Cruel Britannia knocked out diversity in American politics from the beginning
When it comes to political diversity in the United States, what really strikes -- and frustrates -- me is the appalling lack of choice. We have two parties, Lousy and Lousier. Cycle to cycle, the title of Lousier shifts left or right as the wind blows. Surely, as Elizabeth Weeks suggests, we can do better.
Two parties. Two! Speaking in the language of complex systems analysis, I'd attribute the lack of diversity in American politics to a serious problem of path dependency. Cruel Britannia bequeathed to these United States -- and nearly everywhere else where the Union Jack once flew -- the electoral system called "first past the post." This legacy alone is enough to inspire virulent Anglophobia in any democracy-loving American. Would that the sun set on "first past the post," even faster than it has set on the empire of Dieu et mon droit. The dynamics of simple plurality voting all but guarantees the emergence -- and rapid, permanent entrenchment -- of exactly two parties. Cheerio, my good chap. Welcome to your parties, all two of them: Lousy and Lousier.