Most everyone suggests America has a “broken” political system. Third Party movements embrace the “broken” idea and hope to ride it to power. However, few critics identify specific problem areas. Even candidate Trump was no more specific than “Trust me, I will drain the swamp” and he did the exact opposite.
So let’s define some of the political changes over the last two or three decades that have bent American democracy.
First change was Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes” pledge: Norquist’s pledge polemics found many Republican adherents in the late 1980s. Strict adherence to this policy meant that your local representative no longer represented your local needs in education, transportation or public health, but now danced to an ideological song.
Second nomination goes to Citizens United: a clever ploy to allow corporations to dump vast amounts of money into the political system. Time Magazine reports the Koch machine alone plans to spend a record setting $400 million this election cycle. Such money put a heavy thumb on the scales of justice. The recent tax bill gave the rich and the corporations which benefited from Citizens United an extra $1 trillion dollars to spend in the political system.
A third major shift was the Hastert Rule, which says that all bills in the House must pass the Republican caucus before they can be brought to the floor and voted on. Bipartisanship has no role. If pundits and third party advocates confine their criticisms to the label “partisan politics,” then they really don’t know the specifics of what has changed in recent decades and hence how they would correct it. Third party advocates are particularly handicapped because Citizens United makes it almost impossible for them to get their message out. Unless they covertly attach themselves to the Koch monies.
Editor's Note: This letter originally appeared in the March 8th print edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent, and is now on line here, and has been re-posted on this blog with the author's permission.