This was never supposed to happen. Our founding fathers didn’t want political parties. They consistently warned against them. They saw the damage and division political parties had caused in other parts of the world and they didnt want to see it happen here. But, despite the fears of our framers, political parties began to form right under their noses in George Washington’s cabinet. Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton were polar opposites in just about every possible way. Soon, camps of supporters began to form around these two men’s disparate ideologies and political parties were formed.
They’ve been with us ever since.
Had there ever been a lasting period of time when a healthy third party was able to gain a strong presence, perhaps it would have opened the door for more. But, with few historical exceptions, a two party system has dominated in America and our founding fathers’ worst fears are now a stark reality.
It’s time we do something about it.
Despite our enviable Constitutional structure, our nation is not run by representatives making decisions based upon the best interests of those who elected them to serve. In reality, our nation is run by big special interest groups who fund the two behemoth political parties. Because of this, well-meaning, wet-behind-the-ears politicians enter the fray eager to serve and quickly find out that their hands are tied. They must toe the party line or else. If a politician dares to stand up for anything outside the acceptable platform of his or her party, the clandestine party leadership–people you and I had no hand in installing–will immediately begin funding the campaign for their replacement. In many areas, red and blue, a politician’s worst fear is not an opponent from the opposing party, it’s displeasing the powers-that-be behind the scenes of their own party machine. As a result, little growth or progress happens in either party. Creativity and ingenuity is stifled and the status quo is assured–just the way the party puppet masters would have it.
It’s time for a radical change.
Imagine a nation where political parties were outlawed and candidates were free to build their own al a carte style platform. No boundaries would exist that would force anyone to hold their nose and sell their soul to some giant-corporate-political-Beelzebub.
The electorate would be freed from the shackles of party loyalty and, without a D or an R next to a politician’s name on a ballot, voters would actually need to do some research on what the prospective candidates actually believe. As it is, we have millions of voters each election who walk in and cast a straight ticket ballot and we have candidates every year who are assumed to believe everything their party stands for, yet, we know that isn’t really the case. Candidates often are not in complete ideological harmony with the platform of the party that supports them, but they have to play the game to get the nomination. It’s all quite dishonest, but we let it go on, year after year.
The biggest problem with eliminating political parties would likely be funding. How could someone afford to fund a campaign without the financial support of a political party? The answer is, it would, by nature, have to be an even playing field. Nobody would be funded by a party, so funding would have to come from grassroots efforts, the way it was intended to be from the beginning. Simply place reasonable but firm limits on the amount of money any candidate can spend and let them work to build their own financial support. If they truly want to serve, then that should be part of the burden of service.
My plan is an unrealistic pipe dream, that’s what I can hear you saying. Maybe it is, but most amendments to the Constitution likely started out as someone’s pipe dream.
As I see it, continuing down the same political road in our two party system is a dead end. We have reached the point of no return. The time is ripe–let’s get rid of political parties and set this nation on a new path, the path our founders envisioned from the beginning.