(UR) Recently, noted activist and scholar Angela Davis came out in favor of the creation of a Third Party in American Politics. For Davis, this Third Party would be “a party that is grounded in labor, a party that can speak to all of the issues around racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, what is happening in the world.” Despite this suggestion, Davis says that she favors “independent politics” over those of the two major parties, essentially giving two suggestions for how to best restore some confidence and function to the aging and ineffective Two-Party System.
Despite growing concern that a conservative Third Party could spontaneously develop should Trump fail to secure the GOP nomination, the idea of a Third Party is not new. While the idea that American politics might benefit from a third party has been gaining traction recently, it is also historically statistically supported by voters. Amid this growing trend, and as Davis points out, there is also a third option: The growth of independent politics.
Both are problematic given the current realities of democracy in America. The hurdle, some analysts say, stems from the nature of the system itself. Given the “winner take all” electoral process, one writer claims that a two-party reality will always be produced, forcing a newly created third party into coalition governments that will, basically, represent the interests of a second party. Despite this appearing like a possibility, the European example indicates that, at the very least, politicians will not be leashed to the overarching ideologies of only 2 political monoliths. As an added benefit, having a third party would reduce partisan deadlocks that have shut government down in the past.
The effectiveness of more independent politicians, specifically in a presidential race, is also hamstrung by the American political system. As the role of the President is equally weighted to the Congress through presidential veto, an independent president could lead to stalemates with Congress. Because of the way the power of the President and the power of Congress interact, only with a mutual increase in independent politicians within Congress itself could this be a viable alternative.
More independents or a Third Party? Either way, it is important this topic has become a discussion. It is clear the Two Party system is not as effective as it is said to be, and the people are growing tired of it — The People, upon whom democracy is legitimized. Other than going so far as to wholly reshape American political institutions through modifying the constitution, or undertaking the similarly heavy task of introducing proportional representation, both the Third Party option and an increase of independent candidates can occur organically within the Constitution, providing more representation for more citizens.
With more people represented, and politics and politicians less partisan, the conversation of how to best and most fairly reshape American democracy can be extended.
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