I have been an advocate for run off voting since I first looked into it after the 2000 election. But sans run off...
My father was a dedicated Conservative back when there was a difference between Conservative and Republican, and I used to help the party with elections in the 60s. I think we are a weaker nation now than then because we really have only two parties of any consequence, that have any true chance of winning, and both parties like it that way, are determined to keep it that way.
The 4 major parties were Liberal, Democratic, Republican and Conservative. Now to get the party's support these days a Republican has to be a Conservative, or what they call "Conservative" these days: most often a mix of the Fundamentalist Party, the NRA Party, the Libertarian Limited Party, the Anti-Worker Party and the War for Profit Party. But let's call them the Republocons.
The Democratic Party has likewise morphed into the ex-Moderate Republican Party, Pro-Trade Deal Party and the Steal Republocon Idea Party, better referred to as Republocrats.
Political correctness is enforced by party regulars for Republocrats and Republocons. Liberals mocked or ignored on the left, rightward moderates primary-ed and out spent to the point challenging the overall trend towards increasing rightward drift is a political death sentence. Both parties are corporatist parties. Thanks Supreme Court for making damn sure free speech is so limited by money most of us might as well be expressing our opinions after being exiled to Pluto. The election process has been so screwed with we don't even know if votes aren't deleted by black boxes programmed with Crosscheck lists. Media so corrupted huge Bernie rallies hardly got a whisper. The largest protest in American history, before the second Iraq War, got little to no coverage. Occupy's coverage amounted to pepper spraying by a sadistic cop, played over and over, so foam at the mouth right wingers could jack off to it mentally.
Now before any changes, right up front, we need to recognize that such changes would be a no go unless the system we have for electing our politicians is fixed. Help America Vote should have been called "Help America's Votes NOT Count." That's the first hill we have to continue to charge up. If we don't, well, settle in for faux representation bought and paid for: a system based on sanctioned bribery. It's time to stop blaming one politician for this out of political convenience. You may hate Hillary and her connections, or Trump, or... but this isn't a Hillary or Trump only, Hillary or Trump specific, problem. Like most pols these days they products of the system itself. They are doing what may be supremely slimy, but has been Supreme-ly sanctioned and even necessary to function in the system as it exists now. Bernie may have gotten a lot of small donations but how far did he get? Blaming Hillary or Trump won't stop or solve any of this. It is caused by the very nature of the system as it exists now.
This is the fight of my, and maybe even your, lifetime.
But beyond that, well, I'd prefer run off voting. No parties, like our forefathers dreamed of and had for a short time, well probably the least likely of all the possibilities. But if neither is possible we could do worse than returning to the now mostly past tense (in power or influence) four major, independent, parties we had back then: Conservative, Republican, Democratic and Liberal.
Two parties edging towards center: trying to attract moderates, independents, crossovers, and two on the outskirts provided a tug, and a pull back away from the center. Sometimes they ran the same candidates, sometimes not. Sometimes the influence was so great it flipped the election: that's what we did in 67 in Nyack, NY; back when my father and I were Buckley-style Conservatives. After working for Goldwater in 64 we brought the 67 election so close two years later the Republicans won by adopting some of our platform and one of our candidates. Liberals sometimes had the same affect on Dems, as my political center shifted over the years I saw that too.
I miss the balance, the tug, the pull. If we can't have run off voting, and I find it less far likely parties will go extinct: two parties seeking to be more mainstream, and two pulling the opposite way, would be far better. I think we had better public policy: less extreme. I think we had less all or nothing, war-like politics. I think we had more rational discussions and debates where the goal was less demonization and more building a broad base with those, these days, they go out of their way to offend with phrases like, "The professional left." Instead of appealing to a wider base the goal now is to demoralize, discourage, disenfranchise those not in a far more narrow base you seek to activate. Once elected: if you dare call it that, pols rule for the few, while kicking the many to the curb.
Trump's presidency is damn near the perfect example of this. He lost the popular vote big time: perhaps by far more than 2.8 million. In the few states that put them over the top in the college they won by small margins and disenfranchising far larger numbers of voters not likely to vote for them. Now they rule as if everyone voted for an extreme shift to the right.
A vast majority of American voters are being kicked to the curb by a president enabled, in part, by a tyrant he admires far more than our forefathers. In fact one might argue they too are being kicked to the curb.
Once we climb that very steep hill of returning us to an enfranchised voter-based system, if we can't get run off, if we can't exterminate the party-based system, even just empowering four parties spread out across the ideological spectrum might do the trick. Then we'd have better governance rather than the basest of base politics running the nation for the few. And we'd have better politicians.
We'd sure as hell be better off with the four major parties than just Republicons and Republocrats.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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