The reductive intelligence of political parties is essentially anachronistic and undemocratic.
If you take a look at the major political parties, Republican and Democratic, you would think that there were two and only two mindsets in the United States. The Republican: anti-abortion, Christian, pro-business, anti-regulation, anti-tax, pro-gun, anti-science, no government healthcare, free rights except if you’re poor, gay, non-Christian, or liberal, every man for himself. The Democrat: pro-choice, all religions (or no religion) accepted, pro-environment, government regulation for business, pro-consumer, pro-science, pro-arts, for gay marriage and universal health care, everyone participating in a social contract.
Is there no room for the atheist who is a Republican, the gay Republican, or the Republican who worries about climate change? Or the pro-life Democrat, the religious Democrat, the Democrat with a gun collection? Of course there is. I doubt if many voters agree one hundred percent with either party platform, yet as voters we are limited to two rigid world views.
How, in the age of the internet, the age of infinite choice, are we left with these two clunkers? Consumers can choose to view from millions of websites, and demand the same variety of choice in everything from milk to television programming. Youtube is now exploring cable channels that would give viewers the option of specific stations that match their interests: a horse channel, a bridge channel, a tennis channel. But only two viable political parties?
I suppose the idea of political parties is that a group of people with common ideas, working together, has more power than isolated individuals. But when one or more of the parties becomes extremely polarized, it leaves a lot of people with no club to join, no political voice. Polarization disenfranchises voters.
Can we get rid of political parties, and how would it work?
Often just before there is dramatic change in the norm, there is an egregious violation of the norm. Selling religious indulgences birthed the Protestant Reformation. The horrors of Nazi Germany birthed a desire for religious and racial tolerance. Fires on Lake Eerie birthed the environmental movement. All tyrants are eventually overthrown by revolutions. The human spirit will not tolerate gross violation and eventually rebels.
The Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street, and the single digit congressional approval ratings clearly show that change is imminent.
The Super PAC is a last ditch effort by huge money interests (corporations, political lobbies, billionaires) to wrest power from the rest of us. It is grotesque and will be changed, despite the Supreme Court ruling. The solution is obvious: Each voter is allowed one contribution (of a certain amount, say $2,500) per year per candidate. No contributions to parties or PACs. No political lobbies. No exceptions.
Politicians who once were for PACs now realize their political views are now controlled by powerful entities, with which they may not agree. When politicians object to being puppets, PACs will disappear.
Outrageous and illegal voting redistricting, photo ID requirements, limiting voting days are similar gross violations, last ditch power-grabs. Voting should be made easier, not harder. Let us have online voting—from your home computer, your phone, the library, or a voting station. Certainly there are security issues, but if we can pay taxes online, surely we can find a way to make online voting secure.
Yet there has been huge resistance to online voting. I believe it is because the political parties/money making machines are afraid of losing power.
So out with the parties. Take the money out of politics. Limit terms.
But will we then face a new problem—the daunting confusion of too much choice. How does anyone decided on a toothpaste? But not enough choice is undemocratic and intolerable.