Fix-It Friday (late): Primary Elections

I know this is a few days late, but I am in paper-season for school.  Sue me.

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This.  This was the field that we started with, as of July 6th, 2015.  Five old, white Democrats and fifteen diverse Republicans.  How did it get down to two of the worst of these?  The primary process.  While Hillary’s fraudulent theft of the primary process is fairly well-documented (The Observer,HuffPoThe Political Insider, need I go on?), Trump’s rise to President-elect continues to baffle pundits and pollsters alike.  Let me help enlighten them – it started with the primary process.

As I have written before, open primaries provided the opportunity for Trump to succeed.  Approximately 38% of the Trump vote in the primaries were registered Democrats (RedState). Much of that came in the open primaries, the ones where people can vote on either side of the primary ballot for all of the positions for which they are choosing.  Numerous articles have been written about the crazy primary process and Trump’s growing momentum, but not many have focused on how to change the system.  Why do Republicans even bother with a primary in California which hasn’t gone red in the general election since Reagan sweep of Mondale?  Why do Texans put up with Democrat nominees polluting our air space with their campaigning when we haven’t gone blue since 1976 for Carter?

My proposition is rather simple.  Primaries should be held in the biggest strongholds for that party based on the previous presidential election results in order of win percentages.

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Credit: Five Thirty-Eight

For example, based on the chart above of the 2012 results, Utah and Washington, DC should have had the first primaries in 2016 – Utah for the GOP and DC for the Dems.  Then, Wyoming and Hawaii, Oklahoma and Vermont, and so on.  This allows those who are most likely going to support the vote to decide the best candidate for their party.  Instead, we see Iowa (a notorious swing state) and New Hampshire narrowing the fields of both sides of the aisle.  I would also be open to a variation on my plan to include a weighting based on electoral votes at stake.  In that case, Texas would be the first for the GOP and California would be up for the Dems.

There are a couple of reasons that this percentage-based system would work better than our current one.  First, it allows the base of the party to help weed the field.  How on earth someone like Lindsay Graham can call themselves a Republican next to someone like Rand Paul is beyond me.  Clearly, the party isn’t quite as unified as it once was.

Second, this eliminates the power of swing states in the primaries.  The states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Iowa typically get all of the attention in the General Election.  Why not let the other states that are deeply entrenched in party politics get some love too?  Plus, the trips to the deeply red/blue states would allow those front-runners to work up some fundraising without spending oodles of those funds on traveling to meet more boosters.

One reason that primaries typically start with Iowa and New Hampshire is that they are easy to campaign in.  Why run all over a huge state like Texas when New Hampshire is about the size of the DFW metroplex.  While I will concede that point, I just don’t think New Hampshire should be a deciding factor in choosing who the GOP candidate for President will be when they likely won’t go red in November.

I value the notion of equality as much as the next guy, yet our country has gotten so big that allowing the small percentage of Illinois Republicans to help choose the candidate is unfair to the tried and true conservative branch of the party.  Ted Cruz got tremendous flak for using the phrase “New York values” in one of the GOP debates.  The reality is that most Texas Democrats are more conservative than many New York Republicans.  This is what Cruz meant.  There is a disparity between these factions.  Wouldn’t it be more conducive to purity of party (and hopefully the rise of third party groups) to maintain certain ideals for the party platform?  As such, wouldn’t it make sense to choose someone who appeals to those pure ideals, and the people who back them, with a percentage-based primary election?

I feel like I have rambled long enough on this.  Please like, comment, or share this with others.

-Bee

Fix-It Friday:Withholding Withholding

I am trying out a new segment.  Every Friday (if I could ever get consistent with this thing) I will post on small steps that I think we should take in order to fix several of the problems we currently have.  For my first “Fix-It Friday,” I have decided to tackle taxes.  You know, just something small.  🙂

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Courtesy of Getty Images

This will not cover all future tax reforms that I hope to eventually get to, but it is the very first step in changing our tax system.  It is actually a very simple fix – stop withholding.  That’s it.  Just outlaw withholding.  The government can no longer take your money before you even get to see your pay stub.  Your employer files fewer, and less complicated, forms.  And, the best part of all, everyone’s tax bill comes due once a year.  This will drastically change the way people see taxes.

