Thursday, April 20, 2006

LETTER: 2-party system upends democracy

New Jersey independent speaks out on incumbency of 2-party system

Daily Record (Morris Co. NJ)
To the Editor:
Scott Ireland's "Blame state legislature," column on April 16 mentions a group called G.R.I.P (Get Rid of Incumbent Politicians). Fred Snowflack's recent column says we need more people running against incumbents.
Incumbency is not limited to the person currently holding an elected office.
Realistically, current major party officeholders can only be removed from office by installing a candidate from the other current major party. Citizens can't remove one or both of the current major parties from power. They can only shift the balance of power between the two current major parties.
It is the two-party system that is the incumbent. Current election law unconstitutionally protects the two-party system from democracy.
Citizens are forced to sacrifice their free speech on one of these issues every time they cast a vote (voting is an act of free speech).
When citizens can cast a separate vote to establish a third party for the next election, third parties could achieve major party status and qualify for a primary. Then third party candidates would have the ballot access and credibility to attract the contributions and media coverage necessary to be competitive.
This will force the current major parties to respond to the interests of average citizens or risk being replaced by candidates from parties that will respond. This risk, also known as competition, is the most basic and important ingredient of democracy.
DON HARRIS
Pompton Plains

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