In case you haven’t noticed lately, voter distrust of the government is at an all-time high and political accountability is at an all-time low.
Our elected officials run multi-million dollar political campaigns to keep their jobs in Washington DC and the winner of these contests often go to the highest bidder.
Local politics, especially here in Oklahoma, is not any better. Those who remain in the legislature despite their unpopular agendas do so not because of the will of the people but at the behest of the state chamber.
The two political parties have a stranglehold on our so-called democratic process by which we select, or by which we perceive to select, our leaders.
The two-party system has proven to be a failure. It is obvious. The only thing that our elected officials seem to do well anymore is bicker with the other side and spew talking points about why their team is better than the other team. I read an article a few years ago on a blog called Frankenstein Government. In the article it stated that “…these parties don’t stand for anything anymore…but [they are good at] creating more government…”
Day after day, election after election, it is proven that the two-party system in American has been more and more a hinderance to a positive political process. On any given issue the process between the two sides often ends in a stalemate, the end result being nothing actually gets done.
There aren’t enough choices in our elections to represent the various political viewpoints in our country. Candidates are usually forced to run and represent a party whose values they do not necessarily reflect and voters are forced to vote based on platforms that they don’t agree with 100% of the time. Voters are forced into voting into the lesser of two evils.
Focus shifts away from the candidates themselves and more on party platforms.
There really is no difference between the two parties anymore. They both in some way, shape or form, represent big business or big special interests.
The idea that there are only two possible solutions to a problem is foolish. Real solutions are limited due to the polarization of the issues by the two parties.
Politico recently reported that “Americans have never been more eager for a third-party in American politics….60% believe Democrats and Republicans are doing such a poor job a third-party is needed, according to a [recent] Gallup poll….”
The question lies then, what can we the people do to rescue our liberty from the political mafia the is running (and ruining) our country?
The rise in Independent voter registration all over the country is a foreshadowing of that answer. We need to completely abandon the two-party system. We need to send a message to those in Washington DC and those in power in our states and local communities that we will no longer sit idly by and allow partisan politics to control this country.
In Oklahoma specifically, that is going to prove very difficult. Although the majority of registered voters are Democrats, the state is well-known as being the “reddest state in the nation” (due to the fact that Barack Obama did not win any counties in his most recent re-election) and the fact that the Republicans control both the executive and legislative branches of the government in the state. In addition to the fact that all of our elected officials (U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators) are Republican. The Republican Party in this state has no desire to give up its power by allowing other political parties on the ballot. The ballot access laws in Oklahoma are some of the most restrictive in the nation, due to the domination of state politics by the Republican Party.
However, Independent voter registration in Oklahoma has risen over the years so there is hope that at some point, this tide of one party rule could change.
Specifically in Oklahoma, to further facilitate the abandonment of the two-party system, the ballot access laws need to be changed. It must be easier for third parties to get on the ballot. In the 2012 Presidential elections, there were only 2 options, even though every other state in the union had at least a 3rd option.
Over the past few years there has been a push to decrease the number of signatures required to enable a third-party on the Oklahoma ballots. This movement has been met with resistance in the legislature of course and has gone nowhere. This is a start but the real solution needs to be, for lack of a better term, a little more dramatic. What needs to happen is essentially remove the signature requirement and simply institute some sort of filing fee. That is, instead of requiring a prospective political party to get thousands and thousands of signatures (most of which are going to end up getting thrown out by the state election board anyway since the two political parties control the state election board even though it’s “non-partisan”) have that political party pay a nominal fee to get on the ballot. That way, any potential political party could just try to do some fund-raising to get on the ballot. Of course, we would have to ensure that the filing fee is fair so that you don’t have to be a billionaire to get on the ballot.
Another option would be to mirror the Washington State process. Completely dismember the closed primary system and end party registration. That way, a person has to campaign for a political office based on their merits and their own platform, rather than the platform of a political party. In this type of open primary system, the voters vote in the primaries and the top two vote recipients go to the general election, regardless of political affiliation.
One thing is perfectly clear and that is the two-party system has failed America and we the people need to come up with a sensible solution to abandon that system.