Quick history lesson on withholding:  Instances of withholding (and its almost immediate defeat) have occurred in 1862, 1894, and 1913 before Social Security was established in 1935, which brought withholding of the Social Security contribution.  When the nation’s tax bill jumped from less than $1 billion in 1940 to more than $19 billion in 1945 due to our participation in World War II, Milton Friedman and his Treasury department cohorts decided to install a pay-as-you-go system in order to keep up with the war machine’s demands.  Thus, in 1943, federal income tax went to a withholding system.  (Credit for this information and to find more information about withholding, go to “Modern Origins of Modern Income Tax Withholding” by Robert Higgs).

The Treasury Department openly admitted in this fact sheet on the history of taxes in America that withholding, while it may make tax collection easier, it “also greatly reduced the taxpayer’s awareness of the amount of tax being collected, i.e. it reduced the transparency of the tax, which made it easier to raise taxes in the future.”  Of course, in December of 2010, the Treasury Department “updated” this information, excluding the admission above.

If we were to stop withholding, each and every citizen would get to see exactly how much their “fair share” of the tax burden is.  They might actually take an interest in the annual budgetary process in DC and be more concerned about how their hard-earned money is being spent.  As an added benefit, more people would get interested in the possibility of a limited government, and who doesn’t love that?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this very preliminary, very first step in changing both the way people see taxes and the way they see government spending.

-Bee

“Vote Your Conscience!”

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Comstock Images via Getty Images

It’s that season!  Blood pressure rising.  Empty threats yelled at the television.  Disappointment in your chosen team.  Cheers, jeers, and beers!  No, not football.  It’s voting season!  Here in Texas, early voting started Monday, and apparently, there is already voter tampering going on in the Lone Star State for the Democrats.  Shocker!

So, what is this hard-core conservative Millennial going to do when she enters the voting booth?  I have decided to write in Ted Cruz.  Let me now provide your side of the conversation:

“You know you are only helping Hillary win.”

“Hillary will destroy this country.”

“Think of the Supreme Court vacancies.”

“What are you, pro-choice?”

Let me help you understand.  I don’t remember Reagan.  As a 1982-born Reagan baby, I don’t actually remember Reagan.  I remember my parents furiously trying to protect me from the Lewinsky-Clinton sex scandal during my early teen years.  My first trip to the voting booth was in 2000 when I turned 18 and proudly voted for W.  Since about 2005/2006, however, I started my journey into disenfranchisement with the Republican party with W.’s weak stance against growing globalism and his passive attitude towards the fights I felt were important – the Supreme Court nominees for one.  When Obama came on the scene, the American public was practically frothing at the mouth to show its racism by electing a man based on his skin color alone.  It didn’t hurt that there was a big fat “D” next to his name which departed drastically from the man whom he would replace. For the next two elections, we conservatives were told to hold our noses and accept mediocre candidates who had proven their lukewarm relationships with conservatism in their Senatorial and Gubernatorial careers.

The lesson I learned from these two elections was that the primaries are important, and every vote counts – unless you live in one of the states that comes after Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in the primary election calendar.   By Super Tuesday, the primary races were done.  A candidate had been chosen.  What was the use of voting in the primaries when you weren’t a fringe state that offered only a handful of electoral votes in the general election?  This year proved only a slight difference.  First, again states that offer little to the GOP cause in November are put early in the primary calendar <I get the point is that these states are easy to campaign in, but if they aren’t accurately reflecting the GOP constituency, what is the point?!?!>.  Second, the use of open primaries allows Dems to sabotage the efforts of the right to choose a candidate.

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In the open contests, Trump did much better than in the closed primaries.  Was this directly because of Democrats tampering with the GOP process?  I don’t know, but I wouldn’t put it past them when they pick the criminal they have for candidate.  Thus, the primary process has always been a problem for me.  I don’t understand why states like New York and Illinois have any say in the primaries picking the Republican candidate when they never vote GOP in the general election.  This process elected a candidate who has supported Democrats for decades to get political favors.  This process elected a candidate who is first and foremost a salesman who will tell the crowd whatever he thinks they want to hear.  This process elected a candidate who does not represent the conservative values consistently.  Trump openly declares he will trounce all over the Constitution as much as Obama, but he will do it for conservatism, which makes it okay.

