America Desperately Needs Viable Third Parties


American politics are dominated by two Goliaths: the Democrat and Republican parties. The most common opinion running through the public is that neither party is trustworthy and working for the best interests of Americans. That’s not a surprise. As any economist can tell you, when a field is dominated by two members, cartels are easier to form.

Republicans and Democrats do not have to form moderate coalitions with diverse groups that represent broad swaths of the American public. All they need to do is abuse their majority position or wait until they have that majority position again. Usually this takes only a few years after the voters grow annoyed with the other party yet again. There is talk that this is happening right now, as Republicans may be in position to retake the Senate not long after some were predicting the demise of the GOP.

The major parties do not have to worry about pleasing their members, because there is no one else to go to. Since they represent, in some respects, polar opposites of each other, it is highly unlikely that a Democrat or Republican voter will switch parties. However, if there were other parties with similar ideas, the two major parties would have to work harder to please their voters. A Democrat could easily go Green, for instance, or a Republican could go Constitution Party. The Reform and Libertarian Parties also offer alternatives.

Unfortunately, these parties are small and usually lacking in real impact. The Democrats and Republicans like it that way, just like a restaurant owner would prefer you not have too many other restaurants in the area.

The emergence of more political parties would be beneficial to America. Instead of pleasing corporate cronies, our political leaders would have to listen to constituents rather than corporate backers or we could take our votes elsewhere. For this to happen, the media would need to start treating third parties as viable options, instead of anointing two “serious” candidates right from the start.

The media has never demonstrated much interest in doing this, however. Curious, because the media is also dominated by a small group of big actors who work to please politicians instead of We the People. There seems to be a lot of that going around.

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