Home Opinion Would a Third Political Party Break the Bipartisan Logjam in Congress?

Would a Third Political Party Break the Bipartisan Logjam in Congress?

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By James Lint
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Military University
Senior Editor for
 InCyberDefense and Contributor, In Homeland Security

Factory workers are sometimes paid by the number of products they complete. Cottage industry workers are often paid according to the goods they produce at home.

In 2017, the U.S. Congress completed just one major piece of legislation, a new federal tax law. With a single accomplishment in one year, many Americans might wonder what the legislators’ hourly wage rate or piecework rate was. Are they getting good value for their tax dollars?

Opinions vary on the worth of Congress. Some cynical observers say it was good that our politicians did not accomplish much because they also didn’t mess up anything.

The Two-Party System Discourages Cooperation

The problem in Congress seems to be the two-party system. These days, there is no reason for the two parties to work together.

Maybe there needs to be a change in the system.

Perhaps Now Is the Time for a Real Third Political Party

A third political party would make it difficult for one party to dominate Congress. A third political party could also prevent unanimous passage of legislation by one party. With a three-party system, we would create collaborative government because no one party could pass laws alone.

There is no way that the Green Party, the Libertarian Party or even the Socialist Party USA would win enough seats in Congress to force either of the two major parties to negotiate with them. Only if the Democrats and Republicans had identical numbers of lawmakers would they try to enlist the aid of a third, minor party.

Many nations operate with a parliamentary system. The majority party in the parliament (Britain, Israel, France, and South Korea) often need to form coalitions with minority third parties to have a ruling majority.

Suppose the GOP had 45 seats in the Senate and the Democrats had 45. Both would seek the votes of the third party to pass legislation.

The recently deceased former Illinois Republican congressman John Anderson ran an independent campaign for president in 1980. He finished a distant third behind Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter.

Ross Perot, the founder of Electronic Data Systems (later EDS) became a billionaire. He ran an independent presidential campaign in 1992 and a third-party campaign in 1996, establishing the Reform Party in the latter election.

Like Anderson, Perot finished a distant third behind Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush. Some political observers say Perot garnered enough votes to prevent Bush from a second term.

However, Perot is now close to 90 years old and has served his country. We need a younger candidate who is capable of starting a real third political party in the United States.

Who has the political skills and personal magnetism to set up that new party?

One Accomplishment a Year by Congress Is Not Impressive

One accomplishment a year is not impressive for people who earn $176,000 a year; nor is voting no for an entire congressional session. It’s a great job if you can get it.

But for that price, taxpayers need a better return on their investment. The accomplishments of just one dominating party should not be extolled; instead, they should be seen as non-collaborative.

Congress is supposed to be a deliberative body in which the parties work together for the betterment of the country. Maybe my eyesight is not as good as it once was, but I have not seen a Congress working across party lines or collaborating on anything of value in some time.

Get started on your Homeland Security degree at American Military University.

About the Author

James R. Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. He is an adjunct professor at AMU. James has been involved in cyberespionage events from just after the turn of the century in Korea supporting 1st Signal Brigade to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis as the first government cyber intelligence analyst. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, government contracting and civil service.

Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded its 49th scholarship for national security students and professionals. James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. He has also served in the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office after his active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba, in addition to numerous CONUS locations. In 2017, he was appointed to the position of Adjutant for The American Legion, China Post 1. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” a book published in 2016 “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea,” and a new book in 2017 “Secrets to Getting a Federal Government Job.”

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