What’s wrong with It?
Since leaving the Democratic Party two months ago, I’ve been keeping this online journal on a daily basis. I’ve been looking in from a new perspective at the Two-Party Circus in Washington, and trying to understand what has gone so wrong in American politics. There’s a lot! And I obviously don’t know the half of it, yet.
But, as I peer in from the side through warped media fun-house windows at the smokescreens and clouds of shredded confetti and shrieking clowns of the circus, one thing has become more and more clear to me.
The Two-Party system is the problem. The system itself is broken, the design is flawed, and the circus we see is the result of the two-party system itself.
So I’m going to offer an incomplete list of things that seem to be wrong with the two-party system as we practice it in America. I’d love to hear what any of you think about this. Because one of the things I’ve discovered about being on the side is that my mind feels more open to other ideas. So, what’s wrong with the Two-Party system? As I see it, pretty much everything.
First of all, it’s unconstitutional.
Although the Two-Party system may not be technically illegal (yet), the US Constitution was not designed for it. There’s no mention of political parties in the Constitution. The Constitution was designed for the Senate and for Congress to each be a unified body of individuals who voted with their conscience and constituents. They were not made to be divided bodies of two unified voting blocks. Debate had a purpose when the votes weren’t predetermined by which side of the aisle you sat on. The Two-Party system blocks the effective functioning of government as the Constitution intended for one simple reason. The members vote with their parties. And that stops the Constitution from functioning correctly.
Forbes wrote about this “cancer” of party-line voting in 2017.
As recently as the early 1970s, party unity voting was around 60% but today it is closer to 90% in both the House and Senate.
The Two-Party system has turned the representative democracy envisioned by the Constitution into a tyranny of the majority party. It’s a winner-take-all structure, which leads inevitably toward polarization and the struggle for power over principle. Gridlock or tyranny are the only two possibilities in the Two-Party system.
Systems-scientist and philosopher Gregory Bateson explained how any two systems in direct competition with each other will tend to become more and more similar. Inside the Two-Party system, the range of possibilities gets narrowed to a small slice of the available spectrum of thought. Conformism and centrism, conservatism and corporatism have come to dominate both parties to such a degree that we can barely conceive alternatives outside the norms.
Inside the Two-Party system, everything is about votes, not issues, about winning, not about principle.
For example, all of Nancy Pelosi’s increasingly lame arguments against impeachment show that this sad reality is deeply rooted in DC. Despite all ethical and legal principles that demand impeachment, her fears are that her sacred Party will lose votes in the next election. And to her, that’s all that matters. The Two-Party system has taken any remnants of principle out of our political world.
The majority of people are simply not represented by either Party. This leads to extreme voter apathy. Unregistered voters are the largest single group of voters, bigger than the plurality of either party. That largest group of voters, the independents, has only one representative in Congress and the Senate: Bernie Sanders.
The Two-Party system inevitably trivializes complex issues. Our system leads to yes/no, black/white, binary thinking. Positions on important problems coalesce around the Party platform, and more thoughtful, complicated ideas are left out of the discussions.
So, with so many drawbacks, “Why,” one might ask, “do we have a Two-Party system?” There are historical reasons, of course. And negative answers, like, “It’s hard to get rid of it.” But the positive answer is also easy. We have a two-party government because the two-party system is easy to control by business and the military/industrial complex. And because the Two-Party system is a great way to present the appearance of democracy, while in reality we are governed by a few powerful interests who manipulate the parties behind the scenes. The Two-Party Circus, it seems from the side, is not our government at all.
It’s a show, folks! And it’s one hell of a show! So, step right on over here with me, and take a good look from the side.
The show must go on! Here are a few links to stop you from thinking about what’s wrong with P.R. Burn-em’s Two-Party Circus.
Some interesting media coverage of media coverage. How does this happen? It turns out, our media is Red or Blue, too.
For most of April, Biden wasn’t even a candidate. But Biden led coverage well before he got in the race. The analysis found that he soaked up 23% of airtime before he announced his candidacy from January through March.
Extinction Update: Why are we losing the Monarch butterflies? It’s more than climate change.
Storm Report: Severe Storms break out in the midwest
Why do we have a Two-Party system? Because as long as we’re absorbed in watching the Two-Party Circus, we might not notice the tent burning down around us.