65 Comments

  • CCRLH85

    This video hit on all the major points. I agree that we can't simply outlaw political parties without breaking our democracy but, we also can't seem to break their stranglehold on politics without a major change to the voting system itself.

    In regard to that last point, the Maine experiment should prove enlightening this year, as long as their state legislature doesn't continue to try to make it fail. If we start to see higher turn out and other positive factors (more representative government, etc.) there with RCV maybe it'll start to spread.

  • HorzaPanda

    I'm a big fan of political pluralism! The current system pushes you to either support all the policies of one party or the other and does a lot to push that us vs them partisanship. Multiple parties means multiple viewpoints are viable, valid even, which I feel is really important to a healthy democracy.

  • Kurapika92

    North America definitely needs more political parties and in order to do that, we need proportional representation. In BC, Canada, we have an opportunity to change our voting system this fall with a referendum to abolish the first past the post "winner take all" voting system and replace it with some form of PR. More political parties are needed because there is not enough representation of citizens with only 2 parties and I'd rather have a government that needed its parties to work together to come up with solutions to work for more people than how it is now where parties can ignore the rights and voices of the people.

  • Lama Jigme Gyatso: Meditate Like a Jedi

    ranked choice voting, and destroy the two party duopoly by returning debates to the league of woman voters

  • mslindqu

    Thank you for following up on your previous video with this one. Political parties are definitely obviously responsible for many of the problems in our political system. Also they add to people's unwillingness to discuss politics for fear of getting into an argument. That's not good for democracy.

  • Laptopgirl42

    in my opinion, it's not political parties that are the problem, but the electoral college. sure, the electoral college was a good idea back in 1789 when it took months to get from one end of the country to the other, but these days, it's just outdated. furthermore, as the elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and (most controversially), 2016 it doesn't reflect the wishes of the majority of the population and actively works against them. maybe you could do a future episode on the electoral college? (no pressure 😉 )

  • Matthew McMahan

    If anyone wants more in depth info on how voting systems can allow multiple parties I recommend CGP Grey's videos on voting.

  • Eric Vilas

    Yes, absolutely. The US political system needs to be rewritten so that spoilers aren't such a massive factor and that people can actually vote for parties that support their beliefs. Sure, people say "oh but the Arrow Impossibility Theorem says that no voting system could ever be perfect" and yes, that's true, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to achieve the best possible system we can make.

    I'm personally partial to these reforms:

    1) make House elections multi-seat to simplify stuff and stop the whole "depending on where you live, your vote might count for more or for less" thing (I don't know enough about multi-seat voting to have an opinion on the voting system that should be used, and you would lose some grassroots candidate excitement for people like Ocasio-Cortez but I think it would be a net improvement)
    2) adopt Approval Voting for the presidency nationwide, with a top-2 runoff as a failsafe (it's not the best system, but it is one of the better combinations of simplicity + improvement over what we have now)
    3) either abolish the Electoral College or at the very least have them send proportional candidates, nationwide.

    No single state has any incentive to actually go through with it, especially with #3, so this needs to be a congress-pushed thing.

  • Matthew McMahan

    Sadly the answer is not that easy. When it comes to electing representatives you can achieve electing multiple parties. Although in presidential elections it will always come down to 2 political parties in the primary elections.

  • Viola Brockman

    I like the observation of the value of non-plurality voting systems, but I do think it's worth mentioning that there are other alternatives than what is referred to in the video as "Ranked Choice Voting", which is actually a specific type of ranking system known as Instant Runoff Voting (or sometimes Hare) and causes quite a few odd outcomes as is illustrated here: http://zesty.ca/voting/sim/
    This illustrates the importance of a good voting system, since in certain elections different systems lead to vastly different results.
    (My favorite system is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote, but, like every voting system (see: the Gibbard–Satterthwaite Theorem, Arrow's Impossibility Theorem) it also has its flaws)

  • Jeremy A.

    Fair Vote (http://www.fairvote.org) is the organization that got ranked voting passed in Maine. They've succeeded elsewhere and are gaining momentum. Democrats and Republicans hate this idea because they love gerrymandering and first-past-the-post voting: it keeps them in power! Get better elections and we'll get better government.

  • Tsagan

    Ranked choice voting will get you that. Stop the "wasting" of votes. Parties only reflect the people they represent. More parties mean more representation. Also voting day should be a day-off as it's the most important day in a year to be a citizen.

