The following was lifted from PolitickerNJ. I agree with the conclusions: there are things that New Jersey can do to allow the establishment of alternative political parties. For too long New jersey has pandered to the Democrats and Republicans exclusively. If you want evidence just take a look and the congressional and legislative redistricting maps. They favor incumbents as long as they are from one of the two major parties.
There are several groups of people who have significant cohesiveness on general issues. Tea Party conservatives, Libertarians, and Greens are examples. All hold their noses when forced to choose from bad selections because their own candidates can’t get on the ticket. You might find a candidate here and there but the petition system, funding regulations, and other laws ensure that they can’t get elected.
If we want to encourage voting we need to encourage the ability of people to band together and vote for someone they believe in. To have otherwise is hypocrisy.
By the way, the author bemoans the fact that the two major British parties have lost membership. What he doesn’t say is that other parties have popped up to make up the difference. This is a good thing.
The political party system in Great Britain is showing signs of decline.
According to New Statesman “In 1951, 97 percent of the electorate voted for one of the two main parties in Britain. By 2010, this had fallen to 65 percent – and according to a new poll . . . just 59 percent of those who vote in May’s election will opt for Conservative or Labour.”
The article states further “the Conservatives and Labour could once boast of membership over two million. Today, the figure for both is under 200,000.”
America is on the same path to party decline. Federally, and throughout the states, including New Jersey, party strength is diminishing.
A Pew Research Center study found that 76 percent of the public identified themselves as Republican or Democrat in 1939. Just 18 percent considered themselves independent.
In 2012, only 56 percent were identifying themselves as Republican or Democrat, while 38 percent viewed themselves as independent.
The reasons for the weakening party systems differ between Britain and America.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in devolving power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, along with his support for proportional representation in European elections, created conditions favorable to the emergence of third parties.
Economic and social problems contributed as well.
In America, changes in political culture brought about an era of single-issue politics, which contributed to party decline.
Recently, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), or McCain/Feingold, and then Citizens United, facilitated party decline by ushering in a period of sustained growth in independent groups.
Independent spending, though at a modest level, began shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Buckley v. Valeo, 1976. That ruling allowed unlimited spending by wealthy individuals as long as it was independent.
The surge in independent spending, however, resulted from the McCain/Feingold reforms, which eliminated unlimited soft money contributions to parties, thereby redirecting money to independent groups.
Citizens United, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, lifted a ban on corporate and labor independent spending. By doing so, it furthered the trend ignited by McCain Feingold.
Between 2002 and 2008, two years prior to Citizens United, and following McCain/Feingold, independent spending grew by over 1,000 percent.
After Citizens United, and the emergence of Super PACs, independent groups, in many instances sponsored by wealthy individuals, spent more than $1.7 billion nationally.
This trend did not by-pass New Jersey. As in other states, independent spending soared in the Garden State.
During the 2013 gubernatorial and legislative elections over $41 million was spent by outs