We are unlucky we are forced to choose between two groups. What if I like a third party candidate? Many voters don’t vote for a third party because they feel it would have no effect. Parties are conducive to this feeling. Just as two parties is better than one party, it seems to me that many parties are better than two parties. In places like Israel, with 20 or so parties, where they have to form coalition governments, it allows the voices of more minor groups to get heard. It more accurately reflects the will of the people, don’t you think? Following that vein, infinite parties, or in other words no parties, is the ideal voting situation. True, the voter may have to think more and actually look at the candidates instead of voting for a party, but I think that is a good thing.
Power tends to corrupt all human institutions, but the U.S. Constitution and its balance of powers has worked well to deal with corruption or abuse of power. The two-party system plays a real role in this process in debating issues and exposing self- interest. To a remarkable degree, we have enjoyed a self-correcting system. Now, however, the special interests have found a way to avoid this self-correcting system. They have taken over both political parties. They advance their coercive agenda by electing all or most of those who make the rules. It does not matter whether someone is a Republican or a Democrat - do they support and defend your particular interests?
They can often pass and stop legislation at will. Their actions are becoming increasingly blatant. Lobbyists' campaign checks are being handed out on the floor of Congress. What better symbol of how corrupt the process has become? It isn't the validity of your cause, but how you work the system. We use the resources of the uncomplaining many to satisfy the complaining and self-interested few. Eventually, this is a political Ponzi scheme that is bound to crash.
This dilemma seems to be beyond the reach of the normal political process. The U.S. Constitution is still an effective document. We still have two major political parties. The problem is that there has developed an end-run strategy which controls public policy through election laws, party rules, and special interest money. Our problems are more with our funders than our founders. It is not our Constitution that is flawed, but this end-run strategy that has developed to elect, fund, and lobby all our elected officials. We cannot express the national will because we cannot get around those with a special agenda. It is Thomas Jefferson's ultimate nightmare: Alexander Hamilton's "economic elite" has taken over both political parties.
The first step in solving a problem must be to correctly identify the nature of the problem. As Abraham Lincoln observed, "The hole and the patch must be coterminous." We have an institutional problem more than a political problem. Both political parties are for sale; both are hopelessly compromised by special interest money. Our political institutions, instead of being part of the solution, have become part of the problem. Only a new party, unencumbered by the past, can take the money out of politics or reduce its caustic influence. Real political reform will require a Constitutional amendment allowing limits on campaign spending, or possibly publicly funded campaigns, and nothing short of a political revolution will garner the needed political support. The Republican and Democratic foxes will never adequately protect the henhouse. The historic solutions have themselves become the problem.
There is an important distinction here. There will always be special interests; they are not inherently evil. Madison, in Federalist No.10, observed they were integral to democracy. However, when they change their modus operandi from argument and logic to buying political influence, it is time to act. They must inevitably exist; they do not have to inevitably control the process.
The vacuum still exists and is growing. American politics is not driven by ideas or idealism, but by organized special interests. Confidence in the existing political system is low and will likely move lower as both parties use the hearings in Congress on campaign reform to expose the opposing party. Time is not a friend to the existing political parties. It will be hard for the public to regain confidence in the existing system. When both political parties have the same disease, it is unlikely one of them will be the cure.
There is a natural coalition out there for a new political movement. Take the pro-choice Republicans and the economically realistic Democrats and you have the core of a new party—the fiscally responsible Democrats and the socially progressive Republicans. Lop off those who have no faith in government and those with a blind faith in government, and organize the remainder. Most Americans neither want to dramatically extend the power of the federal government, nor dismantle it. The center of American political opinion is ripe for conversion. The need is great—and the time is now.