Why do we have a two-party system?
Because it’s in the Constitution. Right?
Wrong. The Constitution is not only vague about political parties, I can’t find a sentence in the nation’s document about a single political party.
I am an independent. That means that I do not belong to any political party. Independents bug Democrats and Republicans alike.
Both parties would have us all believe this democratic republic would wither and die without a two-party system.
That’s the way the parties try to make themselves absolutely necessary. They aren’t.
But here’s the way I see the Constitution: Each state can come up with a way to elect and send to Washington two senators and the number of representatives the federal government allows that state.
In the case of West Virginia, the number of representatives is three. I am so old I remember when we sent five — or maybe six. That was before Mountain Mama began to shrivel up and die.
When it comes to the presidency, I believe — but not sure — the Constitution says every state will hold an election on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November every four years, not to elect a president but to elect electors who will go to Washington later to elect a president.
None of this rigmarole has anything to do with Democrats or Republicans or any other party.
Primaries? Absolutely not necessary and not prescribed by the Constitution. They are creations of political parties, as are party conventions.
What say we do away with parties and primary elections and allow everyone who wants to run for any political office to put their names on the ballot and, once the elections are over, count everything and the one who gets the most votes gets the office he or she seeks.
Too complicated, you say? Too chaotic? Remember this: In most presidential elections, about 42 percent of the registered voters don’t vote. Most of those people would say they don’t vote because the candidates of neither party appeal to them and they don’t see either party sending up candidates in the primary election who are worthy to be elected.
I have been an independent for 50 years, and there hasn’t been an election during that time when I haven’t had to hold my nose more than once when I pulled a lever.
I know nothing will change just because I suggest a more democratic way of holding elections. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have more than two parties or no parties at all.
If the parties disappear, there would be less hanky panky and, I suspect, a lot less political stupidity.