Table of Contents
- Chapter 1 – A General Look at the Systemic Suppression Inherent with America’s Two Party System
- The confluence of 3 Historical Movements
- Dumbing Down of America
- Progressives not having a Voice and Third Party Suppression
- Media Suppression of Third Party Voices
- Intraparty Collusion to Suppress Minority Voices
- Third Party Suppression by the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD) and the Presidential Debate
- 7% Difference in Voting between Hillary and Bernie, order but the Candidates Could Not Be More Different
- Lack of Representation of the wide range of views of Americans
- Chapter 2 – A Closer Look at the Other Systemic Issues with Our Electoral System (forthcoming)
- Chapter 3 – Electoral Corruption and Collusion with Hillary 2016 (forthcoming)
- Chapter 4 – My thoughts for Electoral Reform
- Constitutional Amendments
- Financing of Elections
- News and Media Reform
- Voting Reform
- Supporting Electoral Reform
- An inclusive America
- Chapter 5 – In Closing (forthcoming)
I will cover here a many of the issues with the two party system and the suppression that is inherent in it. I will also give some specific examples.
What follows is nowhere near as well written, medicine organized, supported or researched as I would like and this is because of limited time. My time is limited not only because the elections coming up soon, but also because I have a life outside of politics and my blog, so I needed to get this out there sooner than later. Please forgive me. Some of the ideas I cover below in this first chapter I will cover in more detail in the next few chapters (assuming I am able to get them written).
The Historical Movement of the Republican and Democratic Parties to the Right
The Confluence of Three Historical Movements
Historically, in the United States, the Democrats and Republicans year after year, decade after decade, have had a trend of moving more and more to the right. There are a three dominant movements that I will cover here so you will have an idea as to the confluence of which events starting in the 70s that have brought us to the bizarre place we find ourselves:
- The Republicans have always had a slow and steady move to the right, but in recent years the Republican Party has been subverted by the Tea Party which is, at its core, a Libertarian movement that has been infected with the worst of Ayn Randian conservatism and the worst of the fundamentalist religious right and has had the party zag to the far, far lunatic fringe right. For all intents and purposes, the Republican Party no longer exists and is being held hostage by this horrific Koch brothers supported corruption known as the Tea Party.
- Then we have the rise of the Christian right’s televangelists who started working together in the late 70’s and early 80’s the train their followers to run for office to impose their fundamentalist ideologies on the rest of the country through the legislative branch. This has affected the Republican Party more than the Democratic Party since the Republican Party tends to boast being conservative and religious, but the pernicious effect of religion and fear from them has also pulled the Democratic party to the right a bit too, since religious people, a large voting and donating block, become a prime demographic to pander to for votes and money.
- Lastly, we have the Military Industrial Complex’s and the Oil Company’s money and influence through lobbying for arms deals and more war having spent more than $200 million combined last year lobbying the government. Together they are one of the most powerful lobbying groups in America. These two industries and their lobbyists affect the the Democratic Party greatly because they control a tremendous amount of money for reelection campaigns for both parties and hence why we see so many wars for oil, laws against alternative energy, continued support for fossil fuels, and the continuous gutting of the education system. =(
The Dumbing Down of Americans
A powerful result of the confluence of these movements in our government over the past few decades is the eroding of freedoms and our education system by systemically and continuously gutting the education system sliver by sliver. By gutting the education system you create a populace that is easier to control and deceive for they are not trained or educated enough to see through it, nor do they have the education or drive to ask questions that challenge the status quo. People who are not well educated well tend to be conservative, religious, and xenophobic all of which benefit and swell the ranks of support for the above three movements – conservatism, religion, and war. If you have not watched the movie Idiocracy then please do, since this movie may really give you an idea about the pervasive and insidious effects that gutting the education system has on our country now and far into the future. Universities in the United States used to be almost free prior to the Vietnam War protests of the 70s. Can you guess why that has changed? =(
Let me take you down the road of how the effect of gutting of the education system compounds and has affected our political arena over last 40 years. With the religion, conservatism, and the military industrial complex/oil companies gutting the American education system sliver by sliver:
- They are creating an electorate who are less educated and less capable of seeing through deceptions or capable of critical thinking.
