If you skim through the US Constitution you’ll find there are zero mentions of political parties. Party politics are, at best, an “aconstitutional” concept whose powers and influence in our country are worrisome, and I think as a nation we should question our assumptions about how legislatures work, vote, and campaign.
A lot of my fellow geeks lean libertarian and prefer the idea that parties should have less of a role so that individual gov representatives can both serve their personal missions and rep their constituents as directly as possible.
I think we should rather embrace that people feel the need to organize into blocs to advance their common interests, and think about ways to make political parties serve the people better.
One of the most basic is to consider changing the House of Representatives and/or the Senate to have proportional representation. That is, instead of pretending that each congressional district is having its own isolated election to rep the largest local bloc of voters, we recognize that people are distributed across and within physical districts. So let’s not let a 51%/49% split in every district lead to a 100% victory for one party — let it lead to a 51%/49% representation in the ongoing work of the legislature.
Proportional representation is also more amenable to multiple parties — the current system strongly favors giant parties because if you’re not #1 you have no voice, and only #2 ever has a chance of a voter turnout surge bringing it back to #1. If there’s always a few % dedicated to smaller parties, those parties and the people they represent have an opportunity to actually be heard in session, and the possibility of shifting party coalitions can help to correct imbalances of power between election cycles.
Our current system basically flip-flops between favoring one of two parties as each election has a couple percentage points difference from the last. I don’t think it’s healthy.