We are supposed to be a democracy “of the people, for the people, and by the people.” U.S. lawmakers are all for more competition–just as long as they do not have to compete. This reality is underscored by the incumbency rate of almost 80% in the House and the Senate since 1964, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Democrats and Republicans both have manipulated the redistricting process so that they get to select their voters before the voters have a chance to choose them. This process is most commonly known as gerrymandering, in which both parties try to draw the district boundaries to include areas that are favorable to their candidates, mostly incumbents, while excluding areas that are unfavorable.Therefore, they do not have to worry about serving the people. However, when they do work they pass the legislations without reading the bill as declared by Congressman John Conyers. The unintended or perhaps intended consequences are loopholes that Congress spends decades in reforming them while creating more loopholes. A perfect example is our tax laws where the working income is taxed at a higher rate than the non-working income.
The Two-Party monopoly has total control over how the American people view their candidates for president when it comes to presidential debates. For example, during the 2012 debates, both parties mutually agreed to a 21-page memorandum (MOU) on the debates’ rules, which included whether the candidates can ask questions to each other or how high their chairs should be.
The nonpartisan League of Women Voters (LWV) sponsored the presidential debates from 1976 until 1988. However, the LWV refused to participate in response to both campaigns’ demand to control the questions, the composition of the audience, and hall access for press and others as parts of the presidential debate in 1988. Their October 3, 1988 press release states: “The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debate scheduled for mid-October because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”
Thus began the exclusive control of the presidential debates by the Democrats and Republicans in 1988 through the official-sounding name the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). It should be noted that this group is not a government entity but a bipartisan nonprofit, tax-exempt organization represented by two co-chairman, one from each party. With an orchestrated setup like this, and the media’s complicity in accepting such conditions in order to host the debates, third party candidates have virtually no chance of presenting their case to the American public.
Both parties have conditioned the populace in believing that a two-party system is best for the country – perhaps in the 20th century. But we cannot afford to have a 200 year-old two-party model in the 21st century especially when both major parties are focused on dividing the country rather than uniting us. The only way out of this quagmire is to introduce real competition in electing our leaders through a third party that puts the country first before the party.