Exhibit A in the Case Against Party Government

The Democratic and Republican parties have so distorted our politics and government that many Americans are likely incapable of imagining that self-government is possible without the interference of the party apparatus.  At The Think 3 Institute, Sam Wilson reflects on the character of the "party state":
In every case, perhaps, a party-state exists, not only when one party monopolizes government and forbids opposition parties, but when government and politics themselves are imagined only in terms of parties -- when parties become the fundamental organizing principle of political life.
There is, of course, no mention of party or parties in the US Constitution.  But this likely is not the case in any number of state constitutions.  Consider the simplicity of the First Amendment to the US Constitution in the Bill of Rights:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Compare that with Article 1, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution's Bill of Rights:
No member of this state shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land, or the judgment of his or her peers, except that the legislature may provide that there shall be no primary election held to nominate candidates for public office or to elect persons to party positions for any political party or parties in any unit of representation of the state from which such candidates or persons are nominated or elected whenever there is no contest or contests for such nominations or election as may be prescribed by general law.
Party government is an aberration, a cancer in the US body politic. 

1 comment:

Samuel Wilson said...

And yet parties are not illegal, and their existence will always be defended on "freedom of association" grounds. But such rights as parties have don't oblige election law to recognize them. That is, there's no constitutional mandate for organizing elections and ballots along party lines. So why do we do so?