The two-party system is the greatest danger to America today.

Executive Summary

Anyone paying attention can logically conclude that the two-party system is the greatest present danger to our nation. There are many reasons for this conclusion, but the top few reasons should be enough evidence to progress from theory; to statement of fact. Those reasons being:

  • The Founders didn’t like the idea Of Two Parties

    "There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."

    -- John Adams, Letter to Jonathan Jackson (2 October 1780), "The Works of John Adams", vol 9, p.511

  • “Perhaps most important, the two parties rig the election system against would-be disrupters. The rules they set allow for partisan primaries, gerrymandered congressional districts, and winner-take-all elections.

GEHL: So each side of the duopoly — Republicans and Democrats — and the players that are playing for those teams, effectively, have over time worked to improve their own side’s fortunes. But collectively, they also have come together to improve the ability of the industry as a whole to protect itself from new competition, from third parties that could threaten either of the two sides of the duopoly.

PORTER: In this industry — because it’s a duopoly that’s protected by these huge barriers to entry — essentially what the parties have done is they’ve been very, very clever. They don’t compete head-to-head for the same voters. They’re not competing for the middle.

GEHL: It’s likely that we have a much more powerful center, a much more powerful group of moderates, than our current duopoly demonstrates. 

PORTER: What they’ve understood is, competing for the middle is a sort of destructive competition. It’s kind of a zero-sum competition. So the parties have divided the voters and kind of, sort of, ignored the ones in the middle. Because they don’t have to worry about them, because if the middle voter is unhappy, which most middle voters are today in America, what can they do?”

  • Social media algorithms, 24 hour newsertainment, and fear-voters

After detailing those reasons for identifying this as THE WORST of our national problems, I’ll progress to Why it needs to be dealt with NOW.

From those reasons, we will conclude with ideas of reform. These will be some hybrid of the following ideas - Again from Gehl and Porter and their paper previously mentioned and linked:

Solution 1
Non-partisan, Single-ballot Primaries

GEHL: And there are three electoral reforms that are important, we call it the the election trifecta.

PORTER: And the first and probably the single most powerful is to move to non-partisan, single-ballot primaries.

GEHL: Currently, if you’re going to vote in the primary, you show up and you get a Democratic ballot or a Republican ballot. And then you vote for who’s going to represent that party in the general election.

PORTER: And the one that’s on the farthest left or the one that’s on the farthest right has a tendency to win. Because the people that turn out for primaries are a relatively small fraction of even the party. And those are the people that show up, because they’re really partisans and they really have special interests and they really care about getting somebody on the ballot that’s for them 

GEHL: In a single-ballot, nonpartisan primary, all the candidates for any office, no matter what party they’re in, are on the same ballot. And we propose that the top four vote-getters advance out of that primary to the general election.

PORTER: And the reason a single primary where everybody’s in it is so important is that if you want to win, you want to appeal to as many voters as you can. Hopefully more people will vote in the primary. And therefore you’re going get people that are not just trying to appeal to their particular extreme. 

Solution 2
Ranked-choice Voting

The second part of the Gehl-Porter election-reform trifecta: ranked-choice voting.

GEHL: Here’s how ranked-choice voting works. You’ll now have four candidates that made it out of the top four primary. Those four candidates will all be listed on the general election ballot, and you come and vote for them in order of preference. So it’s easy. “This is my first choice.” “This candidate is my second choice.” “This is my third choice.” “This is my fourth choice.” When the votes are tabulated if no candidate has received over 50 percent, then whoever came in last is dropped, and votes for that candidate are then reallocated to those voters’ second choice, and the count is run again until one candidate reaches over 50 percent.

PORTER: And what that does is it gives a a candidate a need to appeal to a broader group of voters.

GEHL: And very importantly, it eliminates one of the hugest barriers to competition in the existing system — and that is the spoiler argument. So what happens currently is that if there’s, let’s say, an attractive third-party candidate, or an independent candidate, both Democrats and Republicans will make the argument that nobody should vote for them because they will simply draw votes away from a Democrat, or draw votes away from a Republican, and therefore spoil the election for one of the duopoly candidates. Once you have ranked-choice voting, everybody can pick whoever they want as their first choice, second choice, third choice. No vote is wasted and no vote spoils the election for another candidate. 

PORTER: And then the last part of the trifecta is non-partisan redistricting. Gerrymandering has to go.

GEHL: Essentially, when parties control drawing the districts, they can draw districts that will be more likely to tilt in favor of their party. And they can end up having a disproportionate number of “safe” Republican seats or “safe” Democratic seats by the way that they draw the districts, and we want to make that go away.

In addition to election-rule reforms, Porter and Gehl would like to see changes to the rules around governing.

GEHL: Congress makes its own rules for how it functions, and over time, these rules, customs, and practices have been set in place to give an enormous amount of power to the party that controls the chamber.

PORTER: And right now, it’s the Republicans that are controlling it. But what’s happened — and this is sort of collusion in a way — is, when the other party takes over, they do it the same way, pretty much.

GEHL: So we propose moving away from partisan control of the day-to-day legislating in Congress. And also, of course, in state legislatures as well.


Solution 3
Money in Politics

The third leg of their reform agenda is about money in politics. But their analysis led them to a different conclusion than many reformers’.

GEHL: Where we differ with so many people championing these reforms is that we don’t believe that money in politics is the core issue.

PORTER: Ultimately, the problem is really this nature of competition that leads to this partisanship. And that’s not a money issue per se, that’s a structural issue.

GEHL: If you take money out of politics without changing the rules of the game, you’ll simply make it cheaper for those using the existing system to get the self-interested results that they want without changing the incentives to actually deliver solutions for the American people. Having said that, we do believe that there are benefits to increasing the power of smaller donors. The reforms that we have suggested are primarily focused on increasing the power of smaller donors.

We will conclude with strategy to impliment reform. These include:

Signing an oath to vote for a specific third party if demands aren’t met by a certain election.

Spreading the message far and wide on social media.

Appeal to domestic threat part of oath, motivating, empowering vets.

Announcing the plan to legislators so they can draft the legislation.


    A strategy for reinvigorating our democracy
    Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. Porter


3. Another pro RCV video

4. An anti-Ranked Choice Voting video. It has merit, so please consider it.

5. An excellent webpage to see what has happened so far in regard to RCV around the nation:

You can see Great Arguments both for and against RCV on this page. Here are two: