Mr. Perlstein writes, "If only there was an American political party that unwaveringly reflected these views.... You might think it would do pretty well." There is such a party--the Green Party of the United States (GPUS). By some measures, it does do pretty well. For example, Rich Whitney, Green candidate for Illinois governor, got 10 percent of the vote last year, as did Maine's Green candidate, Pat LaMarche.
A major reason the Greens don't "do better" is our two-party, winner-take-all political system, funded almost exclusively by corporations and wealthy individuals. In Europe, where proportional representation is the norm, 10 percent support gets a party 10 percent of seats in the legislature. Here? Forty-nine percent support gets zippo representation. It becomes all about getting one vote more than the opposition, and you can win with far less than majority support. In Europe, parties have to build coalitions that can agree on a broad majority platform.
I would like to see The Nation do a series of articles on the two-party system versus the parliamentary system and show how different systems affect the nature of the political dialogue and the quality of solutions. I'd even volunteer to write them.
By the way, I speak only as a member of the Green Party, not any official representative.
Karen Peterson Young
New York, NY
Jul 8 2007 - 12:47pm