Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Multiparty Congress?

Happily, someone in the main stream is talking about the possibilities of a multiparty system. Blogger Philip Bump has a brief piece in the Washington Post (link below) imagining our Congress divided into four parties, based on how current members voted on the recent budget bill.

Complete with maps and heavy on speculation, the article focuses on how legislation would be passed, with the need for coalition building. It also discusses how campaigning might be different, specifically mentioning how a four way Presidential debate might appear- in his scenario featuring Hillary Clinton of the Democrats, Elizabeth Warren as a Liberal, Jeb Bush the Republican, and Ted Cruz as a Conservative. He ends his piece, “What's not to like?”

Well, we like the idea very much. While Bump's article almost seems to say how much more interesting his job as a political journalist would be, we see real benefits to the nation. Rather than envisioning a multiparty system as arriving from a split in the existing parties, we contemplate it arising with grassroots support of newer parties like the Populists or Greens on one hand and the Libertarians or Tea Party on the other.

And the benefit would not be in the entertainment value of the new system, but rather that voters and citizens would actually feel represented by some members of Congress, and Congress might actually do something of benefit to everyday Americans. Imagine a Congress that bailed out homeowners instead of mortgage companies, or opted for health care for all instead of health insurance for all.

These and many other policy options are not even being contemplated in our current system. We are glad the Post raised the idea of multiparty democracy, and we hope people will begin to demand reforms to make it happen.

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