Fixing America - A Proposed Five Party Approach Part III

As discussed yesterday, I believe that a broader assortment of more highly-focused political parties could be a fix to the political gridlock issues plaguing American today. Just how? Today I will run down some of today's hot issues and what I believe would be likely results and will wrap up the short series with some concluding remarks. On the issues:

Abortion: Libertarians, Greens and Democrats would likely form an alliance on this issue, pushing for pro-choice policies.

Gun control: Libertarians, Social Conservatives, and perhaps Republicans and some rural Greens would push for a continuance of loose gun control policy.

Taxes on big business: It is likely that Greens and Democrats would push hard for higher taxes on large corporations; other support would likely depend on just what‘big’ was defined as.

Taxes on small business: Republicans would likely lead a coalition of many of the others on low taxes for small business, particularly inftaxes on big business rose.

Taxes on individuals: It is likely that individual taxes would remain low on most individuals on broad-based support. However, I could imagine taxes on dividends and high-income earners rising on strength of a Democrat/Green/Social Conservative coalition.

Privacy: The privacy of individuals would likely be strengthened with Democrats, Libertarians and perhaps Social Conservatives joining forces.

Gay rights: I believe that gay rights would be strengthened due to Libertarian/Green/Democrat support of the issue.

Business regulation: Would likely fall somewhere between the de-regulation Republicans and some Libertarians would strongly push for and a more is better approach which Greens and Democrats would support. In short, financial institutions would be watched for bad behavior, thus (hopefully) avoiding socially and fiscally costly crashes and bubbles while not stifling business.

To be clear, not all of the above results are optimal in my opinion. However, on the whole, that is an America I could be very happy living in. I think a majority of Americans, once the current ideological anchors to one-party-or-the-other-but-nothing-else disappeared, might agree. Put another way, many of these issues remain unsettled now despite majority agreement simply because people are so quick to refute an idea just because the ‘other party’ supports it. However under a multi-party approach, such prima facie objections would be alleviated and real work could get done.

The concepts I put forward in this three-parter are certainly open to objections and criticism, including by those who may agree in theory but disagree that they are possible as a practical matter. However, even with the air-tight grip the Big Two parties have on the system, recent times have shown us that different voices can make themselves heard.

Though the Occupiers didn't ever quite get things together on the execution front, they were able to give voice to many who felt let down by the system. Even better evidence is provided by the Tea Partiers, who, albeit through integration with the establishment, were able to go a step further than merely voicing their concerns. I think a multi-party approach would be embraced by most Americans, and is closer to reality than it has been in some time based on this evidence.

Other may disagree with the conclusions I made on how the issues would turn out, or what the parties might actually be. Those criticisms are less important to me as I believe those issues would come out in the wash. Indeed in my mind, less important than the results, or names of the parties, is the idea that more majority opinions would be represented.

In any case, I would really appreciate some thoughts and opinions on this concept, and welcome them in the comments section below. Please feel free to comment on feasibility, how you believe issues might be resolved and any problems you could imagine arising.


  1. It occured to me after reading an article about Paul Ryan's stance on immigration that this is another issue parties might evolve around. It wouldn't be shocking to see pro-immigration groups comprised of recent immigrant groups like Latinos who would form coalitions with social progressives on many issues.

    On the other hand, one might see pro-border control groups comprised of people upset with the current stream of illegal immigration to the US.

    Where would the five (or seven in this case) party system come out? I think it might depend on the votes of Republicans (representing business interests in our fable scenario), which would in turn depend on what, exactly, each group proposed. Business has a tricky relationship with the illegal immigration issue, and there are multiple ways the it could shake out.


  2. Anonymous15/8/12 09:51

    What about the Presidency? I think the driving force behind our two-party system is direct election, winner-take-all, majority-required system for choosing a President. Smaller parties find their candidates not viable, and the President drives election coverage. Even news coverage of midterms are driven by the President--just look at the name. It's the middle of HIS term.

    Without a viable presidential candidate (I.e. One perceived as viable by news networks) smaller parties cannot flourish.

  3. Thanks for the comment, and sorry for the delay in response...it's been busy.

    Maybe you are correct that not having a viable presidential candidate would be a non-starter for a party today, I think that a broad embrace of a multi-party approach would lead to an acceptance that not every party has a chance to lead from the front in every election.

    Countries with parliamentary systems often have ruling coalitions. And, though I tried to differentiate from parliamentary systems in some ways, I think that they could guide the thinking on this topic.

    A president in a multi-party system would still be the most powerful pol in the country, and would hopefully represent at least a plurality of Americans in his/her political leanings. However, a president under such a system would also need to be a much better deal-maker than what we see now, I believe to the benefit of the public.