Overcoming Duopoly


William Blake Behemoth and Leviathan from the Book of Job William Blake ca1793
“Behemoth and Leviathan” from The Book of Job, William Blake (ca. 1793).

Below, you will find a series of videos that are quite educational about how alternatives exist to the “winner take all” kind of voting happening in the United States of America.

As I have stated recently–in a number of different posts here at Reason & Existenz and across social media–the main problem we face in the USA is a constitutional one: political parties have no constitutional standing, they are extra-ordinary associations formed to take on the pragmatics of organizing voting among the citizenry. But precisely because the constitution leaves it up to Congress and the States to decide how voter apportionment works, over time this pragmatic organizational answer has become a de facto hegemony.

Almost all members of Congress and of the state legislatures belong to one of the two major parties so unsurprisingly the rules lean–or outright bend–in the direction of the duopoly. The Judicial Branch has done what it can (important SCOTUS decisions) and the Executive appears to play fair (Department of Justice voting investigations). But rulings and inquiries mostly follow making sure “equal time” and “fair play” exist for the other major party when one party is dominant in a state. Everybody with power in some way traces back to an alliance with the duopoly.

Käthe Kollwith Solidarity 1932
“Solidarity,” Käthe Kollwith (1932)

Without viable local/state progressive movements that caucus with the most progressive national leaders, we will never escape the vicious cycle of a two-party system that takes advantage of “first past the post” or “winner take all” election structures. Sanders and his fellows are hoping to turn their campaign into such a movement and there are others like the Working Families Party as well. We need these communities of solidarity to elect leaders at all levels that can work toward a constitutional amendment to change how elections are run and districts are drawn. This will create the conditions for debilitating winner-take-all and for demonstrating the USA’s diverse voter make up.

Only such a constitutional amendment can break the power of the duopoly once and for all.

Anyway, watch these videos by CPG Grey and see what other alternative voting systems might look like.

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