Two questions to ask of supporters of the two-party system

Every once in awhile the pollsters, who no doubt recognize their outsized voice as megaphone-bearers of American political opinion, ask the American public -- when it's least important -- this big question: "Does the US need a major third party?" This one was back in early 2021:

In the survey released Monday, 62 percent of Americans said the third party was needed, while 33 percent said the two existing major parties do an "adequate" job representing the majority of Americans' political views.

It's the largest percentage of people to say the U.S. needs a third party since Gallup began polling on the question in 2003.

So, yeah, this question was asked in a Gallup poll AFTER a major election, which should give you an idea of how the pollster minds operate. "Hey! I know! Big election's over, next Congressional election in two years, next Presidential election in four years. Let's ask America if it needs a third party, now that it's momentarily safe."

At any rate, two items in the news brought this matter up again, ten months before the two-party midterms. Here's the first, by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti:

So Kamala Harris, Vice-President and thus heir apparent to the Democratic Party's leadership role and likely 2024 candidate for President, has lousy poll numbers and an apparent incapability of doing anything about them.

Meanwhile, there was this interesting little tidbit in Politico, of eight days ago:

Why There's a Civil War in Idaho

There's fun stuff in this piece, but there's also this:

“There’s a civil war in the Idaho Republican Party,” said Idaho Democratic Party chair Fred Cornforth, who recently resigned due to a cancer diagnosis. “There are really three or four parties” under the uneasy Republican umbrella, he explained. “There are the populists — the ones making the most noise — and libertarians, moderates who’ve shifted right of center, meaning they aren’t really moderates any more, and Republicans who don’t recognize their party anymore and will drift over to voting Dem.”

So, yeah, every once in awhile you see little cracks in the Republican Party's facade of unity, amidst a party that is in fact divided. So here's a preliminary question. Is this the growth constituency of the Democratic Party -- people who are so fed up with the Republican Party that they're switching parties? We can already see that, in a period of Democratic Party rule, the polls reveal a Republican Party gaining in party affiliation at the expense of the Democrats. These are disgusted Democratic Party voters showing up in numbers.

Perhaps everyone gets at this point that American politics is dominated by two unpopular parties that nobody is willing to ditch for fear of rule by the "other" party. I don't know; I don't have any statistics to back up such an assertion. Generally, though, it's starting to look irrational to fear rule by the "other" party -- rule by the "other" party is coming whether one likes it or no. Why fear the inevitable?

So here is what you ask supporters of the two-party system: There are core constituencies, composed of voters who identify with a party, and there are swing constituencies, composed of voters who might switch affiliations. 1) Do we really want a political system in which the SWING constituencies are composed of people who are so fed up with one of the parties that they're voting for politicians of the other party out of spite? And 2) do we really want a political system in which the CORE constituencies of both parties are people who vote for politicians of their selected party "no matter what" -- i.e. no matter how empty they are as politicians?

Share
up
17 users have voted.

Comments

Pluto's Republic's picture

...especially in light of the fact that the number of voters registered Independent is larger than either party.

This is one of the inevitable political crises the country faces as democracy continue's to fall apart. Right now, democracy in the US is categorized as an "endangered democracy."

There will be a frenzy of faux adjustments that will be self-canceling in the end. There is now nothing the People can do. So they keep voting and voting. The US population has been damaged by the continuous propaganda and gaslighting. And the general ignorance of the people.

In my view, indirect democracies are beginning to fail the world over.

[edit=typo]

up
12 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

Shahryar's picture

but I've slid off the Dem rolls. I was registered Democratic so I could vote for Bernie in the 2020 primary but it was rigged against him before we, in Oregon, had a chance to vote. Wouldn't have mattered anyway. I'm convinced if Bernie had somehow won the nomination the Dems would have preferred Trump get re-elected and would have sabotaged the campaign, then blamed "the left" for the next 50 years.

In any case, I'm now a "non-affiliated voter". Primary votes don't matter, apparently. Like in Buffalo. Or Connecticut (going back a few years).

The People's Party hasn't taken off at all. One reason (perhaps unimportant but it bugs me) is that if you look at the wikipedia page it seems "Nick Brana" is the focus. "Leader: Nick Brana" and "Nick Brana formed the party..." and "The organization was founded by Nick Brana..." and "In 2017, Brana formed the group...and "People's Party organizers Nick Brana and Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap...".

I won't get into the whole thing here but they need to find a way to grow. For now, to the title of this post, there's one party. Or two if you call them "people in power" and "people who want to be in power".

up
14 users have voted.
usefewersyllables's picture

@Shahryar

that "sliding off their rolls" really worked- but my experience has been that it simply doesn't. If you ever made the mistake of giving the dems money, as I did for years prior to ditching my registration after the primaries in 2016, you'll find that you can never get out of the NGP-VAN database.

