Wake Up America! The Two Party System is Failing
What does a white male and a African-American male from Appalachia and Washington, D.C., respectively, have in common? No, this is not a lead-in to a joke. The answer, very succinctly, is they both do not have choices when it comes time to casting a ballot for their elected officials. The two party system, as presently structured, often presents voters with the option of selecting, in their minds, the lesser of two evils.
You would think that the white male from Appalachia would never align himself with the Republican Party due to its stances on issues which run counter to what is seemingly in his best interest. The deregulation of the mining industry, opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the attempt to eradicate all semblances of collective bargaining are just a few which readily come to mind. Similarly, the African-American male from Washington should be opposed to voting for the Democratic Party due to the many years of failed policies, which have not solved issues concerning education, employment, crime and others of importance.
The Senate voted recently to cut $400 million from the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - or roughly one-half of one percent to the food stamp program as part of its major five year farm bill. The House wanted larger cuts! Of the 100 counties in our country with the highest percent of whites on food stamps, over half - 52 - are in just three states, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. Over 17% of all West Virginians are on food stamps, the highest in the country. So, it would seem to defy logic why voters from these areas consistently vote Republican
Washington, like many major cities which are controlled by the Democratic Party establishment, is mired in a systematic failure to correct the basic quality of life issues that should be first and foremost on the minds of everyone, such as crime, affordable housing and education. However, since the advent of “Home Rule,” the citizens there have never elected a Republican as it’s mayor and have only elected a very few Republicans to represent them on the City Council.
I maintain that if there were other candidates, other than those of the Democratic and Republican parties, it would bode extremely well, for all concerned. In a democracy, until a new dynamic manifests itself, the rule is that the majority rules. Our present system has made a mockery out of our democracy due to one party’s ability to obstruct, simply for the sake of being able to do so.
Some may argue that we do indeed have additional parties, citing the Tea Party, Libertarians and the Independents, as examples. To set the record straight, the Tea Party is not, and I repeat, is not a major party, nor will it ever be. It basically usurped the Republican Party in 2010, and subsequently has held it and our nation hostage since that time. The Tea Party’s inability to accept differences of opinion and diversity within it’s ranks has basically sealed its fate.
Similarly, the Libertarians, because of their ideology with respect to government, will only serve as a fringe party in the very near future. Ideally, the Independent Party should be more competitive in both local and national elections. However, due to the present structure, if an individual wins a seat as an Independent, he/she is basically shut out of the legislative process, especially with regard to committee assignments. In other words, the system is rigged.
Due to the fact that both the Democrats and Republicans have consistently failed the people, it is high time that we, at the very least, consider the following:
* Establish a party which would truly be representative of the majority of all the people. I’ll even offer to suggest a name. Let’s call it the Common Sense Party.
* Immediate repeal of Citizens United and subsequently urge, no demand!, public financing of all elections.
* Support the initiative to create term limits
* Put an end to the biggest “hustle” in politics: Paid lobbyist!
It appears that most Americans are not ideologically married to one party or the other. However, there are elements within both parties, who are adamantly opposed to doing what is best for the majority of the country. The only way to counter both of these elements is to reinvigorate the “silent majority.” I maintain that the vast majority of this group is neither steadfastly committed to either party. So let’s try something grand and let the chips fall where they may.
It’s worth giving it a chance, because absent that, we will continue to get what we have gotten. And that, for the sake of the republic, can not be an option.
Marvin E. Adams is a Catholics United member and a political strategist. He resides in Washington, DC. Follow him on Twitter @MarvinEAdams.