- People who are less educated tend to be conservative, religious, and xenophobic (ie bigoted, racist, anti-immigrant and having no problem with engaging in armed conflict to destroy nameless humans labeled as enemies)
- Conservative people tend to join religious communities and conservative movements and organizations.
- Conservative people tend to be easier to control due to lower levels of education and, by virtue of conservative psychology, are more trusting of authority and do what they are told without really questioning, especially when the rhetoric of each movement is fear based which is a powerful motivator that overrides compassion, reason, logic and thought in general.
- Conservative voters tend to vote more due to being pushed by fear based rhetoric by their conservative leaders and the media. This effect is especially powerful during midterm elections which results in more conservative than liberal governors and politicians in office, who are responsible for making laws, which is why midterm elections are super important for the progressive movement.
- Conservatives, who tend to be religious, also tend to have a lot of children which further swells the ranks of those who support these fear based and authority-laden institutions.Because there is an indirect correlation between education level and the number of children per family those who have lower levels of education tend to have move children.
- With parents who have already been drawn into conservatism and conservative religion they tend to pass on such values to their children through authoritarian parenting and religious indoctrination through their church. These children tend to join the ranks of their family’s religion and view and the cycle continues on to their multiple children.
It is a powerful and autocatalytic cycle and the conservative institutions know this well to which they are more than happy to exploit. There is a quote from Aristotle which speaks of the power of indoctrinating children early in order to keep them under control and within this cycle:
“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”
Organizing liberals, on the other hand, tends to be like herding cats since authority and fear are not prime motivators for this demographic. Getting them organized and out to vote in midterms is horribly challenging and this is a powerful place where the American people lose since the liberal voice is not heard. Well educated people tend to be liberal and, as such, are also more easily disaffected because they tend to understand what is happening and may feel hopeless to do anything about it because the conservative voting block is so effective and consistent. Because studies show that there is an indirect correlation between education and number children liberals have fewer children too, which means that the ratio of children raised in conservative families has quickly dwarfed the number of children raised in liberal families.
With the consistency of conservative voters who are easy to sway and control by their authority figures and the lack of voting and organization from liberals, the conservative movements tend to dominate government and public policy. Unfortunately, it takes an incredible amount of horrific things to happen in order to rouse liberal movements and voters to action and this is where the American people lose and the voice of nearly 50% of the electorate gets consistently lost and loses ground year after year as the number of conservatives grow in proportion to the number of liberals especially when it comes to votes. With increasingly fewer children being raised in liberal homes since there are fewer liberal people the trend of society and hence its vocalized values and politics moves to the right as well with no direct method to balance it out until the breaking point is reached, which is somewhere near where we find ourselves now.
However, I have noticed a mitigating factor to the Idiocracy Effect: today’s youth tend to be better informed because of consistent access to the Internet which can expose them to the wider world, different viewpoints, and have instant access to knowledge which can increase their worldview and therefore, hopefully, decrease their fearful and conservative outlooks creating a more tolerant and educated youth. This may be our only hope and a powerful force in the Revolution and the transformation of the future with the hope of returning democracy and peace to the people.
I have written an entire article on Morality vs Religion which is based on an analysis of conservative vs liberal psychology. Please take a gander at this to get a better understanding of its effects on decision making.
Money in Politics and Moving the Democratic Party to the Center
The factor that has drastically affected the Democratic Party the most directly is the power of corporate money, especially with the horrible Citizens United Supreme Court decision which effectively has allowed unlimited personal and private spending in elections because the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations, which are run and operated by people, shall be considered a legal persons with respect to elections, and limiting how much they can spend to influence an election is a violation of the corporate-person’s rights to free speech. Our electoral system runs on corporate money to fund their reelection campaigns so corporate donors and their large cash reserves have a powerful effect on our politicians and their policies – ie no money from corporations or the rich then no reelection for them. There was even a long term Princeton study that stated that our representatives do not care about public opinion unless you are rich (The Young Turk’s coverage). Here it is shown, plain as day, the subversive results of money in politics resulting in the suppression of the will of the people. With unlimited money able to be spent in elections by corporations effectively giving them more of a voice than you or I since we can only cast one vote to have our voice hear, while they may spend millions on lobbying congress and on commercials to influence the public for their candidate.
