Economics 101 rightfully drills into business students’ heads that competition is a good thing. Corporate competition to the consumer should ultimately lead to better products at lower prices. It’s always been a guilty pleasure reading the endless fanboy flamewars on TechCrunch. For example, regardless of whether you’re a Android or iPhone fan, we should be happy that competition forces them to continue to innovate and we should be thrilled Microsoft is trying to make a push into mobile for the same reason. We all know except in a few regulated instances, ‘monopoly’ is a dirty word that leads to stifled innovation and higher prices. We also know duopolies (when there are only two suppliers) and oligopolies (only a few suppliers) can be as dangerous as monopolies when there is collusion (the two/few suppliers come together to fix prices, aka rig the system).
Weedists, I pose to you that the current political system is a duopoly with collusion and a rigged system. Government certainly hasn’t been serving us or the people in general. It’s no surprise that the percentage of US citizens who see themselves as Independents is at a 75 year high. We’re locked into an era of hyper two party partisan politics, where it’s more important they show they fight the other side and ironically serve the same corporate backers of their campaigns, instead of looking out for the best interests of the people. In Congressional politics with near 100% re-election rates and no term limits, this is especially highlighted. How much more might get accomplished in Congress if there were 3+ major parties and it was easier to find a coalition to get bills passed?
One of the biggest slaps in the face to maintaining this broken two party Presidential election system is the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Regardless of how crazy Ross Perot was, he helped shake up the status quo. Well after Perot, Republicans and Democrats didn’t like this threat to their way of life, so the CPD “established a rule that for a party to be included in the national debates it must garner at least 15% support across five national polls. This rule is considered controversial as most Americans tune in to the televised national debates and hear only the opinions of two parties instead of the 10 or so parties that are actually running for President of the United States.” This makes it extremely difficult to break out of this two party system and is an affront to democracy. More than ever we need to get out of the current gridlock in Washington and having more valid candidate choices is part of the solution.
Like many, I enjoy my Daily Show fix, but I do take exception to what Jon Stewart was saying during his Libertarian POTUS candidate Gary Johnson interview on June 5, 2012. Stewart was pushing back that the Democrats and the GOP are very different parties. On many of the issues I care about, I think Stewart is dead wrong:
- War on Drugs & Prohibition – Obama and Romney will continue the same failed status quo. Obama is even more insulting as he made 2008 campaign promises to the medical marijuana community and has been on the war path since trying to shut them down that hands down put George W Bush to shame. Only Johnson will try it differently.
- Civil Liberties – Johnson is the only one even *talking* about them. Drones patrolling US citizens, POTUS can assassinate US citizens, we can be strip searched for anything now (even if you’re arrested for jaywalking). All this is occurring with a Democrat in the oval office.
- Budget Deficit - Obama and Romney will both continue to balloon it. Obama from spending too much, Romney from collecting too little (at least from the upper classes). Johnson as a Libertarian is the only one I find credible at the moment to not cave to special interests and corporate masters, and balance both spending and revenues (taxes).
- Economy - I’ve always felt the POTUS has somewhat limited ability in driving the economy, however I do feel that it’s all about projecting confidence so businesses and consumers produce and spend more. If people are happy and confident, see the US isn’t going broke, and there’s no DC deadlock, we’ve got a much better shot at a quicker and sustainable recovery. I’ll also take Johnson’s economics record as governor over Romney’s time as governor and with what Obama has shown us to date as President.
Similar to the business world, innovation, hell even simple progress, has been utterly stalled by this current political party duopoly with collusion. Selfishly as a weedist, there’s only one POTUS choice for me, Gary Johnson. But regardless of your political affiliation, we should welcome political party competition and all do our parts to foster it. The best thing we can do to foster this competition is push to have Johnson register at 15% in national polls so he can participate in the 2012 POTUS debates and/or fight the very 15% CPD ruling.