From the slew of incumbents defeated in their party primaries to the many citizen-led ballot initiatives aimed at ending gerrymandering, voters continue to show they are fed-up with “politics as usual.”
That frustration extends to the current two-party reign, which only 34 percent of Americans felt adequately represented them, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. The 61 percent who thought a third major party was needed marks an all-time high in Gallup’s polling records.
Millennials are particularly disenchanted with the two major political parties; 71 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 want a third party, according to an NBC News poll.
As new candidates emerge and grassroots coalitions form, some have started billing 2018 as “year of the independent.” Whether or not that holds true, there are real benefits to expanding our two-party system.
Robert Harris writes in his latest column for The Oregonian, “a robust third-party presence in elections doesn’t damage the two party system. It helps complete it.”
As co-chairman of the Independent Party of Oregon, Harris touts the benefits from a specific perspective, but his arguments can apply to other places and parties, too. The new ideas and issues that third party candidates bring to the table, as well as their influence on Republican and Democratic competitors, benefit people of all political stripes.
While ranked choice voting doesn’t help third party candidates win, it creates more fair elections where third parties and independents can compete against major political parties and eliminates the “spoiler effect”.
The American people have spoken. Let’s show we’re listening by giving them a better way through ranked choice voting.
Read Harris’ full column here.