Texting "STOP", pressing the unsubscribe button in emails, calling and demanding to be removed, writing letters, having your attorney write letters: none of them work. Looking in my spam folder right now, I see 21 emails that were snagged via the filter for "ngpvan.*", "ngpweb.*", and "myngp.*" since 12/1, almost all from campaigns in states in which I don't reside. And my phone shows 6 SMS messages since Monday of this week, with the same anywhere-but-here distribution. Aah, the joys of being an ex-donor in a swing-ish state...

At this point, the bastards have sold their mailing and phone contact list to so many campaigns, who've sold it to so many other campaigns, who've then probably sold it back to the dems, that you just periodically get reseeded into the morass over and over again. Or at least I seem to. And political campaigns are specifically exempted from the federal do-not-call list (as if that worked for any other spammer).

I made the mistake many years ago of giving them my business-related email and phone number, as well as my home address, back in the days before having disposable email addresses was a thing. Unless I want to scrap what's left of my business and change my email and phone number, I'm stuck with relying on RoboKiller and email spam filters to trash their crap. What an unutterable fool I was. They aren't making any friends.

up
7 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Sima's picture

@Shahryar I have to admit that the focus on Nick Brana bugs me too. But, I dunno, the People's party is at least something to vote for (if possible in your area) to snub the two main parties. On the other hand, what's the point? Do they even pay attention?

up
3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

snoopydawg's picture

It’s the people who aren’t elected who tells the good government what to do. Our government was captured by corporations long ago. People actually know that, but still think that voting is going to change something. Plus there’s the military industrial complex that runs our government for which wars they get to have or not have. And behind everything there’s the banks and mighty hedge funds. Voting for local issues might still work, but not as much as people think it does.

Edited

up
12 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

That could lead to democracy.
Can you imagine if that happened? What a nightmare.

Look the billionaires have this under control. They even allow you to vote for their candidate. Do you really want more than that?

up
9 users have voted.
zed2's picture

Lets face it, the "oligarchs Party" is made up of two fake "Republican" and "Democratic" "parties" which scheme together to destroy the middle class, NOT support it as they both ridiculously claim. When both factions of politicians are joined together against the people, we the people cant win. A good example, is their scheme to outsource all the decent jobs to foreign subcontractors, generating huge profits for the insanely rich owners of international staffing firms that act as brokers or recruiters of workers working often under near slavery conditions under the kafala or sponsorship system. People are often virtual prisoners of the staffing firms abused. This is supposed to be the future of employment in services. (Its likely under the jurisdiction of the WTO not US states or federal government, its the repayment of a debt that magically appeared in the 1990s. This will cheat the foreign workers out of half of their meagre pay while lowering US wages).
See this CRS report which contains a lot of links. But its written in a way which seems to trivialize the risk to US families of losing jobs and careers permanently to large scale outsourcing, a change which experts say could result in the US losing 26% to 40% or more of its professional jobs. Is the intent to invite foreign workers to move here? Many workers on "nonimmigrant" work visas claim credentials in foreign countries that turn out, upon examination, to be fake? (So says one of the cables revealed by Wikileaks, it was an internal USCIS document from the Hyderabad, India counsular office, lamenting a high percentage of fraud (80%) in qualifications claimed in applications for US work visas.) It seems that the alleged surplus of people with STEM degrees maybe overestimated with many claimed to hold such degrees not actually qualified. Its very hard to tell. Hyderabad is claimed by some to be an international human trafficking and "visa fraud hub".

Also, Many claim to have been promised green cards and a path to US citizenship by their companies if they live in the US for long enough legally. The temp workers are called in to replace entire departments. (see the Disney Case) This is supposedly completely legal. The argument is that its much "more efficient" to rent workers from elsewhere than educate them here, and that with fields changing so rapidly the professions are such moving targets. US young people are criticized as having unrealistic expectations of wages and opportunities. So why not simply rent young and hyper-energetic workers from foreign temping firms, pay them the least possible, and expect very long hours, string them along with (false or not) promises of green cards and then ship them home in a few years, to be replaced by younger more energetic workers. A huge PR campaign is pushing the false meme that US workers don't want our jobs and are deliberately destroying the investments of the owners by demanding living wages for what is increasingly dangerous work. Be aware that this is a scam that has been planned since 1986. (during the "Uruguay Round" run up to the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO) (During the Clinton Administration, which claims online in its web pages to have created the WTO.

