We Need More Than Two Parties
The following letter to the editor by Gila County Libertarian Party Secretary/Treasurer Larry Hoffenberg was published in the Payson Roundup on September 18, 2018. The letter was also picked up by the national Libertarian Party and tweeted out to 127,000+ followers on September 19, 2018.
To the Editor:
In response to reader K Meszar’s letter “We need a vibrant two-party system,” the Gila County Libertarian Party strongly disagrees.
The U.S. is literally the only democratic republic around the world with a two-party system. Every other democracy has four to six and more “approved” political parties. For example, Sweden held their elections last week, and members of eight different parties were elected to parliament. eight!
By many measures, the two-party system in the U.S. has been an abject failure over the last 75 or so years. Democrat and Republican politicians, hand in hand, have run up $21 trillion in official national debt plus another $200 trillion in very real but unfunded liabilities.
Democrat and Republican politicians, hand in hand, have led the U.S. into nearly endless unconstitutional undeclared wars (“military actions”) since the end of World War II, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of American armed forces. On and on.
It is not a coincidence that the U.S., with its two-party state, has the lowest voter turnout rate of any democratic country. A lack of choice at the ballot is the primary reason. People vote for “Neither Of The Above” by staying home and not voting at all.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were two of the most disliked and untrustworthy presidential candidates in U.S. history. That in and of itself was enough to discourage thousands of voters in Arizona and millions across the U.S. from voting for state and local candidates as well.
This lack of choice and competition is not an accident. Ballot access laws passed hand in hand by Democrat and Republican politicians require complicated, onerous, and expensive obstacles for candidates of other political parties to overcome just to get on the ballot each election. Due to these obstacles, not a single candidate other than Democrats and Republicans will be on the statewide ballot in Arizona this November.
Of course those same ballot access laws give Democrat and Republican politicians a free pass in terms of essentially zero legal requirements to get on the ballot.
If the media such as the Roundup want to encourage more people to vote and participate in our democracy, you can encourage them to learn that the Democrat and Republican parties are not enshrined anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.
Unbeknownst to many Americans, there are a multitude of other choices for voters: America’s third largest political party, the Libertarian Party. Or the fourth largest party, the Greens. Or the fifth largest party, the Constitution Party. On and on all the way down the line to party No. 76. the good old Prohibition Party.
A truly informed electorate with more than a binary choice of Donkey vs. Elephant is America’s best and most powerful asset.
Secretary, Gila County Libertarian Party