Two-Party System: A Hypothesis

We have a two-party system because of the 12th Amendment and 1824.

The 12th Amendment states:
The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.
Let's break this down: The first part (up to the first semicolon) means that whoever gets the most electoral college votes (currently 270) wins the presidency. Simple, right? Next comes the next part, which is the system which breaks the system.

No matter how many candidates we have for President, only the 3 with the most electoral college votes move on to the runoff. This "Top 3 Runoff" happens in the House of Representatives with all state delegations voting with one ballot. Of all 50 states (plus Washington DC) being represented in the House, only 34 need to be represented in voting for President (the third part of the text). Whoever these 34 states can decide on as a majority becomes the next President.

The last time this happened was in the election of 1824. You can read about it here. Andrew Jackson (yes, the guy who almost invaded South Carolina to pay off the national debt) rode into office in 1828 calling it the Corrupt Bargain. Speculation: This was seen as so corrupt and disempowering by voters and politicians that every step was taken to avoid this ever happening again, including splitting the electorate into rough halves that could get a majority of the electoral votes.

As you can tell, this process takes the power of choice away from voters. To keep the power of choice in the hands of the voting public, the simplest way to do so is to get the majority of Electors (electoral college votes) before the House of Representatives casts a minimum of 34 votes. The fastest and most efficient way of guaranteeing a majority while also having a choice for voters is to have two parties.

The simplest reform (in my opinion) is to have the parties work as coalitions with smaller parties within them. The Democratic Coalition could serve as an umbrella for labor and union activists (Labor Party), environmental protectionists/ecological conservationists (Green Party), and a left-leaning social movement (Liberal Party). The Republican Coalition could serve as an umbrella for economic growth-focused and pro-deregulation concerns (Capitalist Party), religious freedom and traditional family values (Conservative Party), and a group for limited government (Libertarian Party).

In Congress and state legislatures, these parties would generally stay in their own coalitions. Given their areas of focus, they could, however, break from convention and strike up deals with other parties, giving their members more opportunities to reach across the aisle for legislative wins they can brag about to their voters. For example, the Liberal Party and Libertarian Party could come together to legalize cannabis (for Liberals, the concern is that anti-cannabis laws are being unfairly administered against people of color; for Libertarians, the concern is that these laws are a government overreach and that their current heavy-handed enforcement is an overexertion of government authority).

In Presidential and Gubernatorial races, the Democratic and Republican coalitions could have two sets of primaries: one closed and one open. In the closed primary system, the individual parties (Labor, Green, Conservative, etc.) would have voters choose their party nominees (e.g. Bernie Sanders for the Labor Party, Elizabeth Warren for the Liberal Party, etc.). These parties could then have the party nominees be in contest with one another for the coalition nomination with more primaries open to members of each of the coalition's parties. This additional nomination process could be circumvented by deferring to whomever won the coalition's popular vote for President/Governor and to whomever the second place party's nominee could be named as the Vice President/Lieutenant Governor. Coalitions could also implement other ways of choosing a top executive, like utilizing ranked choice/instant runoff voting to choose which party could claim top executive spot (e.g. while at the New Hampshire Labor Party primary, a voter could vote for Bernie Sanders and rank the parties in the coalition like this: 1 Labor, 2 Liberal, 3 Green).

I propose this reform so that politicians can more closely serve a political base and more be responsive to its needs. On top of that, this allows more focus on specific topics, allowing experts in those areas to be more politically successful, bringing knowledge and competence to the halls of governance. For those looking for the United States to be a parliamentary system, this may be your option.

Or maybe not. What the fuck do I know? I'm only $28,000+ in debt for a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. I'm just a broke asshat pontificating on a blog that no one reads.


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