Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Stagnation through gerrymandering and high barriers to ballot access

Henry Farrell of Crooked Timber speaks out on Party Oligopoly. It's worth a read.

I think that what we should take away from this is that because it's so hard to elect third party candidates, we lose valuable alternative ideas and notions that can strengthen us. Instead, we have to go through a slower and more difficult process of influence where the third party candidate has to garner more support than the difference between the major two candidates. Given that our districts have been gerrymandered so that a vast majority of House seats are virtually uncontested, this is a tough feat after coffers have been emptied by crazy ballot access requirements (at least in NC). The infusion of new ideas and "creative abrasion" of opposing viewpoints will be required to take on the challenges ahead (especially in light of the disaster in Iraq and the social problems in the world).

We lose a lot by having two parties whose major goal is to remain in power.