The Biggest Problem in American Government: Party Politics!

Dear Commons Community,

Mickey Edwards, who served in the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1993 from Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times blasting the partisanship of the American political system.   As the author of The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans, he has considered the issue well and lays it squarely on the line that Democrats and Republicans alike are destroying our system of government.  Here is a sample:

“… we have created a system that seriously undermines democratic principles and gives us instead a government that is unable to deal with even the most urgent problems because the people have been shoved aside in the pursuit of partisan advantage. In some ways our system has come to resemble those multi-party parliamentary systems in which the tail (relatively small groups of hard-liners) is able to wag the dog. What Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison all agreed on was the danger of creating political parties like the ones we have today, permanent factions that are engaged in a constant battle for advantage even if that means skewing election results, keeping candidates off the ballot, denying voters the right to true representation and “fixing” the outcome of legislative deliberations.”

He concludes:

“Our current system, with parties controlling who gets on the ballot, what districts they run in, and what happens to large amounts of potential campaigns funds, rewards incivility and discourages cooperation. If we allow that system to continue, it is we who must share the blame for a government that can no longer function.”




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