Jim Catano’s opinion piece [“Sanity Party,” May 10, City Weekly] opts for a Sylvester Stallone Expendables cast as an alternative to the current party system. He suggests that the quixotic Rocky Anderson band together with Nader (I believe Nader has already endorsed him), former Dixiecrat Buddy Roemer (he’s already running and is now a member of his third