One would say "Get me a Coke!" and the reply would be "Which kind?"
Article from Harpers Magazine addressed the benefits of a two party system. And I cannot
argue with its premises at all.If we had only one power? We'd likely have already become a fullly totalitarian nation long ago. My angst is not with
the idea of a two party system at all. It's with the way the system polarizes and manipulates us.
A two party system should be the basis for tabling debates and seeking compromise to different views. A machine that gives all interested parties an
equal voice in negotiations so that the most mutually beneficial answer possible, to any issue, can be found.
But that is not what we see today. What we see can only be described in terms like "enthrenchment", "dogmatic thinking", "blind doctrinal
obedience", and "conditioned response". We have seen this over the past few decades whenever a President ends up with the opposting party controls
the House, the Senate, or both. It stops being about legislation and becomes nothing more than obstructionism on a Federal scale. It is sad,
frightening, and disheartening to witness.
We live in a world where a President ( from either party ) acts, and is called a "tyrant" for having done so. If he doesn't act he is immediately
called "weak". Congress seems to skirt most of the blame, even though they are the ones who actually write, sponsor, vote upon, and then pass or
kill legislation. Our society is such that all we ever hear about is what the President signed today - and rarely - if ever, the back story about what
the President signed.
We have also become a nation of armchair Presidents. We judge, criticize, praise, love, hate... all based upon the limited information we have been
given by our TV sets or maybe a Google search or two. But the truth is that none of us ( or at least very, very, very few of us ) ever know the entire
story. We didn't attend briefings, nor access highly sensitive intelligence reports. We just react, for better for for worse, rationally or not, for
or against. And once we've reacted we seem to become deeply attached to the reaction and make it our own personal battle cry.
A familiar example? The "Obama phone" video that has gone viral. I've seen it posted all over ATS lately and literally got so tired of debunking it
that I just stopped doing so. But [url=http://factcheck.org/2009/10/the-obama-phone/]is the truth. And if you don't trust that source...
Google and some of the links in it will get you to the same, or at least similar fact checking conclusions.
In all reality, as sane ( most or some of us at least ) human beings we know how to deal with conflict resolution. We understand that we can't take
an absolutist stand on much of anything in life and expect positive results from doing so. Most of us learn to compromise quite early on in life. And,
understand, compromising does not mean "selling out" or "giving in" it means "seeking an amicable resolution that benefits as many people from
within the group as is possible"
Business do this as practice. They spend a great deal of money finding out what consumers want - and then using that information to adapt.
Our own politicians do so as well. They change position based upon political opinion trends or polls quicker than Nikki Minage changes wigs.
And yet, for some reason we are taught to do just the opposite. What happens when someone comes along who disagrees with our politics? We get LOUDER,
ANGRIER, and even more intolerant of their input.
I think that a two party, or partisan system should work. But, for now, it is failing us. Why? Because the rhetoric used by the two parties to get us
to vote for them has become so precise, divisive, and effective, that they've forced extreme polarization of association upon us. They don't like
telling us how much we have in common. They like telling us how different we are. They want us to fight. They want us at each others throats so that
they can then exploit that division for their own profit.
I speak to my conservative friends and they say "I'm worse off now than I was a decade ago."
I speak to my liberal friends and they also say "I'm worse off than I was a decade ago."
We have fallen for a shell game and neither side picked the shell hiding the pea. Why is this? It's not because either side is right or wrong. It's
because the guy running the game palmed the pea before we even laid down our wagers. We've been had. But the shell game guy? He is brilliant - so
before we could realize what he did, he blurted out "I don't know what happened here. One of YOU must have snagged the pea somehow to avoid
losing!" And we bought it. Hook, line, sinker.. Con accomplished.
But that doesn't mean it's game over.
I propose that those of us who are truly passionate about our nation, and or fellow citizens simply stop playing the shell game altogether. Let's
stop letting Hannity and Mathews tell us what to think. Let's stop focusing upon our differences and, instead, focus upon or similarities and
agreements. Then we can begin addressing the gray areas and disputed subjects. United we cannot lose. Neither side will win all of the fights. And
this is just and good. What we can achieve is balance enough for everyone to feel like their opinions and thoughts were addressed to a fair degree.
Absolutism? It's killing our freedoms and our nations... It is contagious, highly suggestible, easily manipulated, and a tool used against us. It's
a hammer in irresponsbile hands and it's time to either break the hammer or take it away from the folks who are weilding it against us.
