Friday, August 30, 2013

If the major parties don't represent us, does that mean we're stupid?


“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” –Albert Einstein

 The Independent Voters Network had this op-ed piece which opined that the two major parties 'clearly and strikingly' do not represent most voters. It offers scant little evidence for this thesis, other than there are an increasing number of independent voters.

The sort of lazy excuse for analysis in this article bothers me. Giving the voters a free pass for their choices may be nice populism but does not serve the national interest.

100% of Americans are represented by either Democratic or Republican Congressmen (obviously except for two vacant seats). 

99.3% of Americans are represented exclusively by major party US senators.

100% of Americans are represented by Democrat or Republican state governors. 

All of them are the result of (sort of) free and fair elections. 

If Americans don’t feel these two parties represent them, why do they elect exclusively them virtually all the time from among the 3-6 choices available in the majority of elections?

One can reasonably infer from this situation one of two possibilities: either a) Democratic and GOP elected officials *do* generally represent the views of most Americans or b) that voters are so stupid or gutless as to overwhelmingly elect people who don't represent them even though, in the majority of cases, there are non-major party alternatives. 

Which is it?

You can bitch and moan about your cable company or your cell phone provider but as long as you keep buying their product, they don’t care. They will have no incentive to improve. 

Politics is the same way. The corporate parties don’t give a toss about your whining, so long as you keep buying what they sell. 

If you keep voting for them, they’ll never have an incentive to change in any meaningful way. Sometimes people whine when politicians break promises but more often, the moaning comes about when a polician acts exactly as he or she suggested in the campaign! 

As PJ O’Rourke concluded in his excellent book Parliament of Whores: [I]n a democracy such as ours, the whores are us.

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