The Evil Party and the Stupid Party
Contrary to popular myth, the Constitution does not enshrine a two-party system. We have, in the past, seen the rise and fall of vairous parties. The fall of the Federalist party in our early history, the rise of the Republican Party thereafter, and, of course, the Know-Nothing Party and the Dixiecrats. However, I think politics has grown beyond the ability of a third party to challenge the dominance of the Democrats and Republicans. The reason for this mainly our winner-take-all elections.
The Constitution does not mandate winner-take-all elections for conrgesscritters. Congressional districts are not mentioned at all in the Constitution. As things stand now, a citizen who does not vote for the winner in his district has little representation in Congress. Letters to one's congresscritter contrary to the critter's Party Line are likely to be ignored. And letters to congresscritters of ones own party, but not in one's district, are also likely to be ignored. (And has anyone ever looked into academy appointments and political contributions?)
A better way would be at-large elections. Virginia, for instance, has 11 seats in Congress. Give each voter 11 votes, to cast any way he wishes. We may spread our votes amoung 11 candidates, or cast all 11 for one candidate, or 3 for one, 2 for another, and 6 for a third. Then some third-party candidates will get elected, and all of us will have the ear of a few congresscritters. (It also avoids all that nasty redistricting.)
But what of the one-seat states? Congress has been locked into 435 seats for a long time. Long ago, there were about 50,000 citizens per congresscritter. Now that is 500,000. Congress needs to expand my a factor of ten. We should have about 4-5 thousand of them. With modern technology, Congress does not have to meet live very often anymore. When they do, they can go to the MCI Center. Meanwhile, the leadership of the enlarged Congress can stay in Washington, and the rank-and-file can stay home with their voters.
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