Will the growing dysfunction of America’s two-party political system destroy our collective future? Can we meet the evolving challenges of today’s economic and social landscape with a system that resembles trench warfare?
We begin the 2014 election season bitterly divided by party ideology, while frustrated with government’s failure to develop practical solutions for today’s challenges. As Albert Einstein said, “You cannot solve today’s problems with the same kind of thinking that created them.”
The big parties are the status quo. The status quo of issues, brands, and donors. Polling may lead to a fresh spin on issues, but it does not change the core. Independent and minor-party candidates are typically the most effective in bringing relevant, but under-served, issues to the political discourse. As these issues gain traction, major parties take note and modify their core. Real change comes from the outside.
A common excuse is, “I would vote for a third-party candidate if they could win.” Actually, if we did vote for them they would win.
Instead, we continue to support the dominant two-party system that maintains business as usual; the usual deep-pocket and out-of-state interests that fund our usual suspects. Then we moan that government is broken. Do primitive herd instincts threaten our very survival? Or, are we simply too cheap to invest in a better future?
Make-or-break time for startup candidates is early in the election cycle, when only the usual big-party candidates have money. How many emerging, workable political solutions are swept into the dustbin of history by party dominance and corporate money before they are ever heard? Supporting independent and third-party candidates so their ideas can at least be heard is our best chance to break the stranglehold of “Government as Usual.”
Ben Kuykendall lives in Belgrade.