Ending the Two Party Lock on the US Government

Elections for Congress:

It works like this: every candidate that gets at least one full percentage points of the voters gets the same percentage of seats in the legislature or national congress. Lets look at an example.

There are 435 seats in the US House of Representatives. The results of an election year show that Democrats won 40% of the vote, Republicans won 40% of the vote, and the Outsider Party (our third party) won 20% of the vote. Now the actual seats are split in that the Democrats get 174 seat, same for the Republicans. The Outsider Party gets 87 seats in the House. I’ve done it with these percentages for a reason. Tell me, which party controls the House of Representatives? Remember, like now, the party with the most seats gets to control the House.

Who Is The Majority Party:

No party controls the House of Representatives, yet. It comes down to the Outsider Party. While they only have 87 seats, those seats would give one of the major party’s control. That third party has suddenly become very important. There would be negotiations to get the Outsider Party to side with one of the major parties.

Lets just walk through a couple of steps that have to be accomplished by all three parties immediately after being sworn into office. Each party would have to elect a leader from among those who are elected. Then the negotiations would be among those three. Once negotiations are completed (there would be a Constitutional time limit possibly), the Outsider Party leader goes back and the 87 members vote who to join with. Then the Outsider Party and the chosen major party joins forces and lead with the overwhelming majority. If this sounds familiar, it is. This is how England’s House of Commons works.

Whoa cowboy, don’t get ahead of things! The USA is not going to join back with the British in any way. Our ancestors fought long and hard to give us our freedom and it’s going to stay that way. So, allow me to continue.

What about the Senate you ask? How do we open it for third parties with only two Senators being elected from each state? There is a simple answer to the problem, increase the Senate to three Senators for each state. That brings the Senate to 150 seats. Deciding the ruling party, if no party had an outright majority of seats, would work the same as in the House of Representatives.

Pretty straightforward, no? Wait you say! How are seats figured out if there is, for example, Democrats that captures 39.7%, the Republicans 40%, and the Outsider Party captures 20.3%? In that type of case the full percentage seat goes to the party with the higher tenth of a percent, in this case the Democrats go to 40% and the Outsider Party drops to 20%. Does that work for you? It does for me.

What is Involved in Negotiations:

As I said a five paragraphs back, no party immediately takes control under the example of voting results that I used. I said there would have to be negotiations with the Outsider Party. What’s being negotiated you wonder? There could be a lot of different items. How many committee chairs go to each party. How many of each party are on each committee. How many of the, now, minority party will be on committees.

As to the offices of each chamber, those positions will be determined as they are now in each chamber of Congress. There is essentially no reason to change the process that would accomplish nothing more than to change. This goes for the procedures of each chamber too. If things need modification, then those sitting representatives would do the change, just as they currently do.

How the US President & Vice President are selected:

We come now on how to decide how the President and Vice President of the United States get chosen. Off the top of my head, there are three choices we can decide to use.

  1. Keep the election of those offices as they are now decided, by election. Each party would put forth their candidates and the people would choose.
  2. It could be that the majority of both the House of Representatives and the Senate would choose the President & Vice President for the next four years from within their party (there’s another negotiation topic too).
  3. For the candidates put forward by each party, let the two who gain the most individual votes from both chambers become the US President & Vice President. Plus you could have each set of candidates run as one (which we currently do) or let the candidates run individually for each. Highest vote winner is President and second highest vote winner is Vice President.

The second and third choice would require amending the US Constitution to be put into practice. As for terms of office, that can be as it is now too. House member – 2 years, Pres/Vice Pres – 4 years, Senator – 6 years. I guess you could make changes, but remember that means amending the Constitution. We could drill down and come up with other potential changes some other time (or else this article will never be finished)

What about cabinet and other important posts:

Why should there be any change from the way it is now? Both the States and the Federal government can just keep it as it is. Should some state or the federal government wish change, let it be done by the elected leadership.

What about shifts in the majority:

If, for some reason there is a shift in who the majority is, tough luck. This is where the US Constitution comes in to play. Once set after each two year election cycle, the House and Senate (if necessary) would determine majority party as I laid out above. However, the chosen President & Vice President serve their full term, unless for some reason one, or both, choose to leave office, are impeached & convicted, or in the case of death while in office. The order of succession would remain the same.

Let me be clear, I’m explaining a system that would, hopefully, require very few changes to the US Constitution. Otherwise you can make all the changes you want. I wouldn’t suggest it when first starting out with this new form of government for the United States.

State Legislatures:

This will be quick. A state legislature would operate the same as the new national government. We must work to end the idea that only two party systems govern “we the people.”

Here, in the legislatures you start to get candidates elected. When you have a strong presence in the state, you can either move on to the national scene or wait until the people have been convinced of the viability of the one (or more) third parties.

To get them into the legislature, start with electing candidates to local offices. It’s like building a house, one brick at a time gets cemented into place.

So We Change From Two to Three Parties:

Yes, you might be thinking that we’ve went from a restrictive two party to a restrictive three party system. However, you would be wrong. There could be three, four, five, etc. different parties with members in either congressional chamber. There’s no limit as long as a party gets at least 1% percent of the votes.

If we truly want inclusive government, where many groups who are currently locked out by the two party system, then we change to make that inclusion a reality.

“Dangerous” Parties:

What do we do about “dangerous” parties, like Socialist/Communist parties, or Fascist parties, or any other potential “hate” parties?

The United States does not ban political parties with our form of government, with one exception. The Communist Party of the United States was banned by the Communist Control Act (68 Stat. 775, 50 U.S.C. 841-844), a bill signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1954. Now, the law has been ruled unconstitutional by federal courts, but hasn’t ever been reviewed by the US Supreme Court. There are fundamental flaws in the law and this law has never been enforced.

So, back to what happens if these types of parties are trying to gain seats in the US Congress or a State’s Legislature. Well there are two quick choices that can be made. First, we can change the Constitution to give the powers to Congress to ban parties and make it a criminal offense to be involved in the banned parties. Second, citizens stay active in the exercise not only their voting rights, but their political awareness too.

Otherwise, there should not be any restrictions on political ideologies that become parties in the United States. Look at it this way, those parties that have traditionally been unacceptable to the American populace will at least be out in the open. I find that better than hate ideology groups hiding within some other party. Look at the white supremacist and nationalist ideologies and the party they blend into. Nuff said.

Enacting Legislation:

You might wonder how this new governmental framework would affect the process of enacting legislation. Would the third party be required to vote the same way (for or against) as the party they aligned with to form the government?

It’s a fair question. The short answer is no. Members of each party would vote based on their individual choice, just as happens now. Sure, party leadership would be working to get everyone to fall in line, but members are free to vote their conscience.

Wrapping Up:

This article is to offer one framework to begin with to change the two party system in the United States. It is by no means the only idea that could be offered up for change. This particular idea, likely any idea proposed, will be a lot of work and won’t come into existence overnight.

Any potential third party has to become strong enough to have the ability to compel the Democrat and Republican parties that they no longer have exclusive control over government in the United States. It goes without saying the two parties are going to resist the change any way the can.

If you want change, are you up to the fight it will take?

Until next time,

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