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Essay:America's Two-Party Monopoly
I’d like to make a blog that gripes about the current political situation of the United States. One major gripe I have is how one-sided it is - it’s always the Democrats or the Republicans winning major votes, with “third parties” winning less than one percent of the vote combined. I looked at the election results of other countries, and I was rather astonished, mainly by the elections in France, who’s government system seems to be partially based on ours.
In the US, the media is dominated by the Democrats and Republicans. The Libertarians, Greens, and others get little public recognition, and their funding does not allow for nation-wide commercials and big campaigns. Heck, the third parties are trying to get ballot access most of the time. The Democrats and Republicans have the money and the influence to easily, without any effort, gain ballot access, while other parties have to get petitions, donations, and other things. I have heard that there are some countries that give government funding to political parties. In my opinion it would make the elections a bit more fair - the Republicans and Democrats would recieve the same amount of funding as the Libertarians and the Greens. Parties would get equal air-time, but of course, there would be requirements for federal funding.
Let me get to the subject of other country’s elections. The United Kingdom has three major political parties, the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, and the Liberal Democrat Party. These three have the largest levels of seats in Parliament, but other parties have atleast some MPs, even if it’s only one. Germany has the same thing with their parliament, with several parties holding a fair amount of seats.
Now we’ll get to something very interesting: French elections. France apparently has a system where the Presidential election goes in two rounds, the second being between the top-two candidates in the first. In 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy led the first round with 31% of the popular vote (note that I said popular vote, they have no electoral college), with the runner-up behind him being Ségolène Royal, with almost 26% of the vote. The rest of the votes were divided between various other political parties (many of them being scary Communist parties). The second round was between the two I mentioned, and it was neck and neck, with Nicolas Sarkozy winning the election.
The French Senate is divided in this way, although the National Assembly (their equivelent to our House of Representatives) is less diverse, although they have more than one person who isn’t of the two largest parties. There’s another thing of note - the parties of the Presidential elections vary - in 2007 the parties in the second round of the election were the Union for a Popular Movement and the Socialist Party. In 2002 the parties were Rally for the Republic and the National Front. In 1995 it was Rally for the Republic and the Socialist Party.
Compare that to our system. We don’t have two rounds of elections, where the first determines the two parties we vote for. We’re automatically stuck with the Democrats and Republicans. We get no choice at all except for the two idiots either party puts forward - sure, there’s the Libertarians, the Green Party, and the Socialist Party USA, but guess what? They’re really all jokes if you look at it in a certain way. They don’t have the funding or the support of the two major parties. In my opinion, it’s wrong - American democracy really is crumbling.
Only half of Americans voted in 2004, and even then, a good portion of the American public is not well informed about the choices. The two major parties are relatively the same - they’re both varying levels of being socially right and economically right - the Democrats are economically centrist, and despite being liberal, there are a fair number of socially conservative Democrats. I think the first step towards political equality would be to end a lot of private funding for political parties, or atleast offer the smaller political parties the recources necessary for a national campaign. This would be hard to accomplish in America - the people in office probably would not want to give up their monopoly on the government. The second step to eradicate political monopoly would be to abolish the electoral college, which really is the fairest type of election - the people decide based on a majority of the vote - the electoral college really isn’t any more fair. The assumption that pro-electoral college people have is that it would give smaller states less of a political force, but really, people in one state don’t vote as a whole different from another state.
A popular vote would largely eliminate the same state-by-state system, although one person may recieve a majority in one state rather than another. California wouldn’t command the whole US, being the largest state population-wise, since we’re like everyone else, divided by party, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative. Hopefully, my blog enlightens some young liberal, and he or she will grow up to be a senator, or President, that is, if Ann Coulter doesn’t lead an Iran-like revolution.