Saturday, February 09, 2013

Reasons For Two Party Dominance In America

Revised 3/12/2014

Some time ago I wrote a preview of my treatise on reasons for two party dominance of American politics. What got me thinking about it was the last presidential election.
We had two fairly lame major party candidates- Romney and Obama- facing what should have been a fairly strong contender: Former two- term Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson.

Romney and Obama agreed on fair number of issues, particularly an aggressive U.S. foreign policy. Not only did Johnson oppose aggressive foreign policy, unlike the other two, he was both fiscally conservative and socially tolerant- as are most people in the country.

With a strong record as Governor, he should have been right in there with the main contenders. I didn't expect him to win, but thought he should rightfully place pretty well- at least 5%- although I didn't really expect that, either. I still expected stronger support than he got.

I was particularly surprised to see some people that should be supporting him come out strongly against him. I'd see them in the various news, blog and media forums coming up with any excuse, not only not to support him, but to vote for Romney or Obama instead.

I couldn't understand that. I could see it if it was some of the other past Libertarian Party candidates like Mike Badnarik or even the late Harry Browne, neither of who hadn't even so much served on a city council, but this was a prior two- term Governor labeled by one journalist back in the day as “...the most popular governor in America”.

Why are so many people are devoted to Republicans and Democrats? I decided to write an analysis, thinking it would be something so eye opening and hard hitting that magazines such as Reason and Liberty would be begging to publish it.

Nope. I didn't even come close.

What I ended up with was pretty simple and, if there was a problem with anyone in regards that devotion to Reps and Dems, I suppose it is with me: I'm not one who sees things as black and white and I rarely, if ever, (to a fault, sometimes) follow the crowd. That's why I had such a hard time understanding the lack of support for Gary Johnson.

Basically, it comes down to one thing, although other factors contribute. The main reason is...simplicity.

Simplicity- People want things simple: Good vs. bad, us vs. them, red vs. blue. Most folks, most of the time, don't pay much attention to politics, if at all. Even those that do tend to look at it pretty simply.

That was one of the most frequent comments I read when plugging Johnson in various forums: “Johnson's fine, but I don't want (Obama or Romney) to win”. Or, “Voting for Johnson is just a vote for Obama”, or Romney, depending on who is responding. It's one or the other. That's it.

Heard a gal on the radio last year. She expressed disappointment in both Romney and Obama saying, "This is the first time I'm not voting". Unlike most that chose one or the other, she just wasn't going to vote, despite having a viable third alternative. Same old story: You have two choices, either Rep or Dem.

Simplicity is the main reason. but other aspects could include;

Being part of a crowd- The natural gravitation most people have to be around people and be in a group. Being part of a crowd makes them feel better about themselves and more confident that they’re doing the right thing. 

Third parties certainly have their own crowds, but the average person will take the Rep/Dem crowd of millions over a third party crowd of thousands any day. It supports their feeling of being right. If so many others are in my crowd, I must be doing something right.

Fraternalism- Being part of the crowd comes first, then fraternalism can take over. That’s why you’ll see fraternal Republicans and Democrats stay with their party through thick and thin, sometimes regardless of issues. To some, issues are a very minor consideration, if they’re considered at all. It’s their family and they’re sticking with it.

The Ron Paul Republicans are a good example. Basically crapped on by the main Republican establishment, and despite having serious differences on some issues (foreign policy, for example), many not only stayed with the Republican Party, but even voted for Mitt Romney. They’re Republicans, first and foremost. Issues are secondary, if even that.

I'm sure most of us know people that vote Republican or Democrat every time without even knowing what the issues are.

Pragmatism- Certainly a big player in keeping politics limited to two parties and I'll grudgingly admit understanding the argument. Another common thing you hear when promoting third party candidates:

You’re just wasting your vote”. “There’s no way he can win. “.

Sure, some might say they'd consider a vote for a third party candidate... some other time, but not now. It's always "Maybe someday, but this time it's too important", which some might have been saying for decades.

That's it. Nothing really groundbreaking and I see no sign that anything will change despite all those polls saying how many voters would like to see a credible third party or candidate emerge. It looks like it's Reps vs. Dems for the foreseeable future.