  • SirNate

    I think the strongest argument against voting systems that allow more parties to take hold is that it as also making it easier for extreme parties to take hold. This is one reason why the AfD won ~15% of the seats in the Bundestag in Germany (which elects its legislature proportionally) and UKIP in the UK (which uses single member districts like the US) only ever won a few seats. A 2 party system breeds centrism while many parties breed extremism.
    The reason I disagree with this argument is that it sort of advocates subverting democracy in the name of saving it. "Let's use a voting system that less accurately represents the will of the people in the name of protecting the people from their will."

  • SirNate

    My wishlist of future topics:
    Electoral College
    Gerrymandering
    Unicameralism v Bicameralism
    Voting systems (This video mentioned them but left a lot to be desired)
    Federalism (states rights v. centralization)

  • TalysAlankil

    I feel like the argument that "half of democrats are afraid of republics and vice versa" kind of ignores that…they might not be afraid of one another…for equally valid reasons…

  • Asmo Nymous

    There is no negative in this debate. Of course there should be as many as possible. Works wonders everywhere else in the West 😛

  • vlademir1

    As things currently stand, both major US parties are coalitions made up of groups holding disparate political philosophies who really only agree with each other slightly more than they agree with their major party opposition. If we were to expunge all current ballot access laws with their extant two party enforcement and every one of the constituent groups within these parties, as well as those who are distinctly not represented by either, were to have an equitable chance of being on the ballot and achieving local, state and/or national office we'd have no room for the highly divisive us vs them mentality currently endemic in US politics.

  • azdgariarada

    We only need to get rid of one political party. The one that's become a haven for traitors to our country, treasonouslly collaborated with enemy nations, and works at every step to damage or destroy long standing institutions of our democracy. We need to stop acting like both parties bare the same level of responsibility for the current animosity and fracturing of our society. False equivalency is just another tool used to distract from the crimes against humanity which a good number of republicans are guilty of.

  • Ed McKenzie

    The problem isn't parties plural, it's the democrat and republican parties as they are. Both seek to control a large segment of the population against their will. No matter who wins, nearly half the nation loses. We are far to large in number and in area for such a system. You cannot justly apply the same methodes and beliefs to both Massachusetts and Mississippi. The cultures and people are completely different with different needs and desires. The solution is a reduction in the federal government and increase in state power so that the democrat majority in Massachusetts and republican majority of Mississippi are both content.

  • Kram1032

    How would you even outlaw parties? That'd be an impossible task to actually prosecute.
    Parties are, in a way, not that different from a very organized form of public protesters. People banding behind a common goal to hopefully effect change and affect the future they live in according to their wishes. The difference lies mostly in scope.
    Some protest movement even later became political parties. Occasionally with rather decent success.
    So to outlaw parties is sort of not that different from outlawing public protests (albeit in an extreme way), and it'd be about equally hard to hold down.

    No, like-minded people banding together is good and healthy, at least if you give it the right stage.
    The big problem with parties is that, if there literally are only two of them with any appreciable power, everybody who wants any say at all is automatically incentivised to join one of the two, and so the two parties are also Incentivised to differentiate themselves from the other party in a way that can attract the majority of people. Which starts a vicious cycle of polarization which can even escalate all the way to civil war (happened more than once in the history of democracies)

    So the real solution, as also addressed in this video, is to reduce the barrier of entry for parties to flourish. Make it possible for small parties to actually compete with the big ones. Don't punish overlap in ideologies!
    Your typical democracy, almost every instance practiced today, has rules that mean if an alternative comes along, that shares most ideals with another party, and thus gets voted for by a similar demographic, it will essentially split the corresponding voter base in two, making it far easier for the competition to pull through.
    And if the two biggest parties tend to roughly get half the vote each, then even just a tiny portion of people seeking out an alternative might cause this!

    So party loyalty is rewarded to an insane degree, and small parties can't ever get a foothold. Indeed, the mere effort to do so gets blamed by the very folks such a party would care about for basically handing the victory to the opponent. Which isn't entirely false.
    It's absolutely ridiculous and it's rather undemocratic, forcing you go "choose the lesser evil" rather than pick who you actually like.
    No wonder there's so much political apathy. People aren't actually reducible to one of two states. People are more diverse than that. But the systems force them into making up their mind, or else accept no representation at all.

    And there are plenty of voting systems that allow for this kind of thing. At least one of them, the mentioned Instant Runoff (Ranked Choice) Voting (which is arguably the worst of the better solutions for a variety of reasons) actually got a few uses in today's democracies, and the results are very promising. I just wish countries would go even further than that though. There are other flaws that definitely still need fixing.
    But the above-mentioned spoiler effect is probably the worst of them, and IRV at least gets rid of some of that.

