Here in the U.S., we have two dominant parties: a moderate-right (the Democrats) who generally support individual liberties but don't want to do anything big that might upset business (although they do support modest improvements, such as an increase in the minimum wage), and a far-right (the Republicans) who essentially want to complete the transition to an plutocracy, where big business has total control (including severe limits on the ability of ordinary people to sue corporations for the damage they do).

In reality the specific shape of the parties is more complex, as both support the so-called War on Drugs (really a war on freedom), and even the Democrats tend to go along with whatever large corporations want.  The Democrats are much more inclusive, appointing diverse people at all levels, including open gays and lesbians, from Ambassador on down.  The Republicans still refuse to accept that gays and lesbians have the same human rights as anyone else. 

There are a number of serious structural problems in the U.S. political system which cause government to be generally tilted towards the interests of large corporations and right-wing policies in general and away from the concerns and needs of the majority of the people.  This has alienated many people from politics, who feel it a futile endeavor.

Chief among these, in my opinion, are the voting method, and financing.


Our winner-take-all voting method has been shown by analysis to produce an undesirable outcome in more cases that most other voting systems.  In any situation where there are more than two candidates it is likely that the majority of voters split amongst a group of candidates, allowing a fringe to give a plurality to one less preferred by the majority. 

Consider also an election where multiple people are running, two of whom are a major party and thus most likely to win.  If you vote for anyone else, you are in effect wasting your vote, potentially allowing the worse of the two to win.  As a result you'd be understandably reluctant to vote for the candidate you prefer, which leads observers to perceive lower support than may actually exist for the candidate.

Now consider a system where there are no primaries or run-offs, but instead one election wherein voters rank the candidates in order of preference.  Such a preferential-voting method allows the most-desired candidate to win, provides an accurate picture of each candidate's support, and as a bonus shortens the campaign.  Systems such as this are in use in several places, including Australia.

The mechanics of a preferential-voting system are fairly simple: each voter ranks candidates from most to least preferred, rating as many candidates as desired (from one to as many as are running).  When the votes are tallied, each voter's number one choice is used.  The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and all ballots listing that candidate as number one now have their number two votes applied.  The process continues until one candidate is left.  The winner is thus the one most desired by a majority of the voters.


The problems with our system of campaign financing are well-known.  Candidates must spend considerable amounts of time raising vast sums of money from corporations, wealthy individuals, and PACs.  At its most benign, this leads to excessive chumminess between candidates and donors,