It wasn’t Trump himself, however, that led me to my conclusion I could not vote Republican this election cycle.  It was the Texas Senate District 3 Delegates – Neil Katz, George Flint, and Carroll Maxwell that have moved me to renounce party allegiance and “Vote my conscience!” as Ted called all of us to do.  In a tea party meeting shortly after the GOP National Convention in July, these three men who were supposed to go to the convention and act as my voice, commented on their disappointment with Ted Cruz in not endorsing Trump by name.  While this may seem innocuous to some, it means everything to me.  For years, conservatives have been calling for men and women of principle to stage a coup of the “establishment” Republicans in Congress who are gunking up the works with back room deals and compromises with Democrats.  Yet, when one literally stands in front of the nation and declares his commitment to the Constitution over political clout, his adherence to principle over party pressure, his devotion to his family over a scrap of paper, the party turns their backs on him and labels him a “sore loser.”  I didn’t, and still don’t, understand that.  He did exactly what he should have done.  In fact, I haven’t been back to a political meeting since because of this inconsistency.

As for me, I will be voting Ted Cruz for President this year and any other year that he decides to run.  I would rather stand on principle and watch the entire nation crumble (which I am also kind of hoping will happen if only to invigorate the #Texit movement) than vote for a man who is just as much of a liar and manipulator as Hillary.  All I would like to say to the rest of you is “Vote Your Conscience!!!”

-Bee

Ted Cruz Proves his Genius Once Again

Senator Ted Cruz’s speech at the Republican National Convention last night will go down in the history books.  His refusal to formally endorse Trump as the Republican nominee has pushed buttons all over social media, the drive-by media and their talking heads, and in the building in Cleveland last night.  Why would he commit what some are calling “political suicide” if all he had to do was say one simple sentence?  Let’s take a closer look at this stance from a couple of perspectives.

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First, let’s examine this from the perspective of Cruz’s supporters, the actual conservatives who believe in limited government, the Constitution, and freedom.  To get a better picture of this group, let’s take a look at how Bernie Sanders’ supporters reacted when the Vermont Senator endorsed Hillary.  The word “sell-out” seems to be a fun new nickname for the geezer from the northeast.  The principles for which Socialists like the Berns stand are not found in Hillary Clinton, so his support of her is mere political expediency.  Sanders saw the support of the she-beast as his only way to retain big money donors in coming election cycles under the umbrella of the DNC.  Now, let’s turn back to Cruz.  An endorsement of Trump would have held the same baggage for Cruz as Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary.  It would have been unprincipled, especially if Cruz doesn’t fully trust Trump, which he doesn’t and neither do Cruz’s supporters as evidenced by the fight to release delegates from their pledges which was largely driven by the #CruzCrew.  Cruz’s endorsement also would have put him in the ranks of the establishment, his sworn enemy.  Cruz was elected here in Texas because he promised (and completely followed through on his assertion) that as Senator of Texas he would follow the Constitution and his own conscious and principles regardless of the political cost.  His supporters were reaffirmed last night in their faith that at least one person in Washington has not lost sight of his job description.

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Now, let’s turn to the Trump supporters, those who are tired of political correctness and illegal immigration and an economy continually being ruined by the Democrats.  Cruz and Trump have very little in common in terms of style.  Where Trump is loud and dismissive to opposition, Cruz is more even-keeled and contemplative about other viewpoints.  They may overlap on some policy issues like illegal immigration and veterans’ benefits, but their styles make them strikingly different and attract different supporters.  Most Trump supporters would never have voted for Cruz anyway, so there was little risk in alienating them, especially in Cruz’s home state of Texas where Trump lost handily.  Therefore, Cruz’s withholding of a formal announcement of support for Trump just fires the Trumpsters up, gets them motivated to get the vote out, probably securing the victory for Trump in November.  Yes, I am actually saying that Cruz probably just won the election for Trump by not endorsing the nominee.  Look at Facebook or Twitter to see all you need as to how hot and fired up Trump supporters are today.  There is no way they are not going to be defending Trump as a great candidate from here until election day.  Likewise, those who were on the fence now feel compelled to defend the party nominee.