I'm sure some of you want to ask, “So, Fred, gonna stop wasting your vote now and vote for someone who has a chance to actually win?”. Nope. I'll continue voting third party, or not at all. If a decent major candidate emerges in my lifetime I may reconsider. There's been at least one time I had my doubts about voting LP, but I wasn't sorry for voting LP after events unfolded.

You folks can go ahead and vote for someone who has a chance. Even if you win, you likely won't be taking home any prize.


At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justcie" says,

Great thoughts Fred. Personally, the problem is AMERICANS IN GENERAL whom continue to vote the way they do. These Americans are "fuck-ups", suffice to say. Because of "these Americans", the righteous are being victimized.

Anyhow, don't see it getting any better, but much worse it shall become. Alienation is "the Alien Nation".

For many righteous types, it is like the LA former cop/shooter/murderer situation - where INDIVIDUAL SITUATIONS turn victims into the aggressor....."Final Order - People are losing complete faith in the system"....odd thing is though, most still vote for either of the two-party system candidates. What the heck, hipocrisy is prevalent.

One thing which is definately for sure is that no one really cares about another, and this is observed daily with all the abuses government officials and employees, big business, etc... get away with, and the willfully blind eyes merely look away in any community.

It is believed that when fellow citizens turn their backs or back-stab the victim class, they are aiding and abeting the abusers and the future downfall of the U.S.A.. Then, when the shit hits the fan hard, guess what all the victims will more than merely consider (revenge)! A nation of laws we are not, but a nation of deceit we are! It is so easy to see into the future based upon the present. Just consider how many people are supporting the LA former cop assassin? It ain't mind boggling, it is reality because many of these folks have been victimized by rogue cops and other government abusers. What will be interesting is the information no person on the outside yet knows or will ever know. If this shooter was, in fact, abused, then don't ya think "mental disorders" can be caused by actions of others as opposed to genetics? Food for thought because HOJ believes many mental disorders are manifested by the actions of abusers in society (like government officials and employees). Afterall, the mental anguish created by abuse is heavy and burdensome, not to mention other injuries and damages. Plus, it rips people apart from their former desires to be something of value to society and turns people against society. HOJ speaks from experience. - HOJ

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous crmartin said...

most people are fat and happy. they are happy with their toys and lifestyle. few people actually read sufficently to even discuss political views. very few people or even voters even knew who johnson was in the last election.

secondly money determines who wins elections. theis is even true at local levels. if johnson had equal amounts of money he would have still lost by a huge margin because second party money would have run so many negative ads he would have been deemed a kook. the moneyed in this country have to much tied up in the present system to abide a real change.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Charles wrote, "most people are fat and happy. they are happy with their toys and lifestyle.".

And actually, even though many won't admit it, happy with the status quo, despite what polls say.

I actually had considered that under a category or sub- category of "Comfort". I added it, then removed it, added it, then finally left it out just because I started going off on too many tangents to the point I was going off topic. I probably should have left it in and included it under Simplicity. Things are good enough for them so they stay with what they're comfortable with.

As far as money, that's a good point as the two party system is so entrenched and since it is, that's were all the power is. Thus money will follow power.

I'm not sure that was really what I was looking for in regards why Joe and Jill Sixpack seem committed to the system, although it might be considered an aspect along with fraternalism and pragmatism.

At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

Fred, you nailed it....Americans in majority are "off topic", politically, and more and more socially.

It sucks that so many Americans pander because they want the easy lifestyle as best they can attain, but somehow want to deny real problems in our society exist. Well, what happens when shit hits the fan, are people gonna still pander as if nothing is really wrong? Apparantly, it is also about extracting as much sap outta the tree trunk until the tree goes dry. So, until the tree is dry, just act like everything is ok. These types literally don't like to hang-out with realists who may sounbd negative, but the negativity is just the explanation of facts and truths of current day society. - HOJ

At 10:10 AM, Blogger RightWingRocker said...

I voted for the R this time to prove a point. He wasn't going to win regardless of what I did.

Sure enough, he didn't.


At 10:18 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

And what point was that supposed to be?


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