Handling factionalism
Posted by aogWednesday, 25 July 2007 at 09:20 TrackBack Ping URL

Transterrestrial Musings has a post about the entrenchment in the legal code of the two main parties. That may be, although none of the posts in the chain provide any evidence to that effect. However, clearly the concept of having exactly two political parties is strongly embedded in much electoral law. Transterrestrial Musings wonders if we should change the law (via Constitutional Amendment) to support more parties. I wonder if this isn’t something our little group has beaten the horse’s skeleton to powder on. The change I would favor would be to let candidates run as candidates for more than one party, so that (for instance) the GOP candidate could also be the Libertarian Party candidate. Clearly this would encourage more factionalism, but I think it would be tolerable because ultimately the elections would force things toward the middle, as the Founders intended. It might promote more compromise and political adjustment before the actual election, while still providing a space for non-mainstream voices to have some input, without the problems of a real parlimentary system.

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Tom C., Stamford,Ct. Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 13:07

The American two-party system handles the left/right divide as well as it’s ever been handled. Compromise happens at the party level first and extremism and hot headedness is avoided at the door to the law making sausage factory called the legislative branch. Personally, I’m thankful that we avoided the pitfalls of proportional reperesentation that parliaments tend to fall into like having communist/socialist/fascist parties with reps sitting in the congress during times of stress like the New Deal or the Viet Nam eras.

Michael Herdegen Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 01:45

I’d support a system in which one could record both a first and second choice, but frankly I wonder if the average American voter could well-handle such a change. There do seem to be an amazing number of people who have trouble with the ballots as they stand now, where only one choice need be made.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 08:54

Yes, that’s why I would go with the system I mentioned, where the complexity is handled by the parties instead of the voters, who still simply mark a single vote per office. It would also keep the pressure toward two candidates. Then you don’t have the non-transitivity problem.

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