Why do we need a Third Party?
Two major parties, the Democratic and Republican are really the same, just two sides of the same coin, when it comes to governing. In fact, they used to be called the Democratic-Republican Party in the late 18th century. "It's a scandal, really, because democracy should be about giving people alternatives and allowing peoples' voices to be heard. But the two parties collude to make sure that you don't get a third party," said Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's Global Public Square. Both parties have conditioned us in believing that a two-party system is best for the country - perhaps in the 20th century. Yet, we cannot continue to rely on a 200 year political model that is failing us.
It is difficult to fathom that a diverse society such as ours is represented by a very small elite group of people - primarily rich, old, white men with an average age of 62 years. Women comprise 20 percent of the Senate and 19 percent of the House of Representatives even though they make up 51 percent of the population. Twenty-four states have never had a female governor. African Americans have been in this country for centuries and represent 13% of the population, yet there are only two black senators in the 2013 Senate, only one of them elected, the second one was appointed. Furthermore, Hispanics make up 15% of the population but have only three senators, all male Cuban Americans. Meanwhile, Asians, who represent 5% of the population, have only one Senator, Hawaii's Mazie Hirono, a female.
The U.S. Senate has 67% and the House has 42% millionaires in comparison to about 3% in the U.S. With this in mind, it is only natural to ask: Can America's leaders truly appreciate the day-to-day struggles of the average citizen or unemployed college graduates? Can they identify with the financial pressures of raising a family, lack of job opportunities, student debt, quality education and healthcare for the children, saving for retirement--all at the same time?
The Democratic and Republican parties have turned their basic tenets upside down. Republicans are acting more like Democrats by offering UNFUNDED entitlements such as Medicare part D during President George W. Bush's presidency. On the other hand, Democrats want to outdo Republicans by catering to Wall Street, trampling on our civil liberties and spreading undeclared war to every country they please in the name of security.
By all accounts, both major parties are primarily interested in getting elected. Moreover, leaders of both major parties react to events on a short-term basis and with an eye on election cycles. There is no vision for America, just rhetoric and a blizzard of talking points. Both parties seem to be focused on dividing the country as red vs. blue, conservatives vs. liberals, doves vs. hawks; anything but uniting and leading the country.
One of the main assets we have in this country is our diversity that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. It is ironic that we are not fully utilizing our assets as our diverse population is underrepresented in our public deliberation. In fact, both major parties are stifling competition as reflected by an almost 80% incumbency rate in the house and the senate. It is time to think anew away from the past and introduce a third party, The People's Party of American™ that reflects mainstream American values and can bring us together.