This article is almost complete hypothetical, and is the result of a twitter discussion with @justapedn from Saturday 10-7-2017. Since I’m a little too verbose for 140 characters, I decided to write a blog post about it.
What would a multi party political system look like in the United States?
Like I said, this is all hypothetical, based off of what’s known, what’s being reported, and what’s being rumored.
THE SET-UP, OR WHAT’S ASSUMED FOR THIS EXERCISE.
- Assume that at some point between 2018 and 2022, the Republican Party as it exists today ceases, likely due to implications from the Russian Investigation.
- Also during this time, the Democratic Party also has its own problems, and falls apart.
- The Green Party goes through a reorganization. Jill Stein goes to jail.
- Major campaign reforms are enacted, all the way from a Constitutional Amendment overturning Citizens United down to shortening campaign season.
COLLAPSE OF THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM
So, how do I think the current system dies?
In fire. And a whimper.
During the investigations over the next couple years, the ties of Dark Money will come to the forefront. The RNC leadership laundered Russian money into their 2016 campaigns, and the DNC will be involved in some other shenanigans.
In the fallout, both major parties fracture. Whether any piece of them survives is up in the air, but for this piece, I’ll assume they both die.
THE NEW PARTIES
The names are placeholders. Actual party names may vary.
- Nationalist Party. Made up of the Deplorables, the Alt-Right, and hard liners on immigration.
- Religious Party. The “Religious Right” get their own party.
- Conservative Party. For fiscal conservatives who aren’t as hung up on social issues.
- Moderate Party. Made up of a mix of centrists from both Democratic and Republican Parties.
- Liberal Party. For the more left-leaning members of the old Democratic Party, but not radical by any definition.
- Socialist Party. The fringe left. Over time, their policies become the platform of the Liberal Party.
- Libertarian Party. This party sees a new age as those that labeled themselves as Libertarians all of these years join this party.
- Green Party. This party reorganizes into one that focuses on environmental issues.
CHANGES TO THE ELECTION SYSTEM.
For the most part, I don’t see too many changes at the state and local levels in the Primary elections. It would be the same as today, just more party options.
Where I see changes taking place would be in the General election.
With 7 or 8 options for an office, there’s a good chance that none of them get a majority. There are two ways this can be handled. Either have the top two contestants take place in a run-off, or use ranked voting.
I prefer ranked voting, as there wouldn’t be a need for a separate day of voting. Each voter would rank their choices from first to last. If no one claimed a majority, whomever had the most last place votes is eliminated. Then, the numbers are recalculated, removing the eliminated candidate from the new count. This continues until someone has a majority.
For example, let’s say Al, Bob, Chuck, Dave, and Ed are running for Congress. Al received 35%, Bob 30%, Chuck 20%. Dave 10%, and Ed 5% out of 100 votes. No one won the majority, so it goes to the rankings. Al had the most votes, but was last in more than half the ballots. Most people said “anyone but Al.” Al is eliminated. Bob now has 30/65 votes. Still not a majority, so another round of eliminations. The next worst one was Dave. Since Dave had 10% of the original vote, that gives Bob a majority.
Bob wins the race, and it’s all done in a night.
CHANGES TO CONGRESS
Surprisingly, there wouldn’t be much change to Congress.
At least, as far as the structure goes.
Unless a party has a full majority, then get ready for coalition governments and a lot of deal making and compromising.
For example, let’s say the Moderates win 200 out of 435 House seats. That’s not enough for a majority. They’re still 18 seats short. All of the other parties could combine against them, or the Moderates could make a deal with one of the other parties that has at least 18 seats to confirm that they maintain the leadership. They could join with the Liberals to institute new health care reforms, or the Conservatives to enact a new jobs program.
CHANGES TO THE PRESIDENT
This is where things get weird.
Assuming the Electoral College is still in use, we might see some interesting deals come out of the Presidential Election.
If a candidate does not receive a majority of the Electoral College, the House of Representatives then decides the President, while the Senate chooses the Vice President.
However, there is a month between the General Election and when the Electoral College meet. That’s more than enough time for either a run-off or some kind of deal.
Let’s say the Moderates have the most assumed EC votes after the General Election, but not a majority. They have 230, but need 40 more. The Socialists won California with 55 electoral votes. To avoid this going to the House, the Moderates and Socialists strike a deal. Maybe the Socialists will endorse the Moderates if they adopt a particular platform and name their candidate to a cabinet position.
Similar deals would happen at or after the Electoral College as well.
WHAT DOESN’T CHANGE?
Hopefully, nothing negative changes with the judiciary. Local races will still be based off of local interests. And, in some areas, running on a particular ticket would be a bad idea.
That’s it for today. I’ll get back to the normal posts tomorrow. By the way, if you’re on Twitter, follow @justapedn. He’s a pretty cool cat.
Thank you, and have a good one.