What say you ATS? Am I on the right track - or just an old man who has held onto his ideals for too long?
The reality is even if we fired the two parties we have now, and created one-thousand more to take their place.... within a generation or two they
would probably all consolidate and devolve back into a two party system along the same divisionary lines our current parties have. So tossing out the
took-kit, as it were, isn't really a fix. But changing the way that we view ourselves and the members of the opposing party? Well that we can
effect. Respect - even during disagreement... that's the hallmark of an effective system. Let's let our government know that deadlock is no longer
an excuse and that we are happy to let them bicker and argue, just as long as it's healthy and is being effective.
I humbly ask that you consider my thoughts as we head into November and that you cast your votes with at least some of what I said in your heart. I
don't care if Obama or Romney wins. I just hope whichever one does gets the message loud and clear...
36 year old clip... time to finally heed its message I think!
In fact we currently have five major political parties in the United States, and a whopping thirty-four minor political parties. And that's just at
the federal level. There are at least another forty that are not Federally recognized,
My state, NY, is all Dem/Rep in the legislature. So is my county and city council. Which got me thinking, and I ran a quick search, not surprised at
Of the 7,382 seats in all of the state legislatures combined, independents and third parties account for only 15 members, not counting the 49
members of the Nebraska Legislature, which is the only legislature in the nation to hold non-partisan elections to determine its
I bet RC has a better market share than the Libertarians or Green party. Though I haven't seen an RC in a while, are they still in business? Is two
party dominance increasing not just in politics?
There are a lot of countries that have a significant share of third party seats in parliament.
Canada has 163 conservative party, 100 new democrats, and 35 liberals. And a few more from smaller
UK has 304 conservatives, 253 labour, and 57 liberal democrats with a few other minor parties gaining seats. www.parliament.uk...
In Brazil's National Congress, the Workers Party carries the most seats with a mere 17%, and eight different parties have at least 5% of the seats.
A two party system can be effective, maybe. But I prefer a plurality. Often times it results in multi party blocs, but that is better than a two party
system where the line is never crossed as we have it now. Having a green party with 5% of the seats can make a huge difference in preventing
And our parties are illogically uniform. Is every person in America that favors financial regulation also pro-choice? Not even close, but in congress
they seem to be.
You hit the nail on the head, similarities have to be focused on. Both parties favor helping the poor, Republicans prefer it through more private
sector charity and democrats like to have a strong government safety net. Either way, a vote for Obama or Romney from a person who does nothing to
help the community is empty.
Instead of all the focus on differences, if everyone saw the common ground and took it upon themselves to prioritize the community, education, and
health in their own lives, we'd have a much easier political situation.
My vision of the perfect third party is one with basically no political platforms, other than increasing activism. Doesn't matter what your views
are, feel free to join. A party that is ideologically diverse and nearly always split in the vote, so that Americans are better represented issue by
The reasons are patently clear why we have the system we currently do; its whole purpose is to perpetuate the illusion that we have some kind of
choice and that our vote actually matters. As long as we keep focused on this left-right nonsense we ignore the fact that money is the true indicator
of power and that those with money purchase the loyalty of congress in order to get preferential treatment from the legislative branch which
ultimately is the true seat of power in the Former United States of America. The esoteric third parties are only permitted to put in their ceremonial
bit in order to make the trick flawless; people rally for these candidates and vote for them thinking that they matter and are somehow going to change
things but they fail to see the reality of things and thus the status quo continues uninterrupted.
IMO, the only way to get out of the two party system is by changing the way elections are conducted. Trying to convince people to all work together
is not going to get anywhere. Because your approach can be manipulated by either side to win elections.
The only way to get out of the two party domination is to have proportional elections. Ironically, you need the two party system to agree to change
the electoral system to this, which will reduce their power.
We can not get out of a two party system without throwing the baby out with the bath water so to speak. We could however change it in a way that gives
us a more equitable system not completely full of strife and division. If Congress were made up of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans and the
POTUS was the deciding factor it would be a much better system. There would obviously be some aisle crossing but there would also be more
accomplished. Politicians would be elected for what they stood for and not just which party they are affiliated with. That said i am afraid this
famous quote is on the fast track to becoming our reality.
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse
from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with
the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest
civilizations has been 200 years. Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to
liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to
dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.