media cartoon Credit: Steve Greenberg

Finally, let’s look at everyone else.  The Republican establishment received the message that Cruz is not under their thumb and will continue to call out the lies of McConnell (why do you continue to send him to Washington, Kentucky???  WHY?!?!?!) or follow lock-step with what GOPe leaders say, especially after rumors of extortion by the RNC of Cruz for his endorsement were swirling last night.  Win for Cruz.  Trump gets to look like the one being bullied for once in his life and surely the only time in his political career.  Win for Trump.  Trump also gets to look magnanimous for “allowing” Cruz to run with this speech sans endorsement.  Win for Trump.  The media will be talking about this conflict or tension or whatever you want to call it for a couple of weeks keeping both Cruz and Trump on everyone’s mind heading into the DNC convention week.  Every minor conflict and Bernie Sanders commentary will include a reference now to Cruz and Trump.  Win Republicans, Cruz, and Trump.  Cruz got to send a message to Trump saying that I will still be here in the Senate making sure that you follow the Constitution.  Win America and Cruz.  If Trump does happen to fail – either in November or in his presidency, Cruz will be one of the only politicians who stood for principles over political power, conviction over likability or popularity.  And he will be able to gloat, though he won’t.  He is too classy to do that.  Cruz win.  If Trump does succeed in November and in a Trump presidency, Cruz can still choose to support Trump later, once he has earned the support in the mind of Cruz (and a great many conservative #CruzCrew members).  Trump and Cruz win.  As one last point, Cruz was able to get Trump supporters to admit openly that Trump is not the candidate who will protect freedom or who will uphold the Constitution.  Cruz for the win!

Send me your thoughts on Cruz’s speech!

– Bee

“Secede? Y’all Are Lucky We Don’t Invade!”

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I know you have probably seen the news articles from about two weeks ago that discussed the “fringe” group at the Texas GOP Convention that rallied for a vote on secession.  Many of you who aren’t from here probably think secession talk is nuts.  Others of you probably welcome the idea of eliminating the one stick-in-the-mud state who is constantly halting “progress” and suing the federal government.  So, let’s unpack the secession discussion from the floor of the convention to the historical precedent to the current situation.

First, it is important to note that the discussion on the floor of the convention was equally passionate on both sides of the issue.  Proponents were not advocating for secession, per se, but merely allowing a vote to be put before the Texas voters on whether the Lone Star State should return to its republic roots.  Because the rules of the convention allowed only for three speakers for and three speakers against the amendment that would add language for a vote on Texas independence, the delegates did not get to hear much from the extensive lines behind each of the four microphones.  The green and red lights indicating speakers for and against blazed hotly at the GOP Chairman Tom Mechler* who struggled to keep the convention on track to discuss more of the Texas platform.  Of those we did hear from, I noticed the speakers who fought against the amendment argued of their American heritage or veteran status superseding their Texas ones.  And the age of the anti-independence orators was markedly older than the secession proponents.  For this delegate, it seemed that the baby boomers who served in Vietnam were the loudest group against a secession vote mostly because they want to keep their veteran’s benefits.  This might be a bit of a leap, but my next post will dive deeper into the generational gap that exists in the Republican party, in general, and the convention, specifically.  While the amendment was voted down, it was an extremely close vote suggesting that the “fringeness” of the pro-secession group is not quite so extreme or liminal as first reported by more liberal sources.

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Now comes the historical understanding of Texas independence.  Most of you should know that Texas was its own country before being annexed to the United States not long before the Civil War – don’t worry, we are getting there.  A handful of countries recognized Texas as an independent nation, some even exchanging ambassadors at embassies located here.   So, how did Texas gain independence from Mexico?  Stephen F. Austin actually led 300 settlers (called the Old Three Hundred) to settle Texas territory from the US.  They went to ask the Spanish governor, got permission, then had to request settlement again from the newly independent Mexican government just about the same time they were attempting to settle.  Ruffled by the number of Americans coming to settle in Texas, the Mexican government sought further control which wasn’t exactly consistent with the settlers’ ideal circumstances.  In 1836, Texas declared Independence.  This is where modern Texans derive their secession beliefs from, not the Civil War.  Knowing our ancestors fought off Mexican armies as mere settlers gives Texans the confidence and swagger for which we are often derided.