WTO is also why w4e cannot have affordable public health care. That would be a trade barrier to foreign firms who have instead been promised access to the US healthcare market. It seems the plan is to offshore some kind of subsidized healthcare, likely for the destitute only who cannot afford any kind of healthcare or insurance. (helping more than the absolute minimum is forbidden by WTO rules unless health care in a country is completely free and noncommercial (WTO GATSArticle 1:3 (c) ), not just for the poor. It must be the only healthcare system and it must have been in place before 1995, in other words, pre-existing to qualify for treatment as pre-existing. So Canaidan healthcare is legal, UK style health care (NHS) is not and has to be changed. Europe is a strange case because they have a carve out for "public utilities" so Brexit strips the UK of its ability to have a NHS, as it will no longer be excluded by this carve out as of January 1 of this year. This is apparently their intention from the start (no not qualift as public under the GATS, as they wrote the law that does this, according to somebody who dug deeply into its origin. UK has committed permanently to a for profit health insurance system. something the US likely demands of them and others in our "sphere of influence". We sees as an elimination of an ideological existential threat The proof is conclusive and easy to find. This is probably why the US "Democratic" party is trying so hard to hide the WTO rules involvement in this situation. US mega health care firms such as huge West Coast HMO likely asserts that WTO rules entitle them to manage UK health care due to the UK's WTO commitments. At the same time, a St Louis TV station's discovery that UK firm serco was maintaining a warehouse of workers allegedly "doing nothing" two years ago makes a strong case for GATS being a PRETEXT to create binding legal obligations and test cases to fraudulently bind US health care policy with the collusion of both US parties and huge multinational firms - to steal democratic policy space -all in a scheme to entrap healthcare in both the US and UK within a spiders web of deceit. Accordingly, it seems that Obama gave UK firm Serco a de facto right to block any creation of a public healthcare entity in the US. the Obama Administrations (which wasnt required to do so) hired a foreign firm - creating a ratchet and deliberately trapping us in Obamacare which was actually prohibited by A WTO commitment we had made, a freeze, a "standstill clause" in the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services. Our hiring of serco to manage Obamacare sign ups.proves conclusively an intent to ensnare the US's healthcare future in a binding trap. And it shows bad faith and intent to use sleazy lawyers tricks to artificially prolong the life of an insurance system that is killing 200 poor Americans a day. Using an undemocratic trade deal and crooks. World famous con artists and crooks.

The large scale outsourcing of jobs in the US will enable vast reductions in wages and huge increases in the profits collected by the owners of businesses in services like healthcare, education, construction, energy, administrative services and many others, all skilled workers, undermining the jobs that from the core of the American dream. The people coming to the US to do these jobs are desperate but officially they are non-immigrants. Their visas are issued on the condition that they are temporary workers, here for six years or less, who intend to go back at the end of that time. This way the politicians can claim that the changes they are making do not include any changes in immigration, instead, jobs are being outsourced simply to make them more profitable and replace US workers. Its a word game. What is happening is that the WTO is being given jurisdiction over services and all laws involving the supply of them via export and import. Any US law that has the effect of inhibiting trade in services, even things like minimum wages, can be sanctioned if the WTO demands it. Currently, foreign firms are being asked to pay their workers, like an engineer who their company i-corp wanted to pay $6.50 an hour in Maylasian ringgits (the Maylasian currency). Employees paid into overseas accounts means that it becomes nearly impossible to ascertain what, in fact they are being paid, if anything. Thankfully, The US government determined this was too low for a job sited in Portland, OR. which at the tie had local rules on wages which were significantly higher. Now the minimum legal wage for the US is around $9. hr. However the foreign staffing firms are adamant in their positio that they have a right to pay less. that they have a right, under the WTO services treaty to pay whatever they want, including what they pay workers at home, which can be a fraction of legal US wages. After all they agree to come here to get experience wiorking in the US which has a magical effect on careers. Very low ages is their chief competitive advantage and they must have the right to use it and gain contracts by bidding the lowest. The WTO seems to agree, but has not decided formally yet. The US may have to abolish minimum wages to conform to the WTO rules, or pay sanctions worth the same amount. Hundreds of thousands of workers wages may be directly impacted as outsourcing rises rapidly over the coming years. Be aware that this huge shift is planned and that a huge PR campaign is trying to confuse these guest work non-immigrant visas with immigration and immigrants who Americans are currently favorable towards. This is a crime against immigrants because it is attempting to use good will towards them to effectuate a huge Trojan horse attack on wages of all workers for the oligarchic elite - dictators in the authoritarian bargain countries to prop up an Middle Eastern and ARab world of an "authoritarian bargain" that is falling apart, trading US jobs and wages away to keep repressive governments in power with US jobs which can be used for support of patronage systems. Often these placements involve bribery, an age old system of rule by the powerful around the world, especially in the Middle East, and South Asia.

