How to break the two-party hold on American politics

The American system, really in a lot of ways, discourages participation. Elections for Congress in the United States are based on a plurality winner system where you live in one district. Candidates from two or more parties go run in that district, and then whoever gets the most votes wins. Right now many of our maps are incredibly disproportional and in a state like North Carolina Democrats got 47% of the vote but Republicans have over two-thirds of the seats. Meanwhile most of us end up living in congressional districts that aren’t competitive. where often the opposition party doesn’t run a candidate at all. We end up focusing on a handful of swing seats that happen to be narrowly balanced. There’s a very strong incentive to vote for one of the two major parties because people don’t want to waste their vote by supporting a third party with no chance of winning. When you have 330 million people and two parties trying to represent them lots of people inevitably are gonna feel left out. You have incredible levels now in the United States of dissatisfaction with the political parties. Americans should think more seriously about switching from our current electoral system to one of any number of more proportional alternatives that could solve a lot of problems that exist in American voting today. In a party list system, it’s very simple. Everybody in the state they would go to the voting booth and they would vote for a party that they like best. And then at the end we would see how many votes did each party get and if you got 25 or 30 or 40 percent of the vote that’s how many seats you would get. And then the seats would be filled by just sort of running down a list that party leaders had made for themselves. Israel, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany and New Zealand all used variations on this system and as a result voters have lots of choices when it comes to finding a party that represents their interests. And voter turnout in these countries is much higher than in the United States. Another popular system is called an alternative vote system. You show up and you have to rank a whole bunch of candidates in order of preference. A constituency will elect a whole bunch of different members as individuals. But it’s still gonna work out that if 40% of people were for Democrats, they’ll end up with 40% of the seats. This is how legislators get elected in Australia and Ireland and there too you see lots of political parties. In the American system, a loss is a loss. So Republicans don’t really put resources into House races in Massachusetts and Democrats pretty much ignore a place like Alabama. But in a proportional system, both parties would need to fight everywhere. Then they would need to try to engage citizens everywhere. There’s no constitutional requirement in the United States that everybody use this district based system. Most states could adopt elements of a proportional system if they wanted to. Sure, the connection between a specific place and a specific legislator would weaken a bit. But it would also solve the problems of gerrymandered districts and break the two-party hold on our political system. You would get a wider range of views represented. You would get a wider range of talents involved in the system. And you have more people feeling that they’re represented.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. I think that it's important to make a distinction here. When we make blanket statements (I'm guilty too) such as, "Both Parties are the Same," or, "Both Parties are Working Together," we're really just cutting off our noses to spite our faces. As rhetorical as it is and as frustrating as it may be, the strategic concept of voting for the "lesser evil" has always been literally the only option when it comes to "voting." It's certainly not just an "American" thing, and it doesn't necessarily mean that you're a "low information voter" either. That's just the way the cookie crumbles in any so-called "democracy." After all, power attracts "evil people." Predicaments like voting are when our God-given talent of "compromise" is supposed to be utilized. Now, let's analyze where our political landscape stands today. Yes, there are plenty of evil politicians within the GOP. That's just to be expected in ANY political party. However, many of them are what we refer to as "RINO's" (i.e., Leftist Progressive Moles, e.g., John McCain). But nonetheless, when compared to the Democrat party, the GOP is clearly the "lesser evil." Which should be a no-brainer, considering the fact that the Democrat party has become 100% corrupt, 100% evil and 100% anti-American.

  2. You can break the system by building a third party from the ground up, vote for Greens etc. for town council, build a grass roots. Work up. In time it will happen

  3. Seems to have been a mistake in the Political Party logos for the Republic of Ireland. You have the SDLP logo included there but they're a part in Northern Ireland not the Republic.

  4. Oh yeah, replace representatives connected with their district with a big list of friends of a party leader. SEE NO PROBLEMS HERE

  5. If your have a proportional representational system, congressmen and women aren't held responsible to any constituency. Candidates kiss up to party bosses to be chosen as one of the party's seats. And yeah, other countries have this system, but they are countries with parliamentary style legislatures where coalitions form to chose the executive. Once their parliament passes a bill, it becomes law, no need for a president's signature. Now imagine in the US a legislature where no party has over 40% of the seats, and the legislature didn't agree on the executive. That would make for serious conflict in DC.