The US just scooped up the “poor, war-torn” Texas then, right?  Not really.  Within Texas there was a faction, led by Mirabeau B. Lamar, that desired a sustained Republic of Texas that would continue to expand west to the Pacific.  It was feasible, but not a popularly-held belief.  The majority, however, assented to reluctant annexation by the United States as yet another slave state.  Soon, the slavery situation came to a head and secession became a Southern phenomenon.  While universities and Yankee textbooks often discuss the Civil War as a conflict over the morality of slavery, Southerners see the issues of states rights and state sovereignty.  We can see the truth in the Southern viewpoint with the change of terms surrounding the name of the Union.  Before the Civil War, people would say, “The United States are…”; whereas after the war, it became, “The United States is…”  While this may not seem significant, the change of tense from plural, indicating multiple sovereign states, to singular, indicating a single government, shows the seat of power shift from the multiple states that make up the country to the federally-held positions in the nation’s capitol.  Also, noteworthy here is the fact that Yankee politicians banned Southerners from holding national public office for decades after the war.  So much for “We the People.”

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Where does that bring us to today?  With Obama’s considerable pile of executive orders ranging on issues from immigration status to gun control, Texans, who often take lead in decisive actions against the federal government, have begun to reach peak levels of frustration.  How else do you explain someone like Donald Trump reaching such heights in political realms?  For those of you who do not like Texas or Texans with our mix of Southern charm and Wild West tenacity, you look forward to a possible secession and the, what you consider to be inevitable, demise of Texas.

What you might not know, however, is that Texas has the 8th (or 12th, depending on the metric you use) largest economy in the world, not the country, the WORLD.  If Texas’ jobs weren’t included in calculations, the US would have a negative job growth rate, meaning we are creating more jobs than you lose.  What that means for you folks in the rest of the country is that, if we leave, you would be the ones who would economically collapse.  Texas has been building a gold depository in the past couple of years.  Why, you may ask?  So we can print money.  What should we bet that Texas dollars will be more valuable than American ones after secession?  Economically, Texas has the advantage.

Should we even discuss military?  Texas disproportionately sends her sons and daughters into harms way for America at large.  This does not even account for the bazillions of guns y’all think we store up or carry around like Pez dispensers.  Plus, we have training posts or military bases for all branches of our Armed Services right here at home.

All this isn’t to say that we are knocking on the door of Independence.  I don’t think the majority of Texans would vote to secede, partly because we have been infiltrated by refugees from liberal states that can’t keep companies from relocating to warmer, and more profitable, climes.  All Texas really wants with the threat of secession is to make the point that our values are no longer represented, and that we should have the ability to self-determine our state’s path within the context of the US without fear of breach of the Constitution by the federal government.  Pull back so each state can self-regulate.  Massachusetts can have their gay marriage.  California can fund painting their cities in urine-resistant paint so the homeless can piss on everything.  Washington can support death with dignity euthanasia laws.  Leave Texas to be the last bastion of self-governance.

– Bee

*It is worthy to note that Tom Mechler, Texas GOP Chairman, was challenged by a pro-secession advocate from Houston Jared Woodfill.  While the challenge was unsuccessful, the vote, which was rather close, showed some dissension among the GOP ranks.

Convention Time!

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Over these past few days, I had the privilege of attending the Republican Party of Texas Convention and seeing this man – the Honorable Ted Cruz!  He spoke on Saturday afternoon along with a full slate of other speakers – mostly state Republicans, but also Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.  It was encouraging to see so many conservatives (over 7,000 delegates and alternates!!!) with roughly the same belief system as I have.  The purpose of the state convention is to vote-in representation for the state and national party governance and set the party platform (those ideals and legislative directives to which GOP elected officials can be held accountable – I will post more on that another time).  In the Republican Party, we have a State Republican Executive Committee which consists of one committeeman and one committeewoman from each state senatorial district as well as a National Republican Committee which also consists of one committeeman and one committeewoman from each state.  There are a State Chair and State Vice-Chair for the party, too.  And because this is a presidential election year, we also needed three delegates and three alternates to the National Convention in addition to a representative for the electoral college in November.  So, lots of voting…