    I do agree that there are other options such as volunteering and campaigning. And ultimately there is also the aforementioned protests which can be effective if sustained for long enough. Or you could even attempt to form your own party! (With the system-side caveat of you most likely just derailing the party you agree with more)
    But all of those take more time and energy than most people can actually invest. And especially the poorest: They might work two or three lousily paid jobs just to feed their families. So how the heck would they even start with this stuff?

    So even if all those more direct forms of democracy are possible, and should definitely be recognized more, it's unreasonable to think they are true solutions to everybody. No, the voting system has to change. Either that, or huge, unpopular, zero-chance changes in law that make it actually plausible for folks to properly pursue active democratic measures.
    Things like compensating people for lost revenue from campaigning or volunteering, and/or making it harder to fire people over absence due to such activities. And that seems far more ridiculous to me than a better voting system.

    One final caveat that wasn't mentioned here: Just because there are more political parties, do not necessarily expect more to get done. In fact, there's plenty of quarrels that slow down changes because they can't agree on tiny details.
    However, that's not actually so different from a two party system! If you go look, the US has plenty of parties-within-parties which constantly cause troubles and stop some progress. You actually do have multiple parties. They just realized they have no true chance alone, so they banded together under the broad labels "Republican" and "Democrat". But this causes plenty of intra-party-struggles.
    If more parties are able to exist, those become far more transparent inter-party-struggles instead. And you can more easily inform and change your votes because of that.
    And polarization goes down by the sheer ability to do so. Fewer ridiculous quarrels. Less family destruction. Anger and praise directed at a more granular portion of people who actually deserve it.
    Ultimately this is about uncovering complexity which is currently hidden under a veil of one of two overtly broad, misleading, and friendship-threatening labels.

  • Shawn Ravenfire

    One of the big problems (among MANY others) with the political parties is that the two major parties get insane amounts of campaign funding. While we may not be able to outlaw campaign donations (every time we add new regulation, they just find new workarounds), it might be possible to pass a law banning campaign ads from television. That would cut into the power of the money donated.

  • baetoven

    One does not remove political parties moving away from First Past the Post voting systems. One weakens a de facto two-party system created by a plurality voting system. Political parties will exist without either a cultural change beyond what changing a voting can affect, or a Constitutional change, which at this point would require a revolution ( violent or non-violent. )

  • baetoven

    The most important system required for a high ethic structure of government is a system of checks and balances. How one decides what to check and balance is extremely important.

    What has been lost by the creation of political parties, is a check on the stupid, and those preying on the stupid. Political parties also removed a check on the stupid anf those that prey on the stupid by allowing a constitutional amendment that chooses Senators by popular vote.

    Political parties have also destroyed the electoral college system, which was also to some degree a check on the stupid and those that prey on the stupid.

  • MikeDNC

    Yeah actually I'm not sure that Ranked Choice Voting requires political parties. Aren't they two separate issues?

    Personally, I vote for the candidate with the philosophy and track record that's my top preference. It's really as simple and clean as that.

    And Ranked Choice Voting is an awesome improvement!

  • Rebecca Anne

    The trouble with political parties, especially with major political parties, is that in the end they are really just attempts at gaining power through mob rule. This is important because mob rule is exactly what the founding fathers were trying to prevent when they chose to make our nation a democratic republic instead of a straight democracy. The trouble is that the two wolves have become the Republicans and the Democrats and the sheep has become the average voter. But things aren’t as bleak as they may seem. Despite efforts from both sides the average voter is far more well armed than they realize and all it would take to dethrone one or both major parties would be for enough people to vote with their heads and hearts instead of with their fears and senses of obligation.

  • James StJohn

    The three biggest threats to our country are
    1) Democrats
    2) Republicans
    3) voter apathy
    The first two are only a problem because of the third.
    And the third is only a problem because of the first two.

  • BruceMagnus

    Ranked choice voting has many flaws and is more complicated to administer. Approval voting or Range voting are simpler and have way less flaws.

  • ZEMTEK

    Sharing this to our facebook page www.facebook.com/VoteRevolution . It is a page that is pushing for a ranked voting system along with other voting reforms. Hope people will like and share. We need to get the word out about ranked voting any way we can.

  • Opiniones de JACC's Opinions

    Is this even a question? Of course we need to diversify the political parties to more than just two!

    #RCV #FairRepAct

  • Zhu Bajie

    First pass the post single district always leads to 2 parties. Only voting at large will solve that and then the problem goes to coalition building after the election. See Germany for issues of that.

