U.S. voters need more third-party options for president, other offices

2020 Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wave to a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally on October 19, 2019  in New York City.

[ad_1]

rssfeeds.usatoday.com

“In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, said recently. She’s right.

Ocasio-Cortez and her preferred presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are self-described democratic socialists. In every other political system, they would belong to a far left party such as Germany’s Die Linke or France’s Socialist Party. And yet Sanders, Congress’s longest serving self-described independent, is now in the top-tier, and arguably even the frontrunner among candidates to become the Democratic nominee for president.

Likewise, Michael Bloomberg is also no Democrat. Bloomberg was elected mayor of New York City twice as a Republican and once as an independent. While socially progressive, his time in government was marked by fiscally responsible, pro-business policies. His moderate record seems well outside the mainstream of today’s Democratic Party.

2020 Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wave to a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally on October 19, 2019  in New York City.

So why isn’t Sanders, who remains technically an independent, or Bloomberg, a former Republican, running as either an independent or a member of a third party? Why do they both feel the need to compete for the helm of and pledge fealty to a political party whose platform seems inconsistent with their policies?

The answer is that our electoral system, although designed by patriots with a healthy skepticism of political parties, has been reconfigured to make it impossible to challenge from outside the partisan duopoly. Sanders and Bloomberg both know this, which is why they have eschewed an independent run in the mold of a Ross Perot or Teddy Roosevelt in favor of the Democratic Party nomination process.  

They’re not wrong. I should know. I tried.

In 2018, I ran for the U.S. Senate, raised more than $1.8 million and polled as high as 18 percent. But I confronted barriers every step of the way. Preventing new competition, I learned, is one area where our two major parties work well together. It starts with restricting ballot access and debate exposure. For congressional races, gerrymandered districts, closed primaries and warped campaign finance laws have been honed by party bosses to protect incumbent lawmakers preferred by their base. 

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *