Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

It’s worth remembering, as Democrats proceed with programs that have failed in the past and as Republican insiders strive to rig their own nomination process, that the political parties are private organizations. They are not governments.

They are groups of people working to gain control over government — and that control can only ever be temporary. Let us hope.

Over many years of activism in politics I’ve supported openness in elections and ballot access, working for a variety of reforms, including the securing of the rights to initiative, referendum and recall. I’ve also contemplated a few less simple ideas, like Instant Runoff Voting and proportional representation, both designed to break (or at least ease up on) the stranglehold that the two-party system has over American democracy.

But additional reforms are worth thinking about. One, for instance, would prohibit any mention of a party name on a ballot.

Since the parties are private groups, they ought not have special access to the public ballot. All the more because the two parties are a problem in and of themselves — their perennial clamor for power perverts political discourse, unnecessarily restricting and channeling the direction of debate.

Such rules already hold sway in many county and municipal governments throughout the country. It could be instructive to study the differences in politicking and policy.

For todays’ growing ranks of independent and unaffiliated voters, perhaps the motivations in favor wouldn’t wholly be rational, but partly vengeful.

And perhaps partisans might wish to consider the reasons for that kind of anti-partisan sentiment.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Doug Watts says:

    What? Two great ideas in a row?
    Lately I’ve been thinking of how to minimize the role of Partys (and partisanship) without assaulting the First Amendment. I think you’ve got the answer, Paul. Far more effective than these faux movements like Americans Elect and No Labels. Simple and effective, and very Free Market. I’m in.

  2. J. Keen Holland says:

    You ought to be more clear – do you plan to merely eliminate the party names or to go further and eliminate grouping of candidates by party on the ballot?

    The latter converts the general election into a non-partisan ballot; the latter, nearly so.

    This will really bring back an emphasis on each party recruiting warm bodies to stand in front of each polling place to hand out sample ballots to help voters locate their party’s candidates. Considering the complaints about confusing ballots in the 2000 Florida debacle, this may be a hard sell.

  3. Brian Wright says:

    I would add that a significant improvement to the electoral process would occur if corporations simply were disallowed to fund candidacies. As for parties, also harken back to the Father of the Country, George Washington, who stated that political parties were undesirable… or words to that effect. 🙂 bw

  4. Kathy Nichols says:

    This ballot plan can work, but as a companion action, McCain-Feingold should be repealed and replaced with another simple idea: Remove campaign finance $$ limits for contributions to candidates, so people can support them directly (without having to contribute to a Party org., or superPAC). Provide full and instant disclosure of all donors and amounts. Do the same for all the 527s, superPacs and party organizations while we’re at it (such as RNC and DNC). “The best disinfectant is [still] sunlight.”

    With full disclosure of all donors and amounts, less emphasis on party and more on individuals, and the return of full 1st amendment rights for campaign donors, I think you’ll see far less money going to ‘interest groups’ and more to candidates. We The People can figure out the individuals we want to support and vote for based on their policies and character, regardless of any party affiliation.

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