Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.54 minutes to read.

“The zero-sum, winner-take-all dynamics of U.S. elections make it nearly impossible for third parties to gain electoral traction, despite survey data that shows fully half of Americans do not identify with any party and label themselves independents…

To hear those calling for change — including many scholars and some lawmakers — the inherent problem with our current system is that it shoehorns the entire spectrum of political opinion into just two parties…

[But] ending two-party politics is not just an academic fever dream. Members of Congress, led by Rep. Don Beyer, a centrist Virginia Democrat, are considering a bill, the Fair Representation Act, that would do just that.

It would create multi-member House districts in states with more than one representative, require those districts to be drawn by independent commissions to minimize gerrymandering and allow voters to choose representatives in those districts using a ranked-choice voting system like the one in Maine…

The multi-member districts in Beyer’s bill would effectively switch House elections from a winner-take-all model to one of proportional representation, in which parties win congressional seats in proportion to the number of votes their members receive… Such proposals also typically call for expanding the size of the House, which would allow congressional delegations to more closely reflect partisan splits in their states.”

–Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post Opinion

“An Economist/YouGov poll puts congressional approval at 19%, while 59% disapprove.

Now why would that be? Perhaps it’s because there hasn’t been any meaningful immigration reform in almost four decades, which is why we have a humanitarian crisis at the southern border, American farmers can’t find enough people to pick crops and there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs across Indiana.

Or, perhaps, it is now putting the nation on a path to default as Senate Republicans are not only refusing to vote to raise the debt ceiling (something it has routinely done since World War I), but are planning to use the filibuster to keep it from happening…

This is why Americans hold Congress in such disdain. Both parties spend money like proverbial drunken sailors.

A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released on Wednesday asked which party should be blamed if the debt ceiling wasn’t increased, and 33% said Democrats, 16% said Republicans, and 42% said both.

It gives us little hope that when a real crisis comes about (like the current immigration fiasco or Social Security becoming insolvent by the end of this decade), Republicans and Democrats are unable to join forces and figure it out.

It’s time for a viable, centrist third party.”

–Brian Howey, South Bend Tribune Opinion

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.59 minutes to read.

“A third party may be just the antidote to our current situation.

Political pundits talk about divided government, where the presidency is occupied by one of the two national parties while one or both houses of Congress are controlled by the other. This situation produces, depending on your political persuasion, either healthy checks and balances or gridlock…

When I prescribe a third party, I am not asking for another fringe party with a narrow agenda and constituency. I envision a party supported by moderate American voters, who will elect a few — maybe only 10 — senators, and a proportional number, 40 to 50, in the House. I would not expect this new party to win a presidential election; that should not be its goal…

The most important thing to remember is this: A majority is not needed to influence change. There is currently no majority in the Senate; the count is 50/50. Take away a few members from each party and each would be obligated to seek votes from the middle minority. They could influence Senate rules, leadership elections, committee appointments, and, of course, legislation. This would be done by the new party demanding good faith and fair-minded compromises. Their influence would likely attract all but the radical fringes of each party to come to the middle on important issues.”

–Max Evans, Deseret Opinion

“As much as I reject the populist nationalism present in the Republican party, I am convinced that a third-party solution is not only impractical, but also fails to address the core problem.

A third party is impractical because our entire government — from top to bottom — is predicated upon majority rule and the two-party system. Even the most formidable third party would fall far short of obtaining a majority in this system unless one of the other two parties died out, much like the creation of the Republican Party in the first place. Thus, major structural reforms would be necessary if three parties are ever to survive simultaneously.

As it stands, the current system would require a center-right party to caucus with Republicans anyways if they want to achieve any kind of majority. If the two groups constitute a single voting bloc in practice, what exactly is the virtue of a third party? How is this different than a fractured single party?…

For this reason, moderate conservatives should focus on intra-party mobilization rather than third-party pipe dreams… Put simply, there’s a Trump-sized hole in the Republican Party after the 2020 election. The first to mobilize the party will fill it.”

–Breck Wightman, Rumsfeld Foundation