Friday, September 30, 2016

The Two Party System is broken, stupid, and anti democratic. Would that we could ditch it. . .

rather than institutionalize it, the way we have.

It'd dumb beyond belief.

Nationally, its insanity has given us the two distasteful candidates, one of whom is going to become a massively unpopular President by default.  Locally, it's bolted a rational traditional Wyoming GOP with a radical GOP that's out of tune with Wyoming's people.  The Democratic party is the same way, with some solid middle of the road, Wyoming, candidates, and some who seem to think they're sitting a meeting of the Petrograd Soviet in 1917.

It's pathetic.

And the two party system is to blame.

Time to dump this decrepit system.

Let us consider it carefully.

The essence of the two party political system is a stunning conclusion that all human opinions can be categorized into two groups.  It's the ultimate "there are two kinds of people" statement on human nature.

Well, dear reader, there are not "two kinds of people".  Not hardly.

And the fact that both parties are split into more than one group themselves is ample proof of that.

But let us move on to the categories that a two party system supposed.

We have two parties, the Grand Old Party (the Republicans) and the Democratic Party, which is supposedly the oldest standing political party in the world (true only if you accept that the same Democratic Party which was such a huge fan of slavery is the same one we have today.  . . which isn't the case).

The GOP is the "conservative" party. The Democrats are, at least sometimes, the "liberal" party, or the "progressive" party (an odd term in and of itself, as progressive means we're progressing towards something, . . . but what is that something?).

Okay, on this, we are to believe, for example, that the conservative GOP is the party that's opposed to abortion, in favor of the free market, opposed to high taxation, and for a strong defense.  It's also, we are told, opposed to gun control.  It's for law and order, we're told.  And its for a strong defense, but  not an activist foreign policy.

The Democrats are the opposite of these things. They're for abortion and euthanasia (and they truly are) as a rule.  They're supposedly opposed to using force but for engaging the world. They are big on inclusiveness and diversity.

This, of course, all on the national level. We'll get to the local level soon enough.

Now, if these statements are taken no further than what I just stated, they are in fact true.  But let's take them further.

Let's start with a really divisive issue. Abortion.  And let's not mince words and claim its about choice.  Bull.  It's about abortion.

Generally, the GOP is opposed to abortion . . .with qualifiers.  It's opposed to abortion because its members, or at least a fair number of them, are pro life or at least feel queasy about defining what lives are worth preserving and which are not.  Indeed, that's generally it, and that's a position I agree with. All human life is, in my view, valuable and indeed sacred, and I don't really care if letting that life come into existence means it wrecks your nifty career plans, is inconvenient, expensive or something (although it wouldn't, what with adoption and the like).  And I don't feel that there are any qualifiers to this.  Those who would come into the world unwanted, for any reason, or into a traumatic situation, for any reason, or sick, for any reason, have just as much of a right to live than those who come into the world under normal circumstances.  That's the GOP position, right?

Well, not really.  Generally, the GOP nationally will put qualifiers on it of some sort, but they're better at any rate than the Democrats on this issue, which always values the life of the adult or near adult, well, the fully functional adult, or maybe some sort of adult, over the infant.

And that is a conservative position, as it conserves life.

So, then, if that's our view and our goal, or rather if that's the GOP view and goal, then the GOP must likewise feel that way about every life and death issue.

Not so much.

Generally the GOP is okay with the death penalty.

Now, the death penalty is something that has widespread support, and historically it made sense.  It really doesn't in the current world, however, and given that its intellectually inconsistent with preserving life in general.  It just doesn't make sense to oppose abortion, as a political party, and support the death penalty.

Okay, so I'm saying this one position doesn't make sense within the GOP. And the reverse of it, the Democratic position, which basically never saw a baby that it didn't think was a target for death in the womb, and as its coming to develop never saw an old person who it didn't think should be wheeled into a the lethal injection chamber, but opposes the death penalty, is even odder. Truly, if the Democrats can generally think its okay to off infants in the womb and old people in the nursing home, why not prisoners in the jail?  If inconvenience and quality of life are the standards, which are the Democratic standard, well, life in jail is the pits.. . . why not kill them all?

Clearly, these positions make no sense within the parties themselves, although the GOP position makes more sense than the  Democratic one.

Taking this out, however, if preserving life is the GOP conservative position, why isn't it massively pro environment in a radical sense?  It isn't.  It would seem that a party whose first priority is life, would err on the side of caution in every way in regards to the environment, which ultimately is a life issue.  Indeed, the GOP candidate ought to make Jill Stein look like a slacker in these regards.  But, no, the GOP basically discounts many environmental concerns, weighing contemporary economic concerns higher.  That's intellectually inconsistent.  The Democrats generally support economic causes them, but that's inconsistent as well, given that their standard for everything else seems to be the mere convenience of the presently living, as long as they think like. . . well, you know. . um.  And the Democrats claim to have the interest of the working man as a paramount concern, but they conversely seem to have little concern for policies such as we're discussing here, i.e., environmental ones, even if they hurt the working man.  As pragmatic as the Democrats are life issues you'd think that they'd be equally as pragmatic on economic ones over other issues. But that's not true either.

