|Posted by Pete Healey on December 16, 2012 at 2:55 PM|
The New York Times today published several letters in response to a call for new third parties that might, tongue in cheek, be useful in the U.S. today. Most of the responses were as silly as the originall call but this one caught our eye:
A democratic structure that allows for multiple parties could serve to introduce fresh ideas and marginalize ideologues. But we will not develop a multiparty system simply by wishing for it or by coming up with a catchy name.
We have a two-party system because our representatives are elected on the basis of winner-take-all districts, rather than proportional representation. Under our vote-counting structure it is nearly impossible for a new party to test out new ideas, winning a small number of seats at first and expanding its representation if the voters approve of its positions.
Under a multiparty system the Tea Party would hold perhaps 5 percent of the seats in Congress, the Evangelical Party another 5 percent perhaps, and let’s say the Business Party might attract 25 percent. Other groups on the right and the left would fill out the seats.
Under such a system Mitt Romney would have been able to stand his ground as a leader of the Business Party in the primaries and would not have needed to constantly flip-flop and pander to the far right. For the general election, Mr. Romney might have formed a coalition with the far right and lost, or he might have succeeded in forming a coalition with a center-left party, possibly unseating President Obama.
Our two-party system is not God-given. It is time to change how we count votes and to end the despotism of dysfunction.
Sunnyvale, Calif., Dec. 12, 2012