2004 Election Issues: One Party vs. Multiple Party Government

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by David Remer - PoliWatch.Org

We usually associate one party government with fascism, authoritarianism, or fantasy utopia wherein all persons are healthy, happy, and equal in all ways that matter. In a democracy however, it is very possible to have a one party government which does not meet any of the above criteria. We are witnessing it now in large part. A one party government is not necessarily a cause for alarm about our democracy. Today, however, the stage is set for a potential threat to our democracy as great as that witnessed by the Civil War.

The U.S. currently has a Republican President and a Republican majority in both the houses of Congress, though by a slim margin in the Senate. It is only the slim margin in the Senate which still permits filibuster power by the Democrats, and the split Supreme Court with equal liberal and conservative Justices and one swing Justice who votes on either side depending on the issue, which prevents the U.S. from factually being a one party government. This is not historically unique in the U.S. however; during periods in the 20th century when Democrats constituted a near one party government, the Democratic Party itself was healthily diverse with its own conservative, centrist, and liberal wings of the party.

Beginning with the Reagan years and accelerating through the Clinton years, a polarization has taken place between the Conservatives and Liberals. This polarization has resulted in large part with the loss of the more liberal wing of the Republican Party and the conservative wing of Democratic Party. In addition, there has been a growth in two minor parties, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, as well as a significant growth in what is termed Independent voters who do not constitute a party at all. To the Green Party many ultra liberals who abandoned the Democratic Party have migrated. And to the Libertarian Party some of the ultra conservatives who abandoned the Republican Party have migrated.

The current state of all this migration has resulted in roughly 1/3 of registered voters being Democrat, 1/3 being Republican, and 1/3 falling into the Libertarian, Green, third party, and Independent camps. Also, it has left the Democratic Party with little more than very liberal and somewhat liberal makeup. And similarly this has left the Republican Party with little more than somewhat conservative and very conservative supporters. One other significant group of citizens should be mentioned here, namely, the disaffected non-voters who for a variety of reasons do not participate in the political process. This non-voters group is rapidly approaching equal numbers with all registered voters. But for the purpose of examining one party vs. multiple party government, they are relatively of little consequence save for their growing numbers.

Thus, when it comes to elections, the U.S. has only two predominant parties vying for office, the liberal Democrats and the conservative Republicans. And issues such as abortion, socialized programs like public education, health insurance, and social security, regulation of industries and business, foreign affairs, and wealth distribution or accrual through taxation have become very polarized issues between the two parties. This polarization between two such equally represented parties sets the stage for a scenario which could constitute a very real threat American democracy.

Whether Democrat or Republican, one party domination in the executive and legislative branches of government will represent the views, and satisfy the requirements of government, by little more than 1/3 of the citizenry of the nation. This is not majority rule. Currently, the Republican Party fails to satisfy the expectations of government by almost all Democrats, all Greens, most Libertarians, a significant portion of independent voters and a significant number of non-voters. The situation would be the same today if the Democrats held control of government instead of Republicans. This fact alone however is insufficient to result in a threat to democracy. Two other components are required to convert this situation into a threat to democracy

The first is sustained one party domination for a period of 8 or more years, Should the Iraq situation improve, even modestly by summer of 2004, and should the economy show improvement, even if only marginally, the Republicans may easily hold control of government for an additional 4 years. This is significant, because the tension and frustration level by non-Republicans will swell. Partisanship will become ever more vitriolic, and bitter. With a minority party ruling for another presidential election cycle, the fear of no end to such one party rule will manifest itself in a host of ways all to the detriment of unseating the ruling party.

The Democratic Party will incur internal dissent as competing views and strategies for overcoming in the next election cycle reach a fevered pitch. Contributions and affiliation with the Democratic Party will drop off as more and more citizens view the Democratic Party as ineffective and even obstructionist. While this may result in growing defections to third parties and independent voter status, the effect will only entrench the Republican hold on government in following election cycles. Thus the ability through the democratic election process to unseat a minority ruling party will diminish.

The second and final component required to constitute a real threat to democracy in our land is for government through action or inaction, to cause, or be held responsible for, a serious blow to the quality of life of a large minority of citizens outside the party holding power. It does not take a crystal ball to recognize a myriad of situations, economic, international, or domestic which could bring this about. Following are only a few examples. North Korean escalation of nuclear militarism. Outbreak of U.S. developed biological weapon like the anthrax released not long ago. Prolonged escalation and growth of terrorism. Growth of the American anarchist movement. Failure by the American system to successfully make the transition away from manufacturing. Attempts by the U.S., EU, Russia or China to militarize responses to changes in economic trading inequities. A series of serious terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens. Or something as simple as the growth of a black market based on identity theft from citizen's mailboxes all across America.

With a one party government which we already have in large part and are likely to continue for another 4 years, and any events like those listed above, we could generate the kind of patriotic movement by unrepresented Americans who demand revolution to take down the one party unresponsive government in the hopes of installing one which will be far more representative and responsive to majority demands and needs. Since the electoral process will be unable to change the one party system, only one option will be left to those demanding change. That option may only be that chosen by the colonialists to throw off the yoke of the British one King system of rule.

The stage is set. November of 2004 will tell if the one party actors remain on that stage. And all that remains for a revolutionary demise of our democracy will be an ill fated event that demonstrates to a large minority of citizens that the one party system has failed and will continue to fail generations to come, if citizens do not take action to alter the course of a minority one party rule in America. The British regarded the colonialist activists as terrorists. American history judged them great patriots. No doubt, if this play is presented as written above, the activists will be called both, and the polarization in America will be devastating until resolution is brought forth.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on November 14, 2003 10:51 AM.

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