BINARY OPTION TO THE TWO-PARTY STRANGLEHOLD
As far as two-way races are concerned, does it not strike you as suspicious that at every level of government across the country that the ballot for those offices looks something like this:
Not all races are limited to just two contestants. Some allow for third parties / independents or write-ins to be on the ballot. However with the ballot access laws and campaign finance laws favoring Democrat & Republican parties over all the others, it has not been probable or perhaps even feasible to get an independent or third-party candidate elected to office in most contests despite some exceptions.
Certain commentators for the powers that be chide us that third parties and independents diminish or split the vote of the constituencies of either of the two main parties and can enable the other side (the greater evil) to prevail in an election. The fear by either side of being weakened in a particular race is a valid fear that that particular constituency will rail against and hence they also rail against the third parties. In addition we are told that a two-party favoring system provides a mechanism towards a majority decision in which election outcomes will more often reflect the will of most of the people.
After considering all that let's ask ourselves these questions: Is the two-party system really providing the best candidates? Doesn't it cater to a more lackluster, common-denominator seeking party machine? Does it respond to a polarized electorate well? How well does it handle the more centrist or moderate forces and candidates? Does it promote more thought from the electorate, sufficient strategy from contenders or provide indepth debate? How well can it steer the country via elections and then handle governing? Are you still satisfied with its choices and results? Answers to these questions may vary concerning particular periods in our history or with certain elections.
There are other ways that can provide better representation and response and are more ethical and deserving of a free country. So again as far as two-way races go, wouldn't it be better if we had a ballot that looked like this:
We see here that these races still encourage majority outcomes. While this table is an idealized example, an election system geared towards open competition amongst all parties could approximate such a diverse outcome or at least give a better chance of changing which two parties will be dominant. Any resulting binary election slate would be sought by reforming ballot access and campaign finance laws plus nixing campaign subsidies by the state. Such reform would be enacted alongside primaries and caucuses that would first establish choice party candidates and then choice parties as best as such means can provide -- concentrating contestants down in some appreciable manner toward the final binary ballot. In reality though, primaries in the current system are not really good electoral mechanisms and can cause dysfunction or distortion through cloned candidates, infiltration by the opposition and susceptibility to lower turn-out. Despite that, if such a more open system were the case, we more likely wouldn't have to just settle for lesser evils to prevail in these races as much as we did earlier in the strictly two-party example.
So with a more true and diverse selection from amongst an initial multi-party mix, we can get more competition and choice towards any final binary ballot. Thus we can expect better response, debates, steering and governing through such a system on behalf of the electorate. In situations concerning the want of two choices on the final ballot, what the various commentators should really be advocating is a more ideal binary system as herein illustrated instead of sticking with our strictly two-party favoring system we suffer today. Having to solely reclaim or rejuvenate the subsidized main parties is a false proposition.
We on the other hand do not necessarily advocate keeping all races down to just two final choices for every contest on the ballot. By allowing room for more contenders on the final ballot, issues that otherwise would have been rendered non-effective due to the mutual exclusion by the campaigns of binary candidates could actually bring another candidate to the forefront between the primaries and the general election. This provides more debate and competition. So, like now in some current races and places there could be more than two contenders for office in the general election - say three to four plus a write-in. We think that one write-in slot should be included in every race to allow for some hardship, withdrawal or other significant event occurring between primaries and the general election. Integral to the write-ins should be a horizontal set of "crossword" boxes with character protocols or just have those SAT fill-ins which spell out candidate names or instead utilize the telephone button text scheme where one "dials" a few corresponding leading letters of a candidate's first and last names -- all in order to enable machine reading.
Suppose in such several contender races there are two leading candidates above the rest and neither has majority but their combined tallies constitute a majority of the votes. We could allow the other minor candidates to pledge their share of the vote count towards either one of the leading candidates to determine a majority winner. This would kinda be like using the minor candidates themselves as supplemental electors with proportional power towards either leading candidate. We'll call this method 'Binary Pledged Vote Shares' or BPVS. The attributes of such a voting system will need further examination to gauge its effectiveness.
In cases where the two leading candidates' combined tallies do not constitute a majority, a binary pledge of the vote shares from the lesser candidates towards them may not necessarily reflect a majority ideological slant on behalf of the whole constituency. Ideally, vote shares should be pledged from a constituted minority of the whole towards a leading dual's majority but we have a leading dual's minority and it's possible their combination exhibits a minor ideological neighborhood or blend along the whole constituency's spectrum. And what if in this type of situation there are even more diverse ideological camps embedded amongst the electorate to contend with? Who determines which two ideological camps' candidates will be the most appropriate to be the designates of any pledged binary vote shares? The occurrence and extent of these issues will depend on the number of candidates and ideologies involved. Such scenarios yield the option for old-fashioned runoff elections. However, in an attempt to avoid the expense and hassle of runoffs the IRV method has been recently used (Instant Runoff Voting). Despite how appealing IRV sounds in simple practice, counter-intuitively it can be a detriment to your favorite candidate and it actually wastes money instead of saving it because of the need for new machines. In the current ballot access environment it keeps third parties down like the usual system we use (plurality voting). IRV can also increase voter error by large margin.
Resorting to runoffs may be the better though more expensive choice, but then we ask which candidates should be included in the runoff to best reflect the true inclinations of the total electorate for these more elaborate scenarios? A runoff between the lowest number of several lead candidates constituting a majority of the election result is the most basic requirement. However you could possibly yield need of another runoff. Perhaps allowing binary pledges from the lesser candidates to occur when there's a significant plurality threshold (> or = 40%) held by the two leading candidates' combined tallies may help ward off some of these runoff situations though still possibly missing ideological slant of the electorate but within a tolerance of not obsessing too much over maintaining rule of a slighter philosophical majority. Then again maybe allowing all the candidates to haggle and coalesce their vote shares into separate blocs with each bloc pivoting about some ideological center of best agreement will eventually determine a majority winner. (This is like subsets mutually created in the Process of the Bicameral Electoral College.) Or perhaps invoking runoffs between resulting bloc coalitions' favorites may prove to be more feasible as a resolution. For best approach to all these options, one has to consider the various possible outcomes in vote shares in order to establish the most desirable categorical protocols.