Progressives not having a Voice and Third Party Suppression
Over the past 40+ years the Democratic Party has steadily moved towards the center due to corporate influence and the dumbing down of the electorate, especially with the effect of the policies and positions of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton who are strong corporatist (and not populist like Bernie Sanders or the Green Party) candidates, so that now there is no real left leaning party like there are in many European countries. The Democratic Party is effectively a centrist party which is ‘infected’ with true liberals and progressives that silently scream against the indifference and corruption, and many are complacent and just shrug their shoulders in response when it all is pointed out feeling like they are just another cog in the corrupt system and that they are helpless to effectuate any real change, to make any real progress. Doing otherwise may mean that lose their job or the party may turn on them.
If we attempt to compensate for the historical rightward movement of our two political parties then Hillary Clinton and the current Democratic Party effectively represents what the Republican Party or conservative movement should be today and Bernie Sanders, The Green Party and the progressive movements represents what the Democratic Party should be in a horribly flawed two-party system – a real left and right, but that is not what we have. We have the far right lunatic fringe with the Tea Party controlled Republican Party and a right-of-center through the Democratic Party with the true left and liberals trying to rage against the two corrupt corporate controlled parties by working within the broken system. As a progressive, when I listen to Romney’s positions from the 90s I think that he may be someone that I might vote for. He seems borderline reasonable, especially when compared to today’s Republican Party and some establishment Democrats. That should show you have far our parties have been pushed to the right when I potentially consider Romney from the 90s as a reasonable candidate in today’s hazardous electoral climate.
For decades the true progressive movement has felt like they do not have a voice, that they are disenfranchised and unheard in the political arena. Bernie’s fiery rise from national obscurity and being catapulted into a real competition with what is perhaps the most powerful political organization in the country, the Clintons, has awakened a powerful longing and raging progressive voice that has us finally feeling like we truly have and deserve a voice, that we must demand a voice, that we must be heard. This awakening that his candidacy has brought has truly stoked a fire in progressives, awakening us from our torpor and has made us realize that we were sleeping and that we must act if we want change. The sleeping dragon of progressive politics has been awakened which means that the political arena will never be the same (until we inevitably grow complacent and have to repeat this horrible cycle after decades of conservative dominance) and that is for the better for our democracy and freedoms must be reclaimed from our corporatist masters found in the Republicans and Democrats.
The Green Party movement has languished in relative obscurity due to suppressive laws making it hard to get on ballots, get access to funding, get access to the debate stage, or hard to have the media to take them seriously. In Europe, which is far more progressive and so very far ahead of us in many, many ways, Bernie and the Green Party are good examples of what a standard liberal or Democratic Party is there and neither are seen as at all radical. The establishment Democratic Party is effectively what the Republican Party should be. The current Republican Party, which has been infected by the far-right lunatic fringe via the terminal festering rot of the Tea Party, should be completely immolated so we can have some level of reason and sanity return to our politics and to our country and to compensate for the insidious effect of the dumbing down of our country of which that party is an abject example of.
With all of this being said it may become somewhat apparent that many, many people might feel somewhat disaffected, voiceless, or disenfranchised with our government and our political process. During this election season, you did not see protests or marches in support of either Hillary or Trump. Many rallies, marches, and protests were formed against them or were for Bernie and the various progressive movements because of the progressive monster that Bernie has awakened and because we realize that we have a real chance to have someone in government who finally speaks for us and represents us. I will modify a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. –
Protests are the language of the unheard. and that is completely correct. Approximately 40% or more of America has been voiceless and not represented in our government for a very, very long time. The tides have turned and the movement has started and we will demand representation not only in our politicians but also in our laws and policies. There are very many good reasons as to why the majority of the populace do not vote and this is one of the powerful reasons. They do not feel they are represented and they feel the system is corrupt to which this election season is showing through the Democratic Party without shame. It is now time for progressives to reclaim our voice and to claim our place at the political table, to finally be heard.