Voting isn’t so bad when it moves along and accomplishes something.  These votes did neither, not really.  Almost every incumbent re-upped their “contract” with the Texas delegates.  Yet, the attitude around the convention was that we, the People, weren’t being well-represented by the national party for at least the past four years.  I wondered, if people felt this way, why would you choose to return the same two people to the national party as committeeman/woman if you aren’t happy with the results???  I don’t know much about either representative Robin Armstrong or Toni Anne Dashiell or their challengers Rick Figueroa and Denise McNamera, but I do know that if something is not working well, you should fix it.  It seemed that there was an established elite who ran things, and they had overwhelming support.  This even happened in my congressional district’s elections for National Convention delegates and alternates.  For each “anointed” candidate, two highly-visible, well-respected party members or elected officials spoke in favor of their candidacy, and the candidates were summarily elected without much fanfare with one exception.  I honestly am not plugged into enough of the fifteen or so meetings that many of the other delegates attend each month, so I probably do not have a clear picture of the process or dynamics yet.  However, it seemed that a small handful of people were doing everything, getting elected to everything, and controlling everything.   Isn’t that the problem everyone was railing against?

I will say that I am very lucky to live in a state where our “establishment” is probably the most conservative on the planet.  I certainly live in a senatorial district and congressional district that supports conservative ideas, thankfully.  So, to wrap up, I will offer my highlights and low points of the convention:

Highlights – hearing Ted Cruz/Dan Patrick/Greg Abbott speak, meeting Dan Patrick, getting a picture with Ken Paxton, listening to debate on the general session floor over Texas secession (next post, I promise), wondering how many of the attendees had been in ‘Nam, meeting some really amazing fellow conservatives

Low Points – listening to two hours of debate on the rules of the republican party, hearing people complain about establishment politicians, the length of the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in which the convention took place (walking around that place hurt my feet), maneuvering around the hundreds (maybe more like one hundred) scooters/rascals/etc. along with the 6,000 others who weren’t riding them

Hillary v. Trump: Or is it?

As of Tuesday night, the last chance at a traditional GOP candidate suspended his campaign and dropped from the race.  In Reagan-like fashion, Ted Cruz conceded the field of battle but not the war for America.  I have heard all over Twitter, Facebook, and talk radio people panicking about the prospect of a Hillary vs. Trump general election.  So, let’s think this thing through.

First scenario, we actually face Hillary and Trump in the general election.  The true conservatives and/or the Millennials don’t vote, and we have a toss up as to who gets the presidency.  Not ideal.

Second scenario, Trump actually convinces (via Twitter, mind you) Bernie that he should run independent when Hillary steals the nomination.  (Trump is actually very calculated occasionally and is – at least to my mind – pressing Bernie to run third-party in order to split the Hillary vote).  So, we have the options of Bernie v. Hillary v. Trump which ends in a President Trump.  Better than having a chance of Hillary as president.

Third scenario, Trump convinces Bernie as above, but a big-name conservative politician like a Ted Cruz or a talk radio personality like Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin creates a new party that advocates the conservative principles that are so lacking in the Republican Party, that led to the #NeverTrump movement, that used to be the basis of American values.  This situation would have a Bernie v. Hillary v. Trump v. ???? race in November.  It would be a toss-up, but it would also be a better reflection of the constituency.

With two options for president that are not palatable to a majority of the country, this election cycle provides an amazing opportunity to add to the political landscape in the form of additional parties.  We are the only industrialized country in the world with only two parties.  There are five major parties in Germany, eight in Sweden, and six in the UK.  With only two parties, we have cronyism at its worst.  Back-room deals to ensure power remains among the political class are commonplace.  Average Americans are no longer the concern.  If you disagree, look at the underbelly that Ted Cruz exposed in the past four years of service.  Senator Mitch McConnell telling the party senators one thing and turning around and dealing against the party ideals in the next vote.

Not only are Americans sold up the river for DC power chips, but demographics prove that we cannot settle for one of two options.  Our country’s diversity demands more parties.  How can we have over 300 million people of practically every nation of origin and yet only two real options for president?  Even if we add only a single party to the mix at the national level of politics, it will be something to celebrate.  It is more important that the civil servants we elect to represent us do exactly that – represent us – than for a handful of Washington elites maintain power over the country and us.