Are political parties getting in the way of politics?
University of Missouri political science Associate Professor David Webber certainly thinks so. In a column for the Missourian, Webber makes the claim that “political parties are not necessary and cause more havoc in politics than they are worth.”
Supporting this notion is Webber’s plan for a reformed electoral process where candidates would no longer be required to file as aligned with a particular party. Webber’s idea would call for the top two vote-getters in the primary would then face off in the general election.
In his article, Webber goes on to explain the downfalls political parties present, such as officials that simply vote for the party’s position. He also suggests that by removing the party tags as outlined in his plan, voters would have to listen more to a candidate’s legislative thoughts and ideas during elections.
Webber notes that the idea would also bring about increased competition while reducing campaign and election costs.
Despite his allegations, Webber is not calling for the outright abolishment of political parties. He offers that they “continue to exist as political clubs and fraternal organizations but not as a key component of government.”
Have you seen movies set in the future with utopian and unified Earth-centric space societies that no longer concern themselves with political factions? (Akin to "Star Trek"’s singular and globally encompassing Federation Starfleet?)
I think abolishing political parties is the idea that leads to that outcome.
Obviously, the plan is not without some flaws. Webber may be underestimating the steep drop-off in voter turnout that would occur if political parties are no longer involved. I’m sure a sizeable percentage of those that vote merely check that ballot box that votes “All _____ party candidates.” I know I’ve done it before.
I’m not plugged in enough to know every candidate that is running for every office. Removing the party system would leave me with less information about those up for posts while adding more names to the potential primary pot.
I feel much better about blindly voting for a specific Democrat I’m unaware of than I would a Republican. If I wasn’t informed enough to make a decision about either candidate, I simply wouldn’t feel comfortable voting.
If voters are being essentially forced to be informed, there are many (like me) who would simply not vote. That goes against every idea behind the democratic process. Even uninformed votes count. Still, I like the radical thinking Webber displays. We need more of it.
And sorry for the "Star Trek" reference everyone. I outed myself as a nerd yet again. But seriously, if we get rid of political parties, get ready for a Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 in our future.