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Reply #72: it is not some corporate conspiracy as to why we have a two party system. [View All]

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expatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #48
72. it is not some corporate conspiracy as to why we have a two party system.
I do not understand the whole premise behind the idea that progressives would somehow be more effective outside the Democratic Party.

Two points:
One: Federally, our electoral system nearly decrees the duopoly of the two party system. Third Party movements arise when there is a sizable constituency that lies unclaimed by either party and they are shorlived until either, because of their size, one of the major parties concedes a few planks in their platform to their cause, or the temporary disturbance in the shifting forces of politics resettles as to the third party constituency is reabsorbed by their former party allegiances. With this said, there are always third parties in this country with a quite marginalized impact that do have but a fleeting (if that) on the body politic.

Multi-Party systems (parliamentary) systems foster multiple parties because you can vote for any ticket you like and the next morning the various parties come to the bargaining table with their percentages of the vote-won and form a coalition government. If we had such a system of course I would be voting for a progressive ticket every time because I would know the more votes such a party got the more bargaining power they'd have in forming the next government.

But we have a winner take all system.

As an example, let's just say for the sake of argument a week before the next election in some country with a parliamentary, multi-party system it was decided (by magical powers that everyone accepted, remember this is just an example) that the party with the most votes would win the ENTIRE government.... there would be no bargaining for who got prime minister, finance minister, labor minister, etc. but rather the party with the most votes got to pick the entire cabinet. In this alternative world, you also gave all the parties a week to either change or withdraw their names from the ballot. What you'd have is a LOT of horse trading all of a sudden. the center-right parties would be all of a sudden be in talks with the conservatives and the conservatives would be willing to talk because god forbid a LEFTIST party got the plurality of votes. Same thing on the left. What you'd have is the alliances being drawn up each alliance trying to keep the plurality edge over other alliances until you got down to two major alliances. Because the leftist party, who'd normally get 10% of the vote and often enjoyed playing the king maker in forming a government with the the center-left party would KNOW that its 10% wouldn't mean SHIT anymore the morning after.

That is why we have a 2-party system. We have to form our coalitions BEFORE general election day... so when do we, as progressives, "go into negotiations" with the centrist elements of our party? That is what primaries are for and that is what messaging is for.

In the rules of DU it says....

"Members are expected to be generally supportive of progressive ideals, and to support Democratic candidates for political office."

So, in short, Democratic Underground is a forum for progressives who accept the premise that the most effective political impact progressives can make in our political system is to simultaneously work for progressive change within the Democratic Party and thereby within the politics of the nation as a whole by working from within the Democratic Party.

In my humble opinion, if you are of the opinion that progressives can no longer be effective within the structure of the Democratic Party and are advocating a breaking of ranks of progressives from the Democratic Party then perhaps, as illustrated by the above excerpt, this forum is not the one for you since you advocate a distancing from the Democratic Party that most assuredly is quite the opposite of "support Democratic candidates for political office."

It is one thing to be vocally and actively supportive of progressive Democratic candidates in the primaries to unseat the centrist-corporatist-conservative Democrats and to debate (many times heatedly) policy points with the centrist-corporatist-conservative policies of the less-progressive elements of our party - we need to do this - it is essential: it is quite another thing, however, to be calling for a break with the Party because of these different constituencies within the party we do not agree with or to threaten abandonment of the party if, i.e. a DLCer is elected to serve as our nominee in 2008. Yes, we need to work our asses off to get the progressive banner in the front of the Democrat's parade but we mustn't leave the parade in protest.

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