Our Single Party System

Monday, November 3, 2014

In school we were taught that American Democracy is a two party system. Rather than having one party in control we have two and they compete against each other which brings out the best in our political system. The problem is every election I look at all the races being run in our county and find that this is not true. This year we have 35 non judicial races at all level in all parts of Monroe County from receiver of taxes to governor of the state. In these races only 17, less than half, are contested and of these only 14 have a democrat and republican in the race. While shocking this just a little low for an election in Monroe county where only 56% of all races in the last decade have been contested. Most distressing is that recently this number is has been trending down not up. This is not an isolated trend in politics as Monroe County is more competitive than most. The rural counties around Monroe have far fewer contested races. There are many reasons for this from gerrymandering, to conservation of party resources, but I think that the real reason for our one party system falls on us the voters. Too often our only knowledge of a candidate is their party affiliation. Too often we let national party identifiers define local candidates. So we assume that the democrat is pro-choice and the republican pro-life or that republicans are gun lovers and democrats are for Obama Care. Thus we too often vote for a candidate not on qualifications, programs, or even performance but on party. This makes it almost impossible to defeat even the worst incumbent in a district with a majority for their party. The result is a one party rule almost where ever you are. The problem with this is that we are the losers when politics get stale. Lacking challenges our leaders have little incentive to tackle hard problems. They are not held accountable for their actions, and their is no discussion of alternative solutions to our problems. The solution is simple -- the voters need to start paying attention and become informed -- but this is never going to happen. There are just too many other things to do. Further we are too afraid that the other party will do terrible things if elected like take our guns, or turn our nation into a socialist state. So even though we all feel our current leaders are terrible we return them at rate higher than the Soviet Union did their Politburo! Unfortunately until we start voting against the incumbent there is little hope for real change.


Listen to Alex...

...on Transforming Rochester on Rochester Free Radio. You can see when it's on at the Rochester Free Radio show schedule.

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