So far we have discussed these election structures within the current voting regimen of casting one vote for a particular candidate in a particular race on the ballot. It would appear that another method of voting addresses all of the aforementioned several contender concerns and is the best solution to replace binary ballots. That method is range voting and it should be seriously considered.
Now we ask the following questions: Has pickling between Democrat and Republican in virtually all offices led our country down the right path? Will doing so again really provide the full solutions needed to address the preservation of our nation? Won't they yet again run one way and govern in another? For which will it be more effective or rewarding: Battling the well-funded elitist establishment of the two parties or instead battling your local elections board for access towards more grassroots candidates? Why continue to suffer the establishments' lackluster moderates or the elitist mavericks? With the tea parties and other such activity, isn't now a great time for our elections to phase in the more grassroots candidates? Aren't you tired of solely playing the strict two-party shuffle again and again at all levels?
It should now be more apparent that a strict two-party system is much more prone to limiting votes from the public towards certain established candidates. In contrast, the herein described open, competitive and multi-party systems can provide a better slate of contenders. A proper version of a new electoral system can yield a truer selection of final ballot candidates more aptly expressing the intent of the voters.
To further such causes, the more similar third parties should not waste time, money and effort competing against each other in the same constituencies. Instead, they should agree to hold conference(s) in order to divvy up which precincts, districts, counties or states they will operate in. Perhaps they can do such in checkerboard fashion or take hold in certain regions or areas. Another option is for one party to agree to run candidates in every other election where the other party runs candidates in-between.
In closing we observe that in the new binary slate above, we included some Democrats and Republicans. Will it be possible to have them still exist as players? Perhaps it will if they actually reform and do not hold total power to themselves. However, if they continue to hog the slate and should the country collapse under their weight it will be less likely that both parties will have as much if any share of the electorate when the populace finally decides to cast off the elitist establishment. Both parties as it is are in some danger of extinction with what has been going on already. Making room for true ballot reform may bring forth some electoral forgiveness and also may act to streamline and improve those parties towards a better representation on behalf of some core demographic for each. Democrats and Republicans both should relinquish from total domination and at least allow for a multi-party binary slate, otherwise they must be politically exterminated.
One way to institute electoral reforms is to incorporate the range vote into
a bicameral electoral college (BicamIII) which abolishes the block-state assignment
of states' electors which has isolated the presidential election outcome
to just a few swing states. As well, a Republican in California and a
Democrat in Texas will have some competitive input towards determining the electoral college
unlike now. States will have near congressional proportions overall and state
legislatures will have check on the popular vote and federal executive
selection. Third parties and independents will finally have some ability to compete for electors
towards the final result as opposed to being mere spoilers. The system we have now is
way too blunt towards presidential selection.
In addition to reforming our election system and abolishing the two-party
menace, we should increase the refresh rate of our public offices to prevent
the specter of career politicians putting office before constituents or country.
'Is fusion voting - judged purely on its own merits - a good idea? On the plus side, it probably is somewhat helpful to third parties. It allows third parties to grow (unfortunately for them with a rather weak definition of both "party" and "grow") without dying in infancy due to the spoiler trainwreck.'
Delayed versus Instant runoff
'This is the new mainstream in American politics, and it's growing among younger voters. More than 40% of college
undergraduates identify themselves as independents, according to a summer 2008 survey by Harvard University's Institute
of Politics (IOP). "Half of young Americans do not identify with traditional party or ideological labels - they are the new
center in American politics," says John Della Volpe of IOP.'
'USA Today reports that the Democratic and Republican parties are shrinking at a rapid pace. Faced with few choices at
the ballot box, American voters are increasingly holding their collective noses to vote in (D) or (R) candidates while
simultaneously detaching themselves from party affiliation.'
A tabulation of various congressional polls over the years. Congress has not had much popularity historically, but it has
been really low the last few decades and especially now. Wouldn't having a higher refresh rate of congressional members
bring some improvement? Not to mention breaking down the main two parties' overwhelming occupation of the body.
'Americans still hold Congress in low regard, but its 17% job approval rating is the highest since last July. Congress'
approval had dipped to a record-low 10% in February.' ~ by Jeffrey M. Jones : April 19, 2012
'Just eight percent (8%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the national legislature is doing a good or excellent job, according
to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.' ~ Friday, May 04, 2012
Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts who took the seat from Democrat Ted Kennedy decides to vote for the questionable $15 billion jobs bill. Two votes were needed for passage and Scott was one.
Some Republicans sure know how to screw up things. The RNC backed a Republican candidate in the New York 23rd that was more Democrat than the Democrat opponent was!
'Scozzafava has been endorsed by the Republican leadership in Congress and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and has received roughly $1 million from the National Republican Congressional Committee.'
'Another Gallup finding that should alert Democrats is the ongoing collapse of public confidence in government. A
survey released earlier this week found that Americans now believe that the federal government wastes 51 cents of
every dollar it spends, the highest estimate ever recorded. Twenty-five years ago, that figure stood at only 38 cents. '
Democrats Obama, Reid and Pelosi demonstrate their success and popularity by latching onto health care "reform".
Leader of the Senate, Democrat Harry Reid - The Gerbil Man - attempts to whitewash job losses. How
are we really faring on jobs?