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Government Reform: Independents and Third Parties

INDEPENDENT AND THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATES

There is currently a debate about whether the government should take steps to make it more possible for independent and third-party candidates to compete in Congressional elections.

Here is an argument in favor of making it more possible for independent and third-party candidates to compete in Congressional elections.
1. If there were more independent and third-party members of Congress, the two big parties would not be so powerful. They would be less able to drive Congress into gridlock. The big parties would have to be more flexible and less ideological so as to form coalitions on specific issues with the non-aligned members. Sometimes, the non-aligned members would be a swing vote that could break through an impasse or introduce a new idea. Also, voters who are not enthusiastic about either of the big parties, would finally have a real voice in Congress.
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Here is an argument against making it more possible for independent and third-party candidates to compete in Congressional elections
2. There is no need to make efforts to help out independent and third-party candidates. We already have some independent members of Congress, and we have had more than two parties for a long time. Nothing forces someone to pick one of the two major parties if they don’t want to. Third parties should build themselves up by grassroots organizing and fielding good candidates for local offices instead of focusing on tweaking the rules in their favor. It is also not clear that having independent or third-party members of Congress will necessarily lead to consensus. Some of them could be more extreme than the big parties, and with more players in the field, it might be even harder to find common ground.
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