  • Talik

    Love this one. I've been thinking about the same thing for a while, and I really like how this lays out pros and cons.
    We naturally want to categorize things, so I think that giving us more categories would be a great idea.

  • Levi Howell

    We don’t need to outlaw political parties we need to change our first past the post voting system in favor of vote by rank

  • Irwain Nornossa

    Add more parties, change voting system to ranked one, seems good, allow for automatic voter registration, get rid of electoral college, that is just not democratic, focus more on popular vote…
    Hey. I'm not even from the same continent as the USA, why do I care and know so much more than what's happening in my country? 😀

  • The Ultimate Reductionist

    Either be an anarchist: vote for nobody (but still sign in at the polls). Or, be a Marxist or a Socialist or a Communist.

  • The Ultimate Reductionist

    My wishlist for topics:

    Antinatalism

    Animal Rights Factory Farming

    War Against Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)

    UFO Disclosure

  • The Ultimate Reductionist

    Obstructing action on Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is TREASON & should be dealt with just like ANY treason case.

  • HebaruSan

    Ranked choice voting mainly appeals to the vanity of ideological minorities—I want to express who I'd really like to win, even though I know they won't, but also specify which of the other evils least offends me. If the big parties still win, nothing has actually changed.

  • Ken Zieska

    My opinion is both political parties serve big money interest, at times they serve the same big money interest. I see the key is campaign reform to get the big money out. Citizen's United was a terrible decision but both parties support it because it makes them money.

  • Yatukih001

    Political parties should be banned from having or influencing offices or anything that has to do with the State. Political parties are pyramid schemes. As such their first objective is to disobey law and order. Their second objective is to discriminate against disabled persons. Their third objective is to create and maintain food and water shortages. Their fourth objective is to fund and support wars. Their fifth objective is to represent bankers only and neither bank employees or those who are not managing a job. Political parties are racist hate, period. Any attempt to persuade a political party member to think outside of what the party leader thinks is futile. Therefore any attempt to request the party to change society to the better is futile. If we allow political parties the results are hunger, poverty and war. If we outlaw them from society the results are a new Industrial Revolution, less hunger and no war. Political parties vs. industry and sovereign states. You cannot have both. If you choose political parties above state interests you will never make any progress. Therefore to increase progress and start another Age of Industry we must abolish political parties altogether and thus end dictatorship.

  • UserRiottt

    Try evil vs evil. Ranked choice voting will never change anything for single winner elections. See Australia's lower house. Since the senate and the presidency lock us into single winner if you want 3rd parties to have a shot you need to eliminate primaries and use Score Voting or a variation of it like STAR or at least approval. With RCV it is only safe to vote your honest favorite first if they are a clear winner or have no shot. And it's non-monotonic so sometimes if you vote your 3rd choice wins but had you stayed home your 2nd choice would have.

  • Nick Z

    We need more parties, not less! Nancy Pelosi and AOC should not be in the same political party together. Likewise, John Kasich and Ted Cruz shoudln't be in the same political party either.

  • KuruGDI

    I have a request for the makers: Try to get interview footage with more than 5fps. It is not causing death, but definitely eye cancer!

  • Ivana Edwards

    What we really need is a parliament where many voices/parties are heard. More voices, more choices. We would have had national health insurance by now. That's how it happened in Canada et al. How about another American Revolution????

  • Sue Cox

    Ranked Choice Voting – Yeah!! I'm a Libertarian and we definitely need MORE political parties and MORE choice. Thanks for creating this video!

  • Tanner Mirasty

    The States🇺🇸 ain’t The only country with a two party system problem. Believe it or not, Canada🇨🇦 too has that problem. For the past 152 years since 🇨🇦 was founded. It was always the Conservatives Party of Canada VS Liberal party of Canada. And for this upcoming 🇨🇦 🗳. All of my friends are 🗳 Conservative. Just because they want Justin Trudeau out of office. But not really thinking of solutions for the future. And the cycle keeps on repeating it’s self. And some say The exact same thing. You’re throwing your vote away. If you vote for a third-party. So I’m going with a third-party.

  • Marlon Moncrieffe

    The more parties, the more choices, the better!

    Elect the U.S. President with instant run-off (rather than first past the post) NOW!

  • Penny Lane

    I cannot imagine anyone designing a political system from scratch and designing it as a two-party system. It's just such an obviously bad system :/

  • SarahLJP

    5:58 I live in Maine. Unfortunately, ranked-choice voting doesn't apply to the gubernatorial election. I think that was why people pushed for it in the first place. We had a Republican Governor that was elected twice by a minority of voters. Independent candidates split the liberal vote.

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