Indeed, carrying that out yet further, if preservation of life is a prime concern in the GOP, we'd think that it'd be for a foreign policy that emphasized the prevention of war and the party would almost be pacifistic..  I'm not sure what the GOP policy really is. I know that the Democrats, in recent years, have been really willing to use drones in undeclared wars which is problematic to some degree, although I guess you can rationalize that, although traditionally they claim to be the party that's opposed to war.

My point is that whatever your own views are, it's clearly the case that you can be pro life, anti death penalty, anti euthanasia, but not otherwise be very keen on the GOP's economic and environmental views.  Conversely, you can be deeply concerned about the environment but have no place at all in the Democratic Party unless you are willing to live with blood implicitly on your hands.  Its just not the case that all these issues fit into one party or another.  I'm sure there are homosexuals who are opposed to abortion deeply, for example.  Or radical conservationist who are deeply in favor of the Second Amendment.  Or those who deeply espouse the traditional view of marriage while being deeply in favor of gun control.

Why isn't, therefore, a party that reflects the life issues the way I've set them out, as one mere example?

Well, there actually is (the American Solidarity Party) but it's hard for a party like that to get anyone on the ballot in our first past the post system, let alone a system that is so institutionalized that states actually run, free of cost, party elections for the parties.  That's what primary elections are.  Primary elections shouldn't even exist, really, as all they are is the party picking its choices, but that's somehow forgotten.

Now, least this be read as if I'm campaigning here for the ASP and that 's the purpose of my post, this is true of all sorts of things.

I have a left wing Democratic friend running for office whom I'm sure has never seen a left wing cause the candidate didn't love.  The candidate would likely be for killing infants in the delivery room if it was an option, and putting a bullet in the back of the head of anyone over 60 years of age if they caught the sniffles. They're for redefining marriage in any way imaginable irrespective of the historic norms and the reasons for them without considering them (they'd simply dismiss them), and probably would support polygamy and any other "progressive" social change you could think of, even if that position would have once been regarded as regressive (prohibition of polygamy and formality to marriages would originally have been "progressive" positions).  They are of course in favor of legalizing marijuana and probably other drugs but for banning guns.  That person deserves a different party than the Democratic Party, and indeed people like that make the Democrats here look nutty.

Conversely, we have running here locally at least three "constitutional" conservatives who apparently have a double secret copy of the constitution that requires the Federal government to give land to the states so that it can be sold to the super rich owners of football franchises in some other state, as, doggone, that's what the hallowed founders of our brave republic required.  Some of these candidates appear to downright hate the Federal government and everyone who works for it.  They deserve their own party as well, and frankly right now they're driving Wyomingites who have long been in the GOP out of it.

And all of this even assumes that everyone's world outlook is based on logic, which it clearly is not.  I can see no reason, for example, why there would not be some people who care mostly about there being no gun control but who want a Sanders send my kids to college at government expense bill. By the same token I know that there are gun owners who are fanatic about the Second Amendment and who are pacifist, and that there are businessmen who are socialist at heart but conceive of themselves as pro business otherwise.  There are no doubt radical fee marketeers who never saw a public construction project they didn't love and want to fund.  And I know that there are coal miners who really believe there's a war on coal but who care deeply about the preservation of the land and access to public lands.

All this would be easy solvable if we had more than one viable political party. But the two parties have so entrenched themselves that it's nearly impossible for a third party, or a person with no party at all, to make a run at things. That's why the biggest growing "party" in the United States are the Independents. I.e,. a pox on all of your houses.  Indeed, I'm set to join them once again (I've been an independent in the recent past, and I'm seriously thinking of going down and registering as an Independent as soon as I get the time).

The first part of addressing this is to break the parties hold on the election system itself.  Do away with the nonsensical commission on Presidential debates which keeps third party candidates from debating (the old League of Women's Voters debates let them in when they had less support than the commission does).

Wipe out primary elections as party of the system.  Let any party that can muster up at least 250 signatures for a single candidate be on the ballot on that state and if it does it once, it should be allowed to simply present its certified candidate for the next decade.  And require, if you are going to have party elections at public expense, that the parties certify that the voters are party members, not the county clerk.  If you are going to vote in a party election, you should have gone to the trouble of actually signing up with the party.

Or, better yet, if we are to have primaries, don't have party names on the ballot at all and don't have party restrictions on the ballot.  Make them real primaries in which every single person who has filed to run is on the ballot against everyone else, and in the general election the top two, or four, compete to see who gets the seat, irrespective of their party affiliation.   Why should the system favor one party against another.  If the voters narrow their choices to two people they think qualified, or perhaps four, let them square off irrespective of what party they are in, or indeed irrespective if they are in no party at all.

If we had that system, we'd not have the Presidential race we do right now.  The reason we have this weird mess is, in part, as we have a system that unnaturally groups people into one of two groups.  If you see yourself in any of the described groups above, don't get mad at me, get mad at the system, because unless you are a very unusual person, you don't have a candidate this year you really like, and this system is why that is.

And we wouldn't have local election in which what are effectively four parties are pretending to be two.

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