Are All Citizens Being Represented by a Two-Party System?
16 year old’s are excellent at defiance. Almost every child at that age had fantasies of rebelling against their authority. Family dinners ruined by the self-proclaimed ‘adult,’ after they storm from the table. Leaving behind green beans their mother took from the freezer section of the hometown grocery store. After this 16 year old makes it successfully up their stairs they slam the door, which radiates throughout every corner of the house. Their father may sigh in defeat. Their mother may quietly clean up the abandoned green beans. They will laugh as they remember that action all too well. They remember storming from their table and stomping up the stairs only to blast loud music or punch their pillow in anger. They remember telling their friends how much they hate their parents or wish they lived on their own.
But they never emancipated themselves.
You see, even though they had their differences, they still loved their parents. Instead, they spent their final few years with them, and hugged them goodbye on their way to college. They called them every weekend — just to check in. They even asked to come home and have a nice family meal for dinner.
But not America. America stormed from almost every meal. So often, she offered a compromise. “There is no love between us,” she says, “only a fight for dominance.” Send her to boarding school, or she will emancipate herself. “Go away,” her parents said. “Learn how to live on your own.” And she did.
200 years later, America is a force to be reckoned with. A pivotal leader in creating the free world. America does not shake at the word tyranny. Her blood begins to boil at that word. One fist, constantly cocked. The other, gently guiding others to their freedom.
But somehow, after 200 years of a constant power struggle, America began to tire. In the beginning, defiance and opposition was seen as strength. Debate was open and every citizen that was interested, had the ability to offer input. Elections were based off of ideas and values, rather than money or political party.
Of course, this was before we were required to identify with a specific party. This was before extremely large corporations could flood money into whatever cause gave them the most return. This was before America put her best interest in her pocketbook, rather than her people’s gain.
“What changed?” You may ask. Perhaps it is our scale. With 330 million people in the United States, it is impossible to represent every citizen. Under-representation is a big issue within the American population. According to The Pew Research Center, democracy works well. However, 61% of Americans believe it is in need of “significant changes.”
It is also apparent that two-thirds of American’s believe their side of the fence is losing more than it is winning. But are they? If every American is forced to identify with 3 general ideologies (Democrat, Republican, or Independent), who is winning?
Certainly not third-parties. But why not? According to an NBC Millennial Poll, 71% of young Americans believe that a third party is needed. While this doesn’t represent older generations, it is inarguable to say that millennial’s will eventually decide the majority of elections. So why aren’t third-parties being valued? This is where voting laws come in to play.
Voting is especially sensitive to Democratic Republics, as they decide the fate of the country. While Duverger’s Law is not a binding law, it is more of a housekeeping affair. The basic ‘gist’ of the theory is that any winner-takes-all voting situations tend to lead to a two-party favor-ability.
This allows for the power of these two-party systems. If enough of these groups hammer into the brains of voters that they are “throwing away” their vote, Independent third-party voters will lean towards a Democrat or Republican.
Because of this, third-party candidates are under-represented during the voting process. Candidates polling under 15 percent would not be allowed on debate stages. In turn, people in search of a candidate that best represents them will be limited to only two decisions. Thus, the lesser of two evils argument is displayed.
Another large issue is the money. There are two types of large donations through big companies that are protected under the first amendment (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission). PACs or Political Action Committees and Super PACs. The difference is drastic and honestly, quite scary. PACs are contributions of up to $5,000. These are from individuals and not corporations or unions. Super PACs are accepted as “dark money,” from anonymous donors. Typically these anonymous donors are comprised from corporations. If they’re anonymous, it is impossible to track how much they have contributed. This makes the $5,000 cap completely useless.
When doing a quick research of companies that have publicly supported specific candidates or party’s, the results are astounding. Most of the money contributed goes to Democrats or Republicans. Larger revenue equals more public display to the American people. This, along with the restrictions for debates allows for little-to-no ability for a third-party candidate to make way.
Now that we’ve talked exposed the difficulties of achieving as a third-party candidate, we go back to the first issue. Young voters believe in third-party candidates. These candidates allow for a more concentrated focus on a specific issue. They allow for even the smallest demographic to be heard.
Heard is an important word. As a 16 year old, all the child wants is to be heard and appreciated. Respected for nothing more than themselves. Defended and represented in a way that they can appreciate. And if their authority fails to do so, they leave. Perhaps not as drastically as America did 200 years ago. But certainly from the dinner table.
If we continue to under-appreciate this specific group of people, those green beans will stay in the freezer. There won’t be enough mouths to feed and they will expire.
America knows this issue all-too well. She must remember herself at that age. Remember the anger she had for her authority and what it caused her to do. If she doesn’t, she will lose the ability to call herself a free world. She is silencing those who value opposition and defiance as strength, and like she did 200 years ago, she must learn to value her people over her pocketbook.