The United Blog

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

— John Adams, Letter to Jonathan Jackson (2 October 1780)

Many Americans criticize our two-party system. But how specifically can we address it? Is it written in law?

Not exactly. One of the causes is media treatment, like inviting only the two major party candidates to debate. Another is our social expectations.

But there’s more to it than that. There are major structural reasons for our partisanship.

It’s in the game theory

Consider that even if a candidate only gets 51% of their district’s vote, they still win. Now they speak for the whole district, including those who didn’t vote for them.

This leads to extra high-stakes elections. You either win and get it all, or lose and go home with nothing.

No wonder campaigns can become so nasty.

No wonder politicians take money from groups they’d otherwise rather not owe favors.

A two-party duopoly

Individuals want a voice, but strategy says that picking a third party is “throwing away your vote”.

We’re pressured to pick the lesser of two evils, instead of how we really feel.

Social choice theory shows how our election rules entrench a two-party landscape.

But a liquid democratic system is different

Instead of winner-take-all, representation becomes proportional.

51% of support from the electorate means 51% of voting power in the legislature.

Everyone else, including minority candidates, can still have a voice.

Citizens become free to choose representatives right for them

Representation is no longer limited to those at the top of the ballot, picked by the party elite. And with much lower barrier to entry, we can work with more ideas than the standard two-party platforms.

It’s foolish to keep pretending there are only two sides. Liquid democracy offers us a way out.

Best of all, thanks to United.vote, we can now transition to liquid democracy without needing to first pass new laws.

Join us. Help create more options.

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David Ernst


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