Jesse Ventura says it’s time to abolish parties

Former 3rd party Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura claims that political parties, including third parties, should be abolished in order to root out corruption in a broken system.

In a recent ABC Good Morning America interview, Ventura, who some claim may launch an Independent bid for President in 2012, cited historical support from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, who explicitly warned against the potentially deleterious consequences of party politics long ago. Instead, Ventura advocates removing party labels from ballots and demoting the parties themselves to PACs. He argues that Americans would then have to vote for an individual as opposed to mindlessly voting the party line.

Works for me. To that I would add, we need public financing of campaigns and short campaign seasons. Our political and electoral system is obviously compromised. A democracy can’t function properly with a mangled election system like ours. We need to change it now.

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  • Eh, I disagree with this, only because I think political parties are inevitable. Just look at non partisan elections, which happen all over the place. What tends to happen is that parties back people, but know one knows who is backing whom. The Nebraska legislature is non partisan, and yet they still have liberal and conservative groups that form, iirc, and it ends up being no different from a normal legislature (again, iirc).

  • Agree with Ross. People invariably form groups; outlawing parties makes it less obvious, but changes nothing.

    The solution is to go to the root of the problem. Remember, parties exist for one reason: to hold primaries. Primaries must be held because otherwise, like-minded candidates would constantly spoil each other (which, btw, is why the major parties enact strict ballot-access laws for third parties). To eliminate parties, you need to eliminate their reason to exist: spoilers.

    If we used the spoiler-free election method of approval voting (or it’s big-sister, range voting) then parties would naturally become less important, and less damaging. More voices could be heard in each election, and instead of having to pick from two “combo meals” of policy objectives, you could elect candidates that hold the majority-view on every substantial issue (which, in turn, would let more voters explore their a-la-carte policy beliefs without becoming subject to a witch hunt by their party hard-liners.)

    Approval voting: look in to it!

    • Is approval voting like IRV? Tell me more, sound fascinating.

      • In that both are alternative voting systems, yes; but the similarity ends there.

        The major difference is, IRV still suffers from spoilers (and so, party-politics and two-party domination) the same way that plurality voting does; the third-parties are just allowed to grow a little big bigger before they get slapped down. The organizations backing IRV claim otherwise, but it’s easy to see the effect in Australia, which has used IRV for nearly a century; this election was the first in 12 years where a third-party candidate won even a single one of the 150 House seats. (Meanwhile, their Senate uses proportional representation, and about 10% of the seats are held by third-party members.) Alternately, here’s an example:

        45%: A > B > C
        10%: B > A > C
        15%: B > C > A
        30%: C > B > A

        If this election were just A vs. B, B wins 55:45. But when you add candidate C, who pulls exclusively from B’s supporters, neither B nor C wins, but rather, the winner changes to A. This is a spoiler. The C-favoring voter’s best bet is to dis-ingenuously rank B above C; i.e., to vote for the “lesser of two evils”; again, this is just like with plurality.

        With approval, instead of a ranked list, you submit a grouping of all the candidates you find acceptable; the candidate who is approved by the greatest number of voters wins. It may not sound significant (or, at first glance, even effective) but extensive computer modeling has shown that this results in significantly better results than IRV, mostly because there are no spoilers; if you remove any candidate (other than the winning one) the winner can never change (nor can adding any candidate change the winner, unless it changes to the new candidate); so there’s no “lesser of two evils” decision making involved. So third parties can form, and run, and grow, without ever being spoilers; and then they can continue to grow and, perhaps, even win.

        Range voting (also known as score voting) expands on this idea by increasing the number of ranks from two (approved/not-approved) up to any number you’d like; highest score wins (commonly-suggested ranges are -1 to 1, 0 to 9, 1 to 5, and, for the adventurous, 0 to 99.) Under this method, if you’re a little worried your ballot would put someone you approve of–but who isn’t your favorite–above your favorite, you can give them a slightly lower score as a way of “hedging your bet”, so to speak. has a ton of information about both of these methods (but it’s a bit math-heavy.) I think the most compelling part is this graphic showing the performance of various election methods; including plurality, IRV, approval, and range:

        This is a topic I’m passionate about, and about which I write often; clicking my username will take you to my blog about it.

        • Thanks. I’ll be linking to your blog.

      • Approval Voting is far superior to Instant Runoff Voting. I argued as such in this essay I co-authored, which I had the honor of publishing on Matt Gonzalez’s blog.

  • Trying to outlaw parties is very unlikely to succeed. And it doesn’t really fix the underlying problem — our Plurality Voting system encourages people to vote for their favorite from among the TWO candidates they think will come in first and second. If you vote for anyone else, you “waste” your vote.

    So the solution is to remove that problem. That means changing the voting system. But unfortunately, Instant Runoff Voting doesn’t fix the problem.

    Score Voting and its simplified variant, Approval Voting, DO fix it. And they are much much simpler according to several objective metrics (lower ballot spoilage rates, can be sub-totaled in precincts, etc.).

    Clay Shentrup
    The Center for Election Science

  • darin

    of course this is a great idea. there are too many mindless people just voting down the party lines without even knowing who or what they stand for. god forbid they need to get off their lazy butts and figure out what our politicians are truly about. oh thats right , half or more of these bums wouldn’t be raping america if they didn’t get voted in by people voting straight down the party line. added point , if they work for us and are voted in by us we should be able to fire the ones who break campain promises and don’t do their jobs the way we expected when we voted them in. yeah some major changing but well worth it since corruption is running so deep !!!

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