Why Are Things so Partisan?

By David Summers | Related entries in Bipartisan, Elections, Independents, News, Partisan Nonsense, Voting

In my previous article (on how you can write-in “None of the Above”, rather than be forced into the choices dictated by the two party system, http://donklephant.com/2012/10/18/you-can-vote-none-of-the-above/), I just noted how the write-in ballot can be used to express one’s dissatisfaction with the current partisan system, without really getting into how & why things came to be so partisan. However, discussions with others leads to me believe that is a question on many people’s minds, so I will take this as an excuse to give a quick opinion on this.

It is known that “first past the post” or “winner take all” electoral systems, were one person who gets the most votes (whether it be a majority or not) wins everything, promote the presence of a two party system. This is known as Duverger’s Law, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_law. For this reason, the United States, with a few exceptions, has had two viable parties throughout its history.

The use of modern demographics and marketing have allowed the parties to tune this effect to high degree. This has gotten to the point where, for example, here in CA both parties cooperate in gerrymandering. The Democrats get a bigger majority and the Republicans, while fewer, have safer districts (and so both sides are safer from any backlash over not being willing to compromise). It seems that preventing any reform to this the only thing they will cooperate on.

Add to this another fact, negative advertising will cause people to be unhappy with the side that puts out the ad, for being negative, but it tears down one’s opponent even more. So, if voters can’t go anywhere else (as is the case in a two party system), it works. Further more, modern marketing has allowed parties to also tune this too a high degree. They both avoid, as much as possible, saying anything that can be can be a target of partisan attacks (which mostly means anything of substance), which trying to attack anything they can. This is one reason why campaigns are so heavily full of “gotcha” charges where each side tries to jump on what they can without really saying anything.

So, in the end, my view is that we need to change the way we elect. There are a number of suggestions. Instant runoff voting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting) is but one of them. Another is a number of proposals for a formal “None of the Above” choice. But, for this election, the thing to do is show just how fed up we are with the current system and show that we don’t want the future to be “business as usual”.


This entry was posted on Friday, October 19th, 2012 and is filed under Bipartisan, Elections, Independents, News, Partisan Nonsense, Voting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Why Are Things so Partisan?”

  1. EndthePain Says:

    We do have a third party.

    Its the communist party of America……..better known as the progressive wing of the Democratic party.

    “Somehow,” Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

    And people like Chu and his philosophy is why there is such partisanship in D.C. No Republican could ever stand behind 2/3 rds of what the progressives believe and are peddling and and the other 1/3 rd is downright dangerous to America’s interests.

    Talk about CRUSHING the middle class. How about 5 dollar per gallon gasoline without…..WITHOUT anything to replace it other then pipe dream battery cars that are 40k a piece and only the RICH can afford.

    The struggling middle class and lower classes are buying USED cars that will have NO BATTERIES to propel them and be forced to pay these exorbitant prices for gasoline to get to work.

    OH WAIT….they can take the train or the bus……….AND SAVE THE PLANET.

    Well the only problem with that is that in about 90 percent of America there IS NO….ZIP….ZERO….NADA trains and buses to get them to work……..so they need a car……a car that will NOT HAVE BATTERIES….because they cant afford these boodoggles….so they will be crushed by high gasoline prices and blame it on the GOP because it could never be the democrats fault.

    Talk about out of touch with reality and Americans….the progressives are about an agenda while pretending……..

    pretending to actually care about the middle class. They do not……only the fools who think they do and support them care but the middle class….. but those real progressive power brokers DO NOT CARE……

    its showing in the polls now….Just like it did for Jimmy Carter…..When Americans finally turned to thoughts of who to vote for Carter plummetted in the polls and we elected Ronald Reagan.

    Voting none of the above is just a desperate way to try and keep this progressive lying administration in office.

    What needs to happen is the good old fashioned Classical Liberals need to rise up and take their party back from the lying communist progressives who have taken over the policy of the party and then you will see the left and the right actually working again to get things done for ALL Americans.

  2. Fuzzy Face Says:

    Changing the way we elect is tough because those in power benefit from the current system. If the other 49 states switched to the style of non-partisan redistricting that Iowa uses, things could be a lot simpler and less rancorous.

    http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Redistricting_in_Iowa

  3. David P. Summers Says:

    Changing the way we elect is tough because those in power benefit from the current system. If the other 49 states switched to the style of non-partisan redistricting that Iowa uses, things could be a lot simpler and less rancorous.

    I favor redistricting reform. I can help. Though personally I think we will need to address the “winner takes all” voting system.

  4. Don Kirk Says:

    The increased partisanship in American politics originates in the 1956 ‘reform’ of the 1926-1956 Progressive Era open primary. Bipartisanship began collapsing as the gerrymander switched to rewarding extremism instead of moderation. Partisanship finally crossed over bipartisanship in 1973, and the growth of partisanship has steadily increased every year since.

    Where this will stop no one knows, but 40 consecutive years of increasing extremism is bound to threaten our open democratic republic sometime.

  5. Nahidul Islam Says:

    Just released NYU study of President Obama and Mitt Romney’s body language shows on a word by word basis what each candidate emphasizes. http://gesturecloud.org

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