Focus Point - Two-Party SystemCommentary by Pete du Pont
November 27, 2000
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Turned off by two-party politics? Some voters complain the sameness of the Republicans and Democrats causes lack of interest and low voter turnout.
Well, I'll let you in on a little secret: Running for president requires giving a good speech for ten minutes six times a day. But success depends on a message people can grasp and want to hear, and that's where the third parties fail. They insist it's a marketing problem, but the fact is, the electorate wants the slow change of the big parties. Third parties make fine test vehicles for new ideas, but while they may do the R&D, it's the big guys who make the sale.
We could go European, I suppose, and use a proportional scheme of representation -- assuming we wanted to have a government like, say, Italy. But most Americans want to avoid chaos.
A Wisconsin Libertarian says Democrats and Republicans just pander. But until Americans become really dissatisfied with high taxes and limits on various freedoms, the two parties will prevail.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, a Really Bad Election Idea.