  6. Eliminate the party system all together. Let labels arise from how the people describe them, they only talk about their policy.

  7. I agree with everything this video said. Including the issue they mentioned about a proportional system createding a disconnect between legislators and regions.

    It is a valid concern because create a situation where politicians are even more out of touch with the American people, if that's even possible.

    So, I think our best bet might be a hybrid system with half of the seats being elected through a proportional system and the other half the way we've always done.

  8. ACTUALLY this is a problem that could really be resolved. We're intended to have fat more representatives than we have. Unfortunately, congress passed a bill to eliminate growing seats with the population. We're left with dysfunctional almost regulations everywhere.

  9. I don't think we need parties at all. Vote for the person not the party. The problem with party system it can force elected officials to choose between what the party wants and what their voters want. Elect people not parties is my suggestion

  10. America's guided democracy where your opinion does not matter.
    ***you can still enjoy your delusion of freedom of choice thought.

  11. New Zealand's system isn't really like that. There are two main parties, Labour and National, but they form "Coalitions" with smaller parties, which means that the smaller parties get the choice. Our last election, we literally had one guy who got to choose who won based on who he formed a coalition with.

  12. HOW?! We all know we need this. We also need campaign finance reform. HOW?! Are ther any active organizations in the US that are focusing on this?

  13. In my opinion, both Democrats and Republicans dont entirely care about America anymore, they only choose to push forward their side of the political agenda. Supporters from both sides and their leaders act childish aswell with "whataboutisms" and "he-did she-did" tactics not to make valid arguments, but to place blame upon the other party

  14. It really helps if you elect someone who knows what they're doing and isn't famous for going bankrupt multiple times but that's just my thoughts on the situation!

  15. Hi, I am from Amsterdam, and I am just curious if it is even possible for voters to change the voting system? It looks like the parties wouldn't have incentives to change the system because they seem to benefit from it… and that seems to me like a major flaw. Maybe I dont understand it correctly so is there someone would could clarify this for me?

  16. There are some issues with this video.

    1) It oversimplifies how party list elections work by just saying you get exactly a proportionate number of seats (25% of the vote, 25% of the seats) which is not at all how it works.

    2) It compares Israel (pure party list) with Germany (Mixed-Member Proportional)

    3) It directly compares Australia with Ireland, which is a bit misleading. Australia is 100% a two party system in the same vein that canada and the UK are. They have others that gain some seats but are heavily dominated by two major parties. Ireland is mostly dominated by two parties, but requires coalitions basically all the time due to having a proportional-ish voting system. While Australia's government is technically coalition, national and liberal basically run as one party

    and in fact, Australia is the perfect case study of the flaws of IRV and the benefits of STV

    The overall idea is right, but it's a bit misleading.

  17. India already has a multi party system where voters vote for 1 constituency – an MP. The party with a simple majority of MP's in Parliament forms the government. Coalitions are also frequent because the vote itself is divided on lines of religion, caste, region, language, class. So parties like the SP, BSP, RJD, are popular in northern states like UP, Bihar while parties like the DMK, JDS, TRS, YSRCP, TDP etc are popular in southern states. BJP popular with upper class, upper caste urban Hindu voters. Congress with Muslims, Dalits, farmers, liberals. Rare for a single party to form a majority on its own. And coalitions lead to compromises and slower pace of reforms.

  18. This system would be so much better, but republicans and democrats alike would never allow this system as they would lose their power.

  19. The United States political system needs to be less partisan, not more. In this system, political corporations would have the power to control whom the people could vote for.

  20. I think we should start voting independent because after the 2016 republican and Democratic candidates we won't see a lot of good red or blue candidates our best option is voting for a third party

  21. With Mixed-Member Proportional Representation, there could still be a congressman bound to the district, these direct-elected congressman would be elected the same way it is done now in the US, but there would also be a second/party vote on the ballot where one could vote for a party. Half of the seats would be filled by the direct-elected congressman and the other half would be filled in a manner so that the result of the national party vote would represent the compilation of congress. So, every district would have a congressman, but the house seats would still be proportional to the party vote.

