16 November 2006

A Small Problem

The biggest problem with our two party system is that we cannot disagree with both parties and get anything done.

Take the recent election. Being fed up with the Republicans does not mean I am giddy at the idea of handing things to the Democrats. I'm willing to bet that I am not the only one who feels this way.

The problem occurs when the leadership of party A stops listening to the people who gave them their jobs. It's very difficult to get rid of an incumbent at the primaries. The national money will not be handed to a challenger at that stage. Then if the challenger bumps the incumbent off the ticket, very little national money will be given to their campaign almost guaranteeing a loss. There have been some prominent exceptions recently, but the rule stands.

So, we hate the incumbent, but can't be rid of it at the primary stage. Next choice, vote for someone else.

That usually works.

Unfortunately, that hands the position to party B for at least a term.

I posit that this is exactly what happened on 07NOV06. The rank and file Republicans either voted for the other guy, or stayed home. Democrats turned out in their normal numbers. The swing went Democrat.

BAM! We have a Democrat Congress.

What this does not indicate: A full-on endorsement of the American people of the Democrat platform. What it probably indicates is that people were rejecting the current incarnation of the Republican party and this was the only way to wake them up and get them to listen.

Which is a damn shitty way to make course corrections.

When you have only two viable parties, you create a situation where the rejection of A is a de facto endorsement of B. And when B acts like the got an endorsement, they tend to get nuked the next cycle.

And I will repeat what others have said, only about half the people who are eligible to vote bother to register. Of those who register, only about half of them bother to vote. The margins are about 51 vs 49% in most of these elections. The winner was decided by about 12.75% of the population. What that means is 87.25% of the electorate DIDN'T vote for the current agenda.

And that always makes me wonder why we bother to listen to what Congress says.

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