The United States, thanks to its winner takes all election system, is forever doomed to be in a two-party system. It’s basic game theory. For a 3rd party to become relevant at the national stage, it would have to oust and replace either the Democratic party or the Republican party.
This is no easy feat. The last time a major party was displaced in the American 2-party system was 160 years ago.
The US was first born with the Federalist party and the Republican-Democratic Party. Both parties only lasted about 35 years when they were replaced by the Democratic Party and the National Republican Party (which then merged into the Whig Party after 8 years). The Whig Party only lasted about 20 years until the 1850’s when it fell apart and was replaced by the Republican Party.
The Democrat and Republican parties have dominated the US two-party system ever since.
IMAGE CREDIT DONKEYHOTEY / FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS
But we may have the conditions today where it is possible for a 3rd party to enter the political system and displace one of the big two.
Anti-establishment sentiment is at a peak. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have been losing members in droves for 10 straight years. 43% – 45% of Americans identify as independents – and those numbers came before the primaries started. Today, we likely have more independents than Democrats and Republicans combined.
The approval rating of Congress has been under 30% for 10 years and is currently at 11%.
We’ve now seen 3 anti-establishment movements in the United States in the past 8 years: the Tea Party, then Occupy, and then Black Lives Matter.
In this presidential election season, averaged across the two parties, anti-establishment/outsider candidates (Trump, Cruz and Sanders) received roughly 65% of all pledged delegates.
The Republican Party was just hijacked by Trump and roughly 40% of the party is refusing to rally around him. On the other side of the aisle, the Democratic Party only barely just defeated the Sanders insurgency, with roughly 33% of Sanders voters currently refusing to ultimately vote for Hillary Clinton.
This is not too different from 1848 when abolitionists abandoned both the Whig and Democratic Parties parties and formed the Republican Party.
The conditions are here today for a 3rd party to emerge.
If it is to be successful, it must be a coalition of disaffected voters from across the political spectrum and run competitive candidates in every district nationwide.
It must bring together the Libertarians and Progressives, as well as, the Tea Party, Black Lives Matter and Occupy movements.
At first glance this may sound like a match made in hell, but actually, all these groups can agree on who their real enemies are: the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and the mega-rich that control both parties.
So what might this new party’s platform look like?
It would have to have the following 3 core pillars: ending corruption, ending big brother government, and ending the 2-party system. These are all causes that poll extremely well amongst Tea Partiers, Berners, Greens, BLMers, Occupiers, and Libertarians.
More specifically, what this means is ending corporate welfare, the off-shoring of wealth, and tax loopholes for the rich. It means overturning Citizens United and never using Super PACs. It means de-militarizing police forces, ending the drug war, and shutting down government programs used to spy on Americans.
There’s also one more little known cause that should be added to this hypothetical party’s list: proportional party representation.
Each of the sub-groups I’ve named as part of this coalition has an interest in pushing proportional party representation so that it can actually become its own viable political party – electing its own representatives rather than the lesser of two evils.
This wouldn’t have to be a long term alliance. Once they implemented proportional party representation, the party could dissolve, and the various factions could go their separate ways, form their own political parties and actually all gain representatives in a multi-party system. Imagine what Congress might look life if we implemented proportional party representation.
The key is just that people across the political spectrum recognize their shared desires/interests in defeating the Democratic and Republican Parties, destroying corruption, and dismantling big brother government.
So how about it? Are you down take the best of red, white and blue, mix it all up, and #gopurple?