Noam Chomsky – Today’s Democrats are Moderate Republicans So, let’s move on to other things since this fact provides a great segue way into the rest of what challenges our country.
So, let’s move on to other things since this fact provides a great segue way into the rest of what challenges our country.
Media Suppression of Third Party Voices
A powerful factor and effect of the two-party system is the media’s collusion in maintaining the two party narrative by relegating third parties and other dissident movements such as independents, the Green Party, Libertarians, anti-TPP, anti-war, anti-GMO and other grassroots movements to barely footnotes in their coverage. Why would they do this? Because it would hurt their corporate sponsors’ bottom line, of course. The insidious effect of this collusion between the corporations and the media results in the suppression of third parties views and keeps them from the eyes of the American people so that they cannot really take them seriously or even consider voting for them even if this third party more accurately represents their views. Most people do not know about third parties because they do not get anywhere near proportional media coverage which is where most Americans get their electoral and issue information. The people cannot vote for a party that they do not really know about and they cannot be concerned about issues that they do not know about because they are hidden by the media. The media does a great job at marginalizing the voices of third parties, their supporters, and other grassroots movements. The people find it hard to trust a party that the media will not cover because they incorrectly assume that the media must not be biased which is a sad mistake. Sadly, that law was repealed under Reagan. Our news has never been the same and is the primary reason that FOX news is a thing.
As an example: in my specific case, I found out about the Green Party through randomly taking the I side With test which had me saying to myself ‘Who the hell are these people and why did I not know about them?’ which is a crime and had me waste my previous votes to vote for the candidate that really did not represent my views.
Minority voices through third parties are not given anywhere near equal time or consideration in the news, debates, policy considerations, or by the people because these third parties are not controlled by the corporations that own our politicians and, in many cases, are actually responsible for directly writing many bills that go to Congress. There was even a long term Princeton study that stated that our representatives do not care about public opinion unless you are rich (The Young Turk’s coverage). For the corporations, it is far easier and cheaper to control two parties and suppress others through the media than it is to give people a real choice and spend a whole bunch of money trying to mitigate the voices of the many disparate parties who may oppose their agenda. This is how they perpetrate to the people the illusion of choice and being informed.
I will show you two cases from this election so you get the picture:
Bernie Sanders, a lifelong independent had to run as a Democrat to even have a chance to run for the presidency, because in America, if you do not carry one of the two acceptable political labels (Democrat or Republican) then you will never have a chance to win or even have your voice heard, or you will be seen, incorrectly, as a spoiler.
The Green Party and the Libertarian Party have been fighting for years and years to get recognition in media, into the presidential debates, and to get on the state ballots for the general election. Because of the media bias against them they do not have the funds to effectively and properly compete against the corporate sponsored and controlled parties. People who do not know about these third parties or those that think that a vote for them will not count will not consider sending them money even if it is the party that most closely represents their views. Both the Libertarian and Green Parties have even had to file lawsuits (jointly and separately) against states due to overly onerous laws which keeps them from getting on ballots just to have the chance for people have the option to vote for them even if they do not know of them yet. The exclusion of third parties from media representation and from getting on state ballots makes it really difficult for the people to take them seriously, suppresses their political voice, and suppresses people’s votes by denying them an educated and informed vote.
Intra-party Collusion to Suppress Minority Voices
Because there are only really two viable parties that have a chance at winning an election, those candidates whose views may not be directly aligned with either the Republicans or Democrats may have to run within either party just to have a chance to have their voice heard or to even have a chance to win. A poignant case, as mentioned above, is Bernie Sanders, a life-long independent, choosing to run as a Democrat where the party has actively colluded within the party and with the media against him when at all possible. When candidates have to run a campaign within a party that is somewhat closely aligned to their values this can result in the party ignoring them or punishing them for posing views that are different from the party’s mainstream values. Because the person was attempting to work within a party which did not closely align with their values to even have a ‘fair’ chance to compete then their views get lost in the conflict which results in their voice and the voice of the Americans that voted for them or that support them being suppressed. As another very powerful example of this: in the end, Bernie Sanders was blackmailed by threatening to remove him from his valued position on the Congressional Veterans Committee in order to neuter his campaign and to get him to endorse Hillary thereby ending, in all practical terms, his campaign and putting and end to the voice he provided to the progressive movement and those who support him.
