Did you know there are nearly 40 different political parties in the United States?
Did you know the FEC (Federal Election Commission) had 175 different people file the proper paperwork needed to run for president in 2012?
With so many choices why were there only 2 people allowed to debate and why don’t we hear more about the other candidates?
That’s a complicated question because there are all kinds of criteria a candidate must meet in order to be invited to a debate and be recognized as a serious candidate. However, at least one alternative candidate did meet the criteria but was still left out. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, has filed a lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates for not inviting him to the dance. Gary Johnson was on the ballot in every state and should have been included.
The simple answer to why we are not told more about third-parties is because it is all about money and power and the establishment manipulating us into thinking we actually have a voice. The average U.S. citizen really does not have a voice and will not have a voice until we have a viable and equal third political party.
There are at least four things that I think a third party will do to make our country stronger.
I believe our two-party system is broken and in need of serious repair. A big part of the problem is corruption. I don’t know if it was the corruption that broke the system or if the broken system lead to the corruption. Ultimately it doesn’t matter. (I do think it needs to be pointed out that while our political corruption is bad, it is not as bad as the corruption in other country’s politics.)
I think a legitimate third-party would contain corruption. A third party will not stop corruption, but I think it can help control it. Here is how: More than likely a third-party would become just as corrupt as the two existing parties. However, in an rather ironic twist, if we had three corrupt parties, two of the parties would always being watching the other party, making sure they played by the rules as much as possible. With just two-parties, each party simply tries to out-corrupt the other, but with a third-party there would be more accountability and a higher likely hood that all the parties would keep each other more in-line. The need to cheat diminishes if the possibility of getting caught increases.
Gridlock is strangling us. A legitimate third-party would force people who differ from each other to work together. Right now, in a two-party system, the goal is to get power and stay in power; and if you are not in power, obstruct, block, stall, and filibuster. The way it is now, even if the opposing party in power has a good idea, the party not in power cannot let that good idea gain traction out of fear people will credit that party for the good idea. However, with a third-party, no party will have the majority without working with someone on the other side of the aisle. Then, as two parties work together on a good idea, the third party will have to get in on it so the credit can be spread around. A viable third party will make compromise mandatory.
I am a teacher. Often I will break my students into groups to discuss different topics. A basic rule of thumb is to always break into at least three groups. Breaking into two groups never works. Here is why: If you are in an open space (like a classroom) and you only have two groups, neither group can really concentrate and discuss because the other group is a distraction. While you are in your group trying to discuss, you can’t help but hear what the other group is saying. However, if there are at least three groups in that open space your brain cannot follow all the discussions and so your brain automatically blocks out all the distractions and focuses on what your group is discussing. As a result, each group concentrates and gains clarity on the issue in front of them.
In a two-party system, each party serves as a distraction to the other and so each party is more concerned on what the other party is doing and how they can obstruct it instead of focusing on what they do. As a result, you get negative campaigning and voting against things instead of for things. With a legitimate third party, each party would be more focused on their issues and would be more able to communicate those issues with more clarity.
With clarity in communication we, the electorate, would then have a real choice, and thus a real voice. In elections, with three legitimate choices, we would actually start voting for candidates instead of against candidates and would no longer have to settle on the lesser of two evils.
I heard on the radio this morning that in Tuesday’s election, Mitt Romney received 3 million fewer votes than John McCain did in 2008, and Barak Obama received 7 million fewer votes than he did in 2008. In my opinion, 10 million fewer votes in “the most important election in our lifetime” scream the need for a legitimate, equal in power, third-party. When people feel they have no real choice, and thus no real voice, they abstain from the whole process.
We desperately need a third party for compromise, clarity, and choice. We have four years to establish a third party. We best get started now.
Are you still not convinced?
Ask yourself this question: What do we have to lose by gaining a third-party with equal power and influence?
A third party cannot make things any worse, and it just might make things better.
What do you think?