The two party system, as I hope I clearly implied above, seems to be a natural "order" in a Republic. Even if there are many other parties, two seem
to always rise to the top - and in all civilizations, no matter what the parties are called - they seem to end up being basically the same entities...
monied interests versus non-monied interests.
The powerful versus the less powerful.
My point is not so much to gripe that there are two parties, as to address how this division has become untenably extreme and has taken on, truly, the
airs of religion, rather than of Democratic process. Entrenchment is separation has truly become separation for separations sake I think. Sports
mentality. Root for the home team even if they are horrible, are playing a lousy game, etc.
Fanboy political partisanship, And this is not what the framers intended.
Think of it like a marriage. You and the wife ( or husband ) can dispute, debate, argue, even fight.But you do it for a common good - and in the
interest of finding the right balance of compromises, from each side, to make both interests as happy as possible. When that process fails or stops.
You end up in Divorce court.
Well, there is no Divorce court to be had here, and Congress is getting along like a couple who are in dire and immediate need of marriage
In this case, we ( the people ) could be seen as the kids in this marriage and watching Mom and Dad fight is scarring us and turning us into a bunch
of emotional, angst ridden, hate filled emos.
It's time that WE sat Mom and Dad down, got their nosy friends ( lobbyists and special interests ) out of our house, and flat out tell Mom and Dad
that if they don't behave WE are going to fire them and find ourselves a new set of "parents"
POTUS would be an elected official and Congress would be elected officials using the same system of checks and balances we currently have. Dictators
are not elected officials. They are Dictators forever.
It's easy enough for the extremely wealthy/powerful to dominate and control a two party system. It would be less so with more than two parties - such
as most representative parliamentary governments in modern Europe, where small blocs/factions can gain seats in parliament. Here in the USA, the
problem with our particular two-party system is they are so dominant that no third party can ever hope to challenge them. And if you hate one of those
two parties, you are likely to 'fall in' with the opposing party, even if you disagree with much of it's plank, only because it is the 'lesser of
As an example - I despise what the GOP has become. Part way into Bush43's term I saw it for what it was, and vowed never to vote GOP again -
and this is from a lifelong Republican voter. I consider myself an Eisenhower Republican. So does my opposing the new GOP make me a Democrat?
Do I have a choice? I consider myself "anti-GOP" and only anti-GOP, and refuse to be labeled.
I don't mind opposing views, and in a system of government that can be healthy. Lincoln was famous for appointing posts to members with opposing
views, as a way to keep government inclusive. Some partisanship can be a good thing. But what we have now has devolved into something else entirely -
the partisans forgot that they still have to represent us, the citizens, instead of just duking it out for party supremacy.
Political affiliation by default and blueprint. Pretty odd world we live in. I can imagine a world where you get like one of those Internet quizzes...
you answer 30 questions and it registers you to vote based on your answers.
Congratulations, based upon your answers, you've been registered to vote Democrat in this years election cycle!!!!"
But... but... I've been a life long Republican!!.... Hello, tech support, your quiz is telling me that I have to vote Democrat? Is there a
glitch?.... Oh..... I see..... the right moved even further right again.... Ummmm OK I guess....
In my opinion, western democracy is not truly democratic until the average Joe or Jane is elected to the highest office.
In most western democracies, especially in the US, it appears like a lot of barriers to entry exist, which perpetuates the same ol'cycle and denies
access to those who have a greater potential to lead and govern a country, opposed to the same old BS we get from our current politicans.
edit on 7-10-2012 by MDDoxs because: (no reason given)
Funny, how the founding Fathers disagreed on the same issues, we are dealing with today.
Get Rid of our "central" Bank..............
Its a start.
Together, they know very well the human destruction caused by:
- their usury - corrupt governments' debauching of currency in order to pay these slave lords, while profiteering in their own ways
- their hoarding of our gold and other commodities (including, increasingly, energy, also food and by their plans for global governance, even water)
- the authoritarian and crony statist regimes they foment, always brutal, in one way or others
Real campaign finance reform with the complete elimination of PACs, donors, paid advertising, etc is the only way to break the Two party system.
Couple that with an Educated Voter law and direct democracy election and suddenly America is back on the right track.
The problem is neither party would ever support real campaign finance reform and true limits, the GOP would go into rage mode over direct elections of
president, and the DNC would scream bloody murder about racism or classisim or some other bogus "ism" if anyone dared suggest a voter be required to
actually demonstrate that they have a level of intelligence and knowledge commensurate with the responsibility of casting your vote.
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