I should emphasize here that the Indian government and many Indian institutions are trying to curtail fraud and are acting professionally, and that we should try to encourage positive change there. Meaning that legitimate college graduates especially "the best and the brightest" and also honest applicants, should be admitted to the US. But fraud should not be encouraged.

up
3 users have voted.
zed2's picture

or Spiro Agnew, or Dan Quayle? Also we have to realize, the various trade problems we have with India would require large scale changes here to resolve, changes that I doubt if the US is willing or able to make. (loss of millions of high perceived value US jobs that India wants) So, its as if they gave her an impossible task to do, as India is not likely to give up on what they see as their entitlement.

up
2 users have voted.
The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@zed2 That's what I call her; if they had any brains at all, they would realize that not merely is it a situation of "doing that looks bad, but NOT doing it looks worse", but they'd really have NOTHING to lose from letting her go to spend more time vapidly giggling at her family.

Was Quayle really that unpopular? I find it very hard to imagine it's anything less than defamatory to place him on the same shelf as those others. He's "Mr. Potato Head"; Dubya's facade without the monster (or anything else) underneath. It would be like having a King Charles on both sides of the Atlantic.

Getting back to The Hump: What they REALLY ought to be considering is what it'll look like if she, of all conceivable candidates, is the one they send against The Hawaiian Terminator....

up
1 user has voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

So, yeah, this question was asked in a Gallup poll AFTER a major election, which should give you an idea of how the pollster minds operate. "Hey! I know! Big election's over, next Congressional election in two years, next Presidential election in four years. Let's ask America if it needs a third party, now that it's momentarily safe."

I hope I don't need to tell you I'm with you on their mentality - but hypothetically speaking, when WOULD the right time to ask this be?

As you yourself demonstrate, the schedule is so cramped that any time in the cycle seems to me to be about as "safe" or opportune as any - actually, I'd think the eve of the election would be the "safest" time, since there's NO time. Forming a party takes a while even under the best circumstances.

up
2 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

...the polls reveal a Republican Party gaining in party affiliation at the expense of the Democrats.

I'm interested in seeing this...but NYT, paywall, you understand.

Forgive me if I come off as a nudje, long day.

up
3 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

usefewersyllables's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

maintain a readily accessible database of registered voter data. I know that I've spent quite a bit of time downloading Colorado's database, and trying to demonstrate via readings of the tea leaves the flight of voters from both main parties into unaffiliated status. After 2016, a surprisingly large number of republicans dropped their registrations here. That occurred when the party decided not to bother having caucuses at all, and just to throw their support behind whoever eventually won the nomination. Needless to say, that went over nearly as well as the dems screw-job on Bernie.

I haven't downloaded that data in a while, so that'll be a thing to do sometime soon to see what changes there were after the 2020 debacle (as well as the 2020 adoption of open primaries, which renders party affiliation moot). In any case, unaffiliated far outnumber people registered with either party here.

I voted Green again in 2020, and Howie barely managed to equal the number of votes Kanye West got with his vanity/joke candidacy (on the order of 8000), down from the ~11,000 he eked out in 2016. If the Greens run somebody with more personality than a potted plant, they'll do better- but they are horribly misorganized here. I don't see the People's Party getting much traction, either.

up
2 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

usefewersyllables's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat
I just downloaded the Colorado registered voter stats for 2021 to add to all my archival tea leaves. And I note that since 2019, they have added a table for "Unaffiliated voter preferences". I haven't looked into those numbers before, and I have no idea how they generated them; I'm not aware of any polling. It should be impossible to generate those numbers from actual voting, which is supposedly "secret". But the numbers are there, and they have to come from somewhere. Who knows?

So, for Colorado, the Dec 2021 numbers look like this (active+inactive+prereg), against 4259389 registered voters:

1201865 dem (28%)
1070831 rep (25%)
1905319 unaffiliated (45%)
10372 green (0.24%)

And, if the numbers for "unaffiliated voter preferences" are to be regarded as meaningful, the unaffs will break as follows (they claim to have these numbers for 65383 of the 1905319 unaffiliateds):

38402 dem (59%)
21069 rep (32%)
712 green (1%)

So, Colorado once again looks to be a very bluish purple state. Now, if the goddamned dems would only just listen to their voters (Bernie won the 2020 Super Tuesday primary here by 18 points before they hounded him out of the race)...

Not gonna hold my breath. I'll work up some trend lines over the weekend, but suffice it to say that both major parties are down from their peak registration numbers, and the unaffiliateds are up... Data is from 1/1/2013-12/31/2021, green is unaff, blue is dem, red is rep, purple (that never moves off the bottom line) is Green.
COvoterdata2021.jpg

up
1 user has voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.