How many other times has this happened in history where a candidate has chosen to run within one of the two major parties only to suffer because they were a squeaky wheel that threatened their party’s values and their corporate owners’ control? What happened to Bernie Sanders was not the first time it has ever happened, I can guarantee you that. It will not be the last, either until we fix our horribly broken electoral system.
How different would this election have turned out if Bernie had a mainstream party that he could run with and not have to deal with the suppression and collusion by the Democratic Party or by the media? What if we had at least three mainstream parties running – Democrats, Republicans, and Social-Democrats where each party had somewhat equal economic support, coverage via the media, the public had equal historical knowledge of each party, and they had equal ballot access? How different would this election have been with a three-way race – Trump, Hillary, and Bernie? Unfortunately, we the people have been denied this by the corporations and will never know.
Third Party Suppression by the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD) and the Presidential Debates
Let us also add in the fact that the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD) which controls who is able to appear in the final set of debates between the parties’ chosen presidential nominees is also run by the corporate controlled Democratic and Republican Parties and their lobbyists which arranges the debates with requirements so as to make it very difficult for third parties to gain access further suppressing the voice of Americans, especially when you take into account the pernicious effect of media collusion against them.
Please also consider the following few points: In 2012 the Green Party’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein, was arrested for trying to gain access to the presidential debates in protest for the silencing of third party voices. When was the last time that you saw a candidate from a party other than the Democrats and Republicans participate in an official general election presidential debate? The last time we saw a third party on the presidential debate stage was 24 years ago with Ross Perot in 1992, which was the year I graduated high school and went off to basic training for the Navy.
Most Americans are politically ignorant, bitter, or are just trying to get their bills paid and, for many, their first look into the presidential race is the general election debates, and this is where many will get most of their information and make their choice about who to vote for president. To deny third parties access to this most powerful stage in front of the American people is to suppress their voice, to limit their choices, and being inherently undemocratic.
For your information here is the historical list of the presidential debates as pulled from Wikipedia.
|1960||4||John F. Kennedy||Richard Nixon||—|
|1976||3||Jimmy Carter||Gerald Ford||—|
|1980||3||Jimmy Carter||Ronald Reagan||John B. Anderson|
|1984||2||Walter Mondale||Ronald Reagan||—|
|1988||2||Michael Dukakis||George H. W. Bush||—|
|1992||3||Bill Clinton||George H. W. Bush||Ross Perot|
|1996||2||Bill Clinton||Bob Dole||—|
|2000||3||Al Gore||George W. Bush||—|
|2004||3||John Kerry||George W. Bush||—|
|2008||3||Barack Obama||John McCain||—|
|2012||3||Barack Obama||Mitt Romney||—|
In light of much of what I have said from above, I hope we all understand how misplaced is the rage felt for Ross Perot and Ralph Nader for being ‘spoilers’, right? Spoiler rage is the language of the ignorant. Third party candidates are not the problem. The systemic corruption which works to suppress and vilify third parties and the voices of their constituents is the problem. How are the voices for the disparate people of our country represented here with only two corporate controlled parties? How can this in any way be considered a democracy? How can it be said that the people have a real choice or a voice with just these two parties, when others exist but they are pushed out of the American’s eye and denied the ability to take part in such an important conversation?
If I remember correctly, the CPD also has a clause that says that a candidate may not participate in a debate outside theirs or be barred from further debates further restricting a candidate’s ability to debate others and for them to have access to debate third party candidates even if they wanted to. Because of the exclusion of the third parties from the presidential debates in most years and, with the power and ubiquity of the Internet, the third parties have created their own presidential debate forum through the Free and Equal which was also carried by the independent online news channel named Democracy Now, which, of course, has received basically no media coverage and the American people have no idea that this is even a thing unless you happen to follow independent media. Sadly, this should not have to happen. There should not be a separate forum for third party candidates. They and their current and potential constituents should have a chair at the table of the presidential debates for all to hear, consider, and vote for.
