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Who Runs the U.S.? The Effect of the Two-Party System

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Running for political office is expensive. Ridiculously expensive. Florida's 22nd District former congressional representative Ron Klein raised $3,776,867 to campaign against Allan West he eventually ended up spending $5,319,671 on his failed campaign. Hillary Clinton's failed campaign for President raised $26 million in the first three months of 2007 while competing with Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination. McCain claims his loss to Barack Obama was due the lack of campaign funds at his disposal. The U.S. Government is filled with representatives that made the most money in their districts and unless a candidate is as privately wealthy as Mayor Bloomberg of New York, you primarily rely on donations.

When donations are not enough, you must rely on funding from either the Democrats or the Republicans. The problem is, once a candidate accepts money from either of the National Committees, the Committee owns them. If a National Committee owns a candidate, its constituents and donors own him or her. The Republicans take money from big banks and the Chamber of Commerce. The Democrats are no different, taking money from labor unions and Gay activist organizations. President Barack Obama himself has taken money from oil companies. What does this mean? Any politician wanting to change anything about how our country is governed could only vote the way they are told. If they do not, funding will be withheld, and they will probably never be elected again. So, who really runs this country?

Mostly, it is our fault. According to the U.S. Census of 2008, only 58% of Americans voted. Within that 58%, few of us really know about the campaigners. We look at the smear campaigns on TV, and pick the name on the sign that catches our eye on the side of the road. I once overheard a teenager saying "Whoever wants to win can just win. I do not care. It doesn't matter what I think..." We carry these attitudes into adulthood, and we do not think we can change government. We can, and we have a responsibility to use educated decisions while voting. However, 42% of us should at least vote.

There are only two Independents in the senate as of now and I rarely speak with a Democrat or Republican who believes the party line 100%. So why are almost all of the seats in congress one or the other? On an episode of the Simpsons, two aliens impersonated both of the Democrat and Republican candidates for president, and were revealed as aliens. The aliens said, "It's too late now, we are all you have." A man in the crowd said "I'll vote for the Independent!" The aliens said "Fine! Waste your vote".

Sadly, this is true, and a vote for an independent is oftentimes a wasted vote. That is why we need to develop a system for independents to get enough money to run properly. This, along with more voter interest and participation, will actually make the U.S. Government the efficient and competitive voice of the people it was meant to be.



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