  22. If you want to keep local elections halve the amount of districts. Go through it normally. Then you take the half seats you cut off and assign them proportionally so Congress lines up to the national vote. Also just get rid of the senate. Or at least give them little say in legislation.

  23. Totally agree. If this was the case, the presidential race would of been between Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Darrell Castle.

  24. While I would like a switch to a more proportional system. The problem is With a closed list system like isreal and south africa, usually you don't control who is on the list and in some cases who you are voting for. Open list systems get messy and there is often ties. I think a limited/block voting would be the best for house of repersentives (if >10 vote for how many repersentives there are, or <10 vote for 10 of your favorite canidates) and instant runoff voting for Senate. That way there are third parties represented, but independent are represented and government formation is easier.

  25. I'm very against the two party syestem but I don't see how stepping away from the electoral college will change this

  26. Either way, the Two Party Dictatorship system the US has is the best system out there because it's 2 sides of the same coin.

  27. I don't like Republicans or Democrats that's why I never vote. Millennials like me are fed up with the 2 party system and want more political parties to choose from. The problem is Republicans and Democrats are greedy and power hungry and shut down any opposition political movements. Back in November of 2018 Democrats used their federal judges to remove the Green party off the ballot in Montana and dozens of States. The Republicans do the same as well. So the question I want to ask is how do we millennials get a 3rd political party in power? If the Republicans and Democrats use federal judges to remove us off ballots?

  28. Petition the president to add our right to vote during the 2020 elections for Overseers. Ten intellectuals from each state, intellectuals in constitutional law, given the highest authority and security clearance. They will be joined by our chief justices to look at how congress failed its people and country. They will review all agencies and depts. They will be written into history as modern day forefathers.

  29. If you live in Washington State this organization – – has two bills in the state legislature to use ranked choice voting.

  30. Here's one fix, institute run off elections. It's not fair that any candidate can win with less than 50% of the vote so if in a general election, the top 2 candidates face off in a run off election if the top candidate doesn't receives 50+1 of the vote. That would encourage 3rd party candidates because you aren't wasting your vote in "1st round" and the likelihood that if in a runoff that the 2 candidates would be similar are low.

  31. Electoral College Idea:

    You must win 50% + 1 (clear majority) to win ALL electoral votes. If no candidate reaches that, all electoral votes are awarded proportionally. Just getting 49% in a swing state like Florida should not be enough to win all electoral votes. You can use Rank Choice procedure when a candidate does not receive 270 electoral votes.

  32. How to break hold on two party system. Let every candidate WIN. Then each candidate has the power of the people who voted for them to put for or against a bill. Every bill will have a different amount of votes pasing it or defeating it basedon whicd legislators cast their votes. And for the executive branch use RANGE SCORE voting.

  33. No need to complicate things so much just make President is not elected by the Electoral Collage instead make them hold majority in House of Representatives. And if President loose confidence vote they must resign.

  34. Australia is still kind of a three party majority with labor (centre left)having roughly half and liberal and national alliance (centre right)with roughly half with other small party’s scatter in like the greens ( far left) and one nation and Australia united ( far right)

  35. I saw the One Nation symbol representing Australia – is this what the rest of the world thinks of us? Because that's just North Queensland.

  36. The Canadian parliament has about 5 parties I think = Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green, Block. If a party gets 51% of the seat they have a majority government. But sometimes if no parts get 51% it forces parties to work together in a minority government. Maybe you don't need to change how people get elected, but the entire system of government.

  37. I am swedish and I absolutely hate or parlamential system. First things first in 2018 it was very tight between the Redgreen block and the Blue blocks. The election ended up 40 and 41%. There is also a third party a nationalistic party that no one really want's to cooporate with. The thing is in our we had our election in semtember but we received a new government in January because two parties in the blue block decided to cooporate with the red socialdemocrats. What I else don't like about our system is that it's very hard for politicians to get new laws and suggestions through because in the voting there is no majority so we never get things done here in Sweden. Another thing is that a party with only 4,3 percent sits in the government but they have so much influence on the country which isn't really democratic according to me.