- Hillary and Trump Are Making Sure No 3rd Parties Get To Debate Them (Redacted Tonight)
- Judge Rule Against Third Parties in Debates (The Young Turks)
- Third party candidates face uphill climb to get place on presidential debate stage
- Presidential Debate Issues
- Fair Debates
7% Difference in Voting between Hillary and Bernie?
Part of what is interesting between Hillary’s and Bernie’s voting record is that most often (93% of the time) they voted together. Bernie, even though he is a lifelong independent, even caucuses with the Democrats and is a member of the Progressive Democratic Caucus. What is telling here are those 7% of votes where they differ. Perhaps it is this 7% difference that makes the difference between a corporatist candidate and a populist candidate, which seems like a really fine line to split if that really is the case. Perhaps this number also poses a way that may determine how many different mainstream political parties we should have – 1 for every 7% to try to cover the breadth and depth of the views of the American people. Using that math this makes for 15 (14.28) different parties.
How many of you honestly think that the two parties – the Democrats and the Republicans – honestly and accurately represent the breadth and depth of the views of most Americans – the socialists, anarchists, republicans, democrats, libertarians, communists, pirates, greens, etc? We are definitely doing something wrong if we only really have two carefully controlled corporate choices with other voices being suppressed to not even have real chance to have their voices heard. For these third parties and their constituents to not have their voices heard is to suppress their voice and means that there are many, many Americans who do really have a voice in our government and that is a horrific shame for a country that prides itself on its freedom and its “democracy”. The illusions of democracy and electoral choice are powerful charades perpetuated by the media in collusion with the corporations due to their financial control of our electoral system and the laws that govern it.
Let’s take a look at the number of political parties found in some European countries to see how we compare:
Now, I will not say that having more parties is going to be perfect and solve all of our problems, because it will not, but it will be much, much closer to a truly representative democracy, and better than the oppressive system we have now where the majority of Americans do not have a chair at the table of democracy. This will be a start if we can ever get there.
Lack of Representation of the wide range of Americans’ views
With the historical movement of our two corporate and media supported parties moving to the right due to cutting education, money controlling politics, and very active conservative and religious movements resulting in two parties which represent the center-right and far-right while leaving everyone else without a voice in our government, and then we combine that with media’s suppression of third party candidates and third party suppression in the presidential debates, the result is a government and policy which does not in any way represent the breadth and depth of the views of the American people and is horribly undemocratic. Very few people know about or even would consider third parties which range from Socialist, Green, Libertarian, Communist, Pirate and so on. Currently, the entire left and moderate conservatives do not really have a voice which ends up in suppressing the voices of nearly 60% or more of the population. There is nothing democratic or free about this and it needs to change.
An advantage of a political system which has more than 2 parties, beyond more equal representation which is of the utmost importance in a “democratic” society, is that it requires the various disparate parties to work with each other by forming alliances and issue voting blocks to get things done. It is not just one party and its opposite thwarting each other every chance it gets like we have it now. The two party dynamic has set us back socially, politically and economically many years and has cost us many lives and billions of dollars. Requiring a collection of various disparate parties and viewpoints to work together to promote issues in common should be a fundamental part of a democracy, but it cannot be done with only two parties which are center-right and far, far right corporatist parties. We need more parties. We need more voices. We need a government which more accurately represents the American people not only in values, but in gender, race, sexuality, education, life employment and history. In no way can our two corporate owned parties, which consists of mostly rich white people, accurately represent the breadth and depth of the views of the American people and this is fundamentally undemocratic because the voice of the people is not fairly represented in government and in decision making.
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. ”
How do we get there? That is a good question. Towards the end of this massive series of articles, I will list a bunch of reforms that I will suggest to tackle this issue and many more regarding our electoral system. We must demand an end to the two party system so that everyone in our country has a party that they believe, at least on some substantial level, represents them or speaks for them. We need to demand that this changes so that we the people may be heard. The corporations and politicians who control the two party setup will not just grow a conscience, say they were wrong, and just hand over the government to the people. We need fight for it and to demand it otherwise, nothing will change. Returning the government to the people is what this Revolution is really about and voting for the people who represent the problem will not get us change so we must vote for the candidates that represent our values and the change we want to see. Anything other than that and we are condoning the oppression by our oppressors.