The Two Party System is Obsolete

Joe Trippi has the right idea about the two party system being a goner:

“America’s two political parties may not realize it yet, but in their current form they are nearing obsolescence. As technological advancements continue to bring more and better tools for communication, citizens are increasingly empowered to come together in common purpose and reject the current political system that seems designed by the two parties to keep us apart.”

But I really doubt it’s going to be his Unity08 idea (a fusion of existing moderates and independents that neither side can feel very strongly for).

Democrats and Republicans might as well start counting the moments until they are both thrown from office and a truly non-partisan approach to politics comes to life via the Internet. I’d say the Libertarians as a big-L movement are in a similar conundrum, but being that they’ve never been entrenched in any specific long-term strategy it’s a different reaction.

But yes, the idea of parties is obsolete, but their underlying ideologies will hopefully transform them into something more palatable and less politically polarized than the current culture of hate-spewing polemics. We need more open and rational debate on political viewpoints and less knee-jerking from all sides.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. I’m not sure that parties as a whole will ever be obsolete, but the two-party system certainly is – it’s a vestige of days gone long by.

  2. Given the Internet, the two party system should be obsolete, but it’s going to take a long time for that system to wither away. Especially when you consider the fact that the only people with the authority to change how politicians are elected are part of that system.

    When there is no longer free media coverage of the two major political conventions, we’ll have turned the corner.

  3. Trippi’s running John Hall’s campaign just to our south in NY’s 19th. We even share a county (Dutchess). Funny thing though, there’s only two parties running in the 19th.

    Even if the Dems & GOP dropped to say 35% & 20% respectively, the presumably 45% of Independents would still only get two choices at the ballot box.

    Our campaign runs a blog, does video and even has some money, but we’re the only LP CD effort in the entire upstate area. Other parties simply jump on the majors and endorse their candidates.

    How does a blog, video and any other technology reduce the two parties with those type of external and historical factors ? With any luck we’ll come across Joe somewhere in the Catskills and I’ll ask him just these questions. Maybe we’ll all wake up after 30 years in an unrecognizable political landscape.

  4. Unity08 is not an idea of mine — nor do I support or oppose those that are trying to launch it. I was asked to comment on it’s prospect and essentially said that in a democracy the people would get to decide if something like Unity08 would succeed or not. But that in any case both parties were obsolete and that a successful Presidential campaign waged outside of the established to party system is no inevitable — a question of when — not if.

    Joe Trippi

  5. Joe,

    I did attend the initial teleconference for Unity08 and we’ve been covering the topic on this site.

    But that in any case both parties were obsolete and that a successful Presidential campaign waged outside of the established to party system is no inevitable ”” a question of when ”” not if.

    Any ideas of how to speed this process along? BTW, your book is required reading for one of my campaign management courses.

  6. Here is where the parties stand on the issues on the Nolan Chart:

    We have democrats; left/centrist/authoritarian area (50% personal, 20% economic)

    We have republicans; right/centrist/authoritarian area (20% personal, 50% economic)

    The big hole is where the LP Platform should be; centrist/libertarian area (65% personal, 65% economic)

    If the LP designs a Platform inclusive to those who are 65% libertarian, the LP will control a majority of the area on the Nolan Chart, will win elections, and promote liberty!

  7. I nearly fell off my chair when I saw this
    commentary on PBS about the growing pool of fiscally conservative, socially liberal independent voters in California, which aired tonight.

    Of course, this aired after young children described the proposition on the ballot as providing “free” preschool (clearly not free).

  8. Sandra,

    What you saw is consistent with a Rasmussen Poll:

    13* Which of the following would you prefer– a more active government with more services and higher taxes or a less active government with fewer services and lower taxes?

    35% More active government
    51% Less active government
    14% Not sure

    National Opinion Survey of 500 Adults
    Conducted May 23, 2004
    Margin of Sampling Error +/- 4.5 percentage points

    Rasmussen Reports
    PO Box 296
    Ocean Grove, NJ 07756

    The poll was commissioned by Aaron Russo:

    not all the poll questions have been published online, to my knowledge.

  9. So where does all this leave us Libertarians Party people?
    Liberty magazine has an article by R. Kenneth Lindell, a Republican in the Maine House of Representatives, who was at one time a member of the LP and who was on the LNC. Mr Lindell says he left the LP because of the squabbling on the LNC “over who should attend its conventions or what staff members should be hired or fired”.
    How do we get out of the hole we are in and are we prepared if the two party system fails? ( I doubt it ).
    I think Tom Knapp has the piece online at RRND. I just have the magazine.

  10. Favorite sentence:

    Taking a stand can sometimes feel as fulfilling as merely deferring action: it feels empty. Seldom is anything accomplished by either of those two strategies. But trying to make a difference can actually work. It involves negotiation and compromise, but compromise need not imply a compromise of principle. To return to David Brudnoy’s analogy: it is about getting more people on the train and moving it closer to the libertarian ideal, or at least stopping the train from slipping too far backwards.

    yeah, thats it.

  11. The best way to fix the problems in the LP, Michael, is to get elected as a Libertarian. Elected officials with the (L) banner in higher and higher offices will be able to influence things. Just think of it this way — would the LNC political infighting go up against its only elected Congressman, Senator, governor, etc.?

    Imagine the backlash if, after putting an (L) in such a high office, the party jeopardized its status by continuing the same old stuff.

    I’m as big an LP voter as they come, but I think the best thing to do is de-emphasize the national party (except as a PR vehicle for the web site and a national voice in national issues) and focus things locally on autonamous organizations which can win elections. The more the LP is a grassroots, locally-focused organization with the LNC as a national voice, the more successful we’ll be. National control with a centralized office is a recipe for continued electoral disappointment.

  12. Running for political office has its own set of problems. More so if you happen to win. I’m not at all inclined to run for any office, as I don’t want the power and control over others’ lives which would inevitably result.

  13. Mine was a rhetorical question more than anything else, but I think the point that is made in the article is important especially since we have a convention coming up.
    Maybe we need to ask some hard questions of the candidates for the LNC.

  14. Will everyone please wake up. Unity08 is an insidious idea to maintain the status quo two-party duopoly and block the creation of a much needed new third party that can win elections by appealing to millions of Americans accross the left-right political spectrum who are rightfully disgusted with both Democrats and Republicans.