How Many Parties?

I just wanted to take the opportunity on this July 4th, 2022 to say that the United States of America is not now, nor has it ever been, a “two-party system.” (Quick note to pedants; yes, there must have been a time when only two parties existed but that was only because, when counting from zero, one cannot properly count “three” until one has counted “two.”) When the country was founded, the young and idealistic founders decided we could do without parties at all. That was their original vision and they set up the original Constitution accordingly.

Madison even wrote in Federalist 10 that parties developed from political factions – groups of people who wanted to advance some political agenda and called political parties “mischiefs of faction.” Madison worried that a large majority might seize control of the government. (It apparently never crossed his mind that a cheating minority like today’s Republicans might do the same…)

The Founders having taken their bold stance against political parties, Alexander Hamilton then formed the very first political party, the Federalists, in 1789, followed quickly by Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican party (in no way related to today’s GOP). So much for that plan. After that, parties came and went – and there have been a LOT of them.

Right now in this once great nation, there are many parties. Sure, there are Democrats and the Republicans but there are also the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, The American Independent Party, and even a Communist Party. In truth, that’s only a small fraction of the total number of political parties trying to gain a foothold in this once-great nation today. And why are those other parties struggling to gain a foothold? Because two of our political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, have rigged the system to gain such a stranglehold on the American electorate, many Americans don’t even know other parties exist!

It’s actually a fairly new phenomenon, though, “new” depends on how you see the 20th century. My favorite story illustrating the control of the two dominant parties is this: Theodore Roosevelt was the President from 1901 – 1909. (He ascended to the Presidency when McKinley was assassinated.) He was with Lincoln’s Republican party, the liberals of their day. He chose not to run in 1908, preferring to back William Howard Taft. But Taft wasn’t as progressive as Roosevelt had thought he would be and so Roosevelt decided to run again as the Republican Party nominee in 1912. Unfortunately for him, the Taft machine pushed Roosevelt aside. (Hey, this sounds familiar…) This irritated Roosevelt who went out and formed the Progressive Party, better known as the “Bull Moose Party.” Roosevelt and his Progressive Party appeared on the ballot in every state. Hell, he nearly won. (He and Taft split the progressive vote and the conservative, Democrat Woodrow Wilson, took over.)

The point I’m after, though, is that Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party in 1912 and appeared on the ballot in EVERY state in 1912. Contrast that with, say, the Green Party. The Green Party was formed in 1984. In 2016, the Green Party affirmed their candidate, Jill Stein, had qualified for the ballot in only 45 states. Roosevelt formed his party, ran on the ticket, and appeared on the ballot in every state in the same year. The Greens have been working for ballot access for 32 years and STILL can’t get on in every state. Do you know why? Because Democrats and Republicans in the state legislatures across the land have imposed “ballot access” rules that, amazingly, bar competing parties from ever getting the chance to even show up.

SO…every time some American repeats the fraudulent phrase, “Two-party system,” what they’re REALLY saying is that two of our many parties have a vice-like grip on the American electorate and American citizens are “free” to “choose” between whichever corporate candidate the parties foist on us. “Hmm, let’s see. Tweedledum or Tweedledee? Tweedledee or Tweedledum?” (I do not pretend that the two candidates are “the same” but the results certainly are the same…)

Democrats and Republicans worked together to shut out opposition but now the Republicans are taking the next step and, in state after state, they’re working to eliminate as much Democratic participation as they can. (Suddenly, Democrats find such manipulations quite unfair…) Very soon I expect we’ll hear the youngest Americans repeating the mantra – as though that’s the way it’s always been – that “Everyone knows America is a One-party system and if you don’t vote for the one, true party, you’re throwing your vote away.”

I’ll tell you this: “Olds” will just shake their heads, never even realizing they sound just as stupid when they say the very same words about the pretended “two-party system…”

MyBaconPress wishes you all a very happy, fun, and safe July 4th…