- Category: Political
Our Declaration of Independence says that all men (and women) are created equal and the Equal Protection clause in the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution attempts to support that goal. However election laws as written in Ohio are completely contrary to those ideals.
An example is that a prospective independent state legislative candidate in Cincinnati’s District 28 ( Madeira to Greenhills area ) is required by Ohio law to get almost 10 times the number of petition signatures as a Democratic or Republican candidate to be qualified for the ballot.
Laws like that have been challenged using the equal protection argument (14th amendment) and have been rejected by judges. The rationale for their decisions are that the state has an overriding interest in maintaining the two party system for political stability.
As evidenced by Congress's recent inability to keep the government running, the two party system is not stable and has failed the public. Congress has not passed a budget for years without resorting to a "Continuing Resolution" band aid and now they have shutdown the government.
Another example here in Ohio is the fact that it takes almost 3 times as many voters to elect a Democratic congressional representative as it takes to elect a Republican. This is a direct effect of gerrymandering the legislative districts to artificially create a political advantage.
Furthermore the two dominant parties (R+D) have written laws to protect themselves by imposing legal restrictions on a person running for office. Anyone who for example voted for a third party in a primary is barred for years to run as a Republican or Democratic.
These examples demonstrate how the current system helps the extreme ends of our political spectrum get elected and keep us divided. They certainly do not promote political stability and harmony.
The two party system clearly needs improvement. The courts rationale for maintaining the two party system is flawed. A simple every day analogy is that of a two legged stool that can sway back and forth versus a three legged stool which is stable and practical.
It is time to stabilize our government and broaden political opportunity by removing these "legal" restrictions. A political legal landscape that encourages more than two parties would have the potential of actually representing the majority of citizens who are in the middle rather than continuing today's system of bi-polar politics.