  38. In my personal wardrobe I can either choose to wear a beach thong or Full length Eskimo style parka.Those are my only outfit choices. EVERY DAY. If choosing between only the two choices of my wardrobe make sense then so does our political system. Actually I HATE this. Why do we have to have this stupid first past the post system?

  39. Lists are an offence to democracy, members of parliament being elected by parties and not by people is way undemocratic

  40. Australia might as well have 2 political parties labor (equivalent of Democrat) and liberal (equivalent of Republican)
    No one else ever gets voted in

  41. After the Trump gets voted out, we need to dissolve both political parties.

  42. If this reform is made, you would have to abolish the electoral college. Imagine, if you will:
    Constitutional Amendment passed, America transition to an MMP voting system (used in Germany and New Zealand, a mix of proportional and local). There are now 6 parties:
    Democrat (Joe Biden)
    Socialist (Bernie Sanders)
    Green (some politician)
    Republican (some moderate politician)
    America First (Donald Trump)
    Libertarian (some libertarian)

    Electoral college results (examples):
    Democrats 123
    Socialists 100
    Greens 53
    Republicans 110
    America First 110
    Libertarians 95

    No one reached an absolute majority in the electoral college, now the house gets to pick the president, voting as 50 states, most votes wins. Also for the sake of the example, we'll assume that the Republicans won the most states. Now they have the presidency even though they didn't get the most votes in the electoral college or at the popular vote. This is just an isolated example, but over time the president would eventually become a de facto Prime Minister and the USA a Parliamrntary Republic de facto. Whatever you think of the electoral college, if more than two candidates run it can be horrendous.

  43. District plan we talked about this in American government maybe we should make a change, after all the country can become better just like any person, working on becoming the best you possible, and the government should work on becoming the best government possible America is diverse and always changing.

  44. A legitimate third party rising up in the US would only create more dissatisfied voters. You'd literally be able to win the presidency with 35% of the popular vote, leaving 65% of voters dissatisfied. We actually did see a situation like this in 1912. 58% of voters voted for one of the Republican candidates, but we ended up with a Dem president because the Republican vote was split down the middle.

  45. 2:10 Ireland has something called "Single Transferable Vote" which has multimember districting. AV gets rid of the spoiler effect, but it means nothing if you don't have multimember districting.

  46. After a bachelor's in political science I've concluded that there can only be a two party system…hear me out! Germany has around 13 political parties. No one party wins a 50% majority so similar parties are forced to join and create a coalition to gain a majority. The other parties left out of the group form the anti-coalition. So at the end of the day you have a two party system. The US just skips the coalition formation. In any traditional competition there are two parties. The winner and loser.

  47. My country has 6 relevant party’s (currently) and that’s not even nearly enough to represent everyone’s opinion. I couldn’t imagine having to chose just between 2 party’s. Of course most people in the us won’t feel represented because they simply aren’t.

  48. Germany's system is the best because you vote once for your local representative, once for the party you feel "best represents you". So if we adopted it, you still have the American tradition of a local representative, and the legislature would better represent us.

  49. I live in Switzerland and we have a direct democracy. The people here have much to say (especially if you consider the small size of our country): After 4 years we vote the parliament of our country and the parliament of the country part where we live. The parliament then votes the government, which contains 7 persons. Each of these 7 persons is responsible for one department. Additionally we can make a petition for a referendum if we don't agree with a law change. When enough people sign the petition we can vote for or against the change.
    Everyone of us has the right to create a party if we wanted to, therefore there are many parties. There are however 8 parties, which are powerful and well-known. They pretty much cover every position you could have: There's a right-conservative party, a right-liberal party, two left-liberal parties, a small left-conservative party and three parties in the centre.
    At the end I want to say that I'm really proud of my system and wish more countries would have such a system.

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