By: Theresa Amato - NYtimes.com
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 9, 2015
Most adults in the United States think a third party is needed, according to a Gallup poll last year. That includes 71 percent of Independents, 46 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats polled.
Of course! The two-party system cannot capture the wealth of political ideas and solutions to societal problems that should be debated in our elections. Who wants to live with only two brands or flavors in the political arena while Americans believe in all kinds of innovation, choice and competition in the economic arena?
After the March primary coronations of the presumptive nominees, our country would benefit from less scripted, poll-tested and two-party-manipulated presidential elections. Voters deserve broader political discourse with more voices and more choices than they are currently offered on November general election ballots. The unsatisfactory, two-party stranglehold on the U.S. political system must go.
At the moment, neither Bernie Sanders nor Donald Trump within the two major parties will be beholden to the two-party talking points or the money machine donors who give to both parties, hedging their bets to ensure access, no matter which major party wins. Candidates, or possible candidates, from outside the two major parties are Jill Stein of the Green Party, Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, of the Libertarian Party, and John Hostettler, former U.S. House member from Indiana.
Americans are seeking candidates who are not for sale, and who are not afraid to speak their unvarnished views – whether or not the majority agrees with them.
If voters break free of the chokehold on establishment politics as usual, third party and independent candidates could introduce political unpredictability, force the major parties to court a greater diversity of voters, and free Americans from being held hostage by two major parties that take advantage of the limitations of an electoral system designed for the 18th century, while telling voters they have “nowhere else to go.”
Systemic reforms that would allow voters and candidates more democracy include fair access to the debates and media, a uniform, federal ballot access law, proportional representation and instant run-off voting, nonpartisan administration of the 13,000 election jurisdictions and voting rights fairness – both for those here and overseas serving in our military and living abroad.
Finally, our elections need public financing to ensure that they are not for sale, so that anyone -- not just millionaires and billionaires -- can grow up and run successfully for president of the United States.