Third Party & Independents Archives

What's wrong with the two party system?

In Texas this week is a highlighted example of what is wrong with a two party system. Namely, that it is about to become a one party system. This leaves the voters with NO CHOICE at the polls. Sound familiar? The Iraqi’s had no choice in their last election either.

Texas, for decades in the 20th century, was a one party Democrat state. The governors were Democrat, both houses of Congress were Democrat, and most of the judges were Democrat. Republicans have been making inroads, since the time of Ronald Reagan, to the seats of power by garnering support from the corporations in the big cities and the ranchers in the rural areas. In the last 12 years, the Republicans have managed to take the governorship, both houses of congress and a host of judge seats. Texas is again a one party state.

But the Republicans, recognizing the Democrat's one party stronghold was temporary, now seek to insure their stranglehold becomes permanent. They are in special session as I write these words, redrawing congressional districts to eliminate Democrat incumbent districts and to gerrymander in such a way as to eliminate the last remaining districts supporting Democrats.

It is NOT that the people have changed from Democrats to Republicans; large cities in Texas remain Democrat. The Republicans are carving up the cities on the district maps so that a small portion of a city becomes a part of a large rural Republican district. In this way they will be able to nullify the Democrats votes at the polls in 2004 by overwhelming a small portion of a city's Democrat vote with a large number of rural area Republican votes. This will insure a Republican majority for that district in 2004 and eliminate the Democrat district altogether.

Note that this gerrymandering is not without a price tag for the tax payer. Where the state redrew districts in the past every 10 years in accordance with shifts in the national census, the Republicans in Texas are envisioning this redistricting process occur every 2 years, if necessary, to insure their hold on government. That means the cost for redistricting could jump 500% for tax payers in a 10 year period. The most vocal outcry against such taxpayer cost increases is coming from the cities where the greatest concentration of voters are. However, when all is done, their voices will be of little concern to the government. The Republican government will have eliminated the voting power of those concentrations of voters.

This is what is wrong with a two party system. Eventually, one party is able exercise its temporary majority status to change laws and districts so as to perpetuate a one party system, their own. The Green Party and Libertarian Party are growing as American voter dissatisfaction with both the major parties also grows. All of the third party platforms in the year 2000 contained some reference to eliminating or reinventing the Federal Elections Committee (FEC). The FEC is run by the Democrats and Republicans and currently works against third parties in various ways.

In 2004, a third party has no chance of winning the presidency or any majority in either house of Congress. However, if, independents and all other voters who have lost faith in the two major parties were to go vote third party candidates, a great many Republican and Democrat incumbents could be replaced, and the vibrancy and hope of a multi-party democracy would mushroom in this new century.

I for one am no longer concerned about the short term consequences of voting third party. The problem is the dominance of two parties in America. And the solution is to increase the number of 3rd party candidates winning offices in the next 3 or more election cycles. Once that is accomplished, the FEC can be restructured to provide equal access and equal treatment in the election system.

Most third parties also recommend taking back the public airways and granting media supported access to the public by all qualifying parties during an election cycle. That is the goal; giving the American people real choices at the voting booth. A government that is made up of multiple parties will diminish the concentration of power in the hands of a few political bosses over all the diverse people of this great land. Consider voting 3rd party in 2004, it will be good for our democracy.

Posted by David R. Remer at July 3, 2003 08:40 AM
Comment #521

This is the legacy of Karl Rove. He made quite clear during his years in Texas that his primary goal was to use redistricting and political dirty tricks to marginalize and eventually eliminate the Democratic Party completely. He and Lee Atwater amongst others were fairly open about their intention to drag the politicians as far right as possible regardless of what the voters actually wanted. And now that the Republicans control the majority of mainstream media (99%+ of talk radio, the majority of non-talk radio, most newspapers, all of television and cable news) they are doing their level best to sabatoge the Democrats and get the message across to anyone moderate, liberal, or even truly conservative that they shouldn’t even bother voting.

Posted by: rev_matt at July 3, 2003 01:29 PM
Comment #527

The Libertarians are especially growing and well-placed having scored over 1,000,000 aggregate votes in the 2002 House races, more than all other minor parties (Greens included) put together.

Posted by: B. K. Oxley (binkley) at July 3, 2003 08:00 PM
Comment #530

To rev_matt:

I heard Ann Coulter on CNNfN I believe it was, responding to the question of what she believes the Democrat Party should do. She said they should just go away, disappear, like the Whig Party. You are quite right, the Republicans would like to end the Democrat Party. However, I have the sneaking suspicion that there are an awful lot of Democrats who feel the same way about the Republican Party. What we need are 4 or 5 viable partys to hold each other’s extreme factions in check.

To B.K. Oxley,
This is very encouraging news. I want to see power sharing among at least 4 viable parties. Then I may have more confidence in government and rest more securely when the extremists air their designs.

Posted by: David Remer at July 4, 2003 02:33 AM
Comment #650

you wrote:
I for one am no longer concerned about the short term consequences of voting third party.

but, of course, if voting for the third party helps one of the other two parties maintain or strengthen its majority, then you are buying time for them to do the gerrymandering and law-changing that make its rule permanent. that’s a short-term consequence with serious long-term effects! your own example of Texas should give you pause …

Posted by: acm at July 10, 2003 09:54 AM
Comment #688

Tragically the two-party system has become increasingly undemocratic, indeed house incumbents win reelection over 95% of the time due to gerrymandering and other tricks. We truely need more than to parties to get peoples views heard and their votes to matter. As a serious moderate third party has yet to appeared to challenge the system I have attempeted to form my own. But I can’t do this on my own. Please go to Or E-mail me at
It’s time to show that a concerned group of citizens can make a difference and challenge the two party system. Thank you

Posted by: Jack Millman at July 11, 2003 10:15 PM
Comment #2298

So the vast right-wing conspiracy strikes again. The above article points out that the democrats controlled Texas for decades. No kidding, I don’t suppose they did redistricting to their advantage. Noo, the democrats are too pure. Third party candidates are not a great idea, all they do is split the party vote. Thats how we ended up with Clinton for eight years. Instead we need to get rid of career politicians who cater to special interests. And somewhere along the way we must admit that humans are not perfect people and we will never have a perfect government.

Posted by: Abe Mengel at September 5, 2003 08:13 AM
Comment #10368

All right, if you really want to split government into so many factions what is the reason behind your motives? By creating forexample 3 or 4 parties, there would be some many split on various issues nothing would ever get accomplished. At least now, as things are people can compromise on issues. But all these so called moderates would let everyone do whatever the hell they wanna do. Do some research, we need strong convictions to hold to. Do we really want our states and regions being divided in they views? We need to stay together if we are trying to make a point to the world by saying that even though we have difference we can work them out.

Posted by: Jake Ward at March 24, 2004 03:31 PM