October 21, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Three new students appointed as SGA special assistants -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Allymohamed scores game winner after suffering facial injury against Boston University -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Loaded weekend against Marist, Keene State challenges UMass club hockey -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UMass football seeing improvement on both the offensive and defensive lines -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Remembering Derek Jeter: an appraisal -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yellowcard switches things up on “Lift a Sail” -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Campus Sustainability Day to take place Wednesday -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Woosley paces UMass tennis at the ITA Northeast Regionals -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sonny Landreth performs intense, brief set at the Iron Horse -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tinashe impresses on debut album, “Aquarius” -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ebola coverage is misinforming -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Two counts of larceny occur over the weekend -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UMass student charged in connection with alleged involvement in racist vandalisms -

Monday, October 20, 2014

UMass student found dead in McNamara Hall -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Protect Our Breasts runs Breast Cancer Awareness campaign -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Underclassmen lead UMass hockey to first victory of the season -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Super Smash Bros. 3DS: A classic revitalized -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear Chancellor: Improve the FAC -

Monday, October 20, 2014

UMass women’s soccer shut out by Rhode Island -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Students at UMass rally to show support for Hong Kong -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dominating parties squeeze out the little guys

MCT

After months of hard campaigning, the overwhelming hype of Election Night, and the plethora of analysis in its aftermath, the government, at first glance, is exactly the same after the election as it was before the day before. President Barack Obama will remain president, the Republican Party will control the House of Representatives, and the Democratic Party will still control the Senate. Indeed, it would be rather easy to conclude that, apart from very minor shifts in numbers, nothing really happened at all.

However, there is much more to be seen in this election than merely the balance of power between the two major parties. Many bemoan that politics nowadays are showing an increasingly partisan trend, with the two major parties becoming increasingly uncooperative. In such a polarized political climate, moderates are needed to bridge the gap between the two parties in order to get anything done at all; compromise is an imperative.

Despite the urgent need for moderates to build bridges between the two parties, the electorate has instead decided to push the parties even further apart. There are only three senators that vote with their party less than 66 percent of the time, according to the Boston Globe. These Senators are Susan Collins (R-ME, 45 percent party vote), Scott Brown (R-MA, 47 percent party vote), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME, 53 percent party vote).

Of this group, only Collins will remain in office after the election. Scott Brown was defeated by Elizabeth Warren of the Democratic Party, someone who is very unlikely to work with Republicans at all, let alone vote with them.

Olympia Snowe of Maine chose not to seek reelection, as she had grown tired of the increasingly partisan atmosphere of the Senate; instead, her seat will be filled by “independent” Angus King, the former governor of Maine, who is a Democrat in everything but name.

The second-most moderate senator remaining is Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who votes with her party 66 percent of the time. Of the 100 seats in the Senate, only one is filled by a centrist moderate.

A 2011 Pew Research Center Poll showed that about 35 percent of American registered voters are some form of moderate.

Moderates include Libertarians (small government seculars), Disaffecteds (highly cynical) and Post-Moderns (liberal on social issues, fiscally moderate). Despite the clear evidence that more than a third of voters are some form of moderate, only one of 100 Senators is a moderate. In short, this is a complete failure of the democratic system.

The American Election system is, obviously, deeply flawed; no system can be called a success when 35 percent of its voters only have one percent representation in the Senate. One of the primary issues in our system is voting itself – in the current situation, a voter votes for one candidate.

Because of this, there is an incentive for there to be only two candidates in an election, as a third may pull enough votes from one of the candidates to give the election to another.

For example, if a far-left Democrat, a left-leaning Independent, and a Republican all run in the same election, the Republican could win even if nearly twice as many left-leaning voters voted, as the left vote would be divided between two candidates, while the right vote would go solely to the Republican. This system perpetuates the political duopoly of the Republican and Democratic Parties, which each seek to create a solid, constant base of support, leaving Independents out to dry.

In effect, our system does indeed force Independents to vote for the “lesser of two evils” every election, as neither party shares all of the values of Independent voters, and Independent candidates do not have the massive supply of support and money that the major party candidates do.

Whether by the introduction of Instant-Runoff Voting (where voters rank candidates in order of preference, thus eliminating the “spoiler” effect) or the rise of a new, strong, moderate third party, or some other mechanism, there must be a change in American politics. No legislative body can legitimately claim to represent the entire population when an entire third of the populace is not represented at all.

Stefan Herlitz is a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at sherlitz@student.umass.edu.

Comments
2 Responses to “Dominating parties squeeze out the little guys”
  1. txr says:

    In what world are libertarians “moderate”? They are extreme in unusual ways (that is, extremely conservative on the economy and extremely liberal on social issues). That still makes them extreme.

    For that matter, disaffected voters shouldn’t count as “moderate” either. There is a big difference between having moderate political views and thinking that the system is hopelessly corrupt (which is what “disaffected” means). Anyone can be disaffected, regardless of their political views.

  2. SHerlitz says:

    The term “libertarian” represents a large spectrum of views, ranging from rather moderate folks to the hyped-up Ron Paul version.
    Disaffected voters are largely disaffected because their viewpoints aren’t represented by any party. People with political views in agreement with either of the two major parties are significantly less likely to be disaffected, since they actually have an opportunity to have their stance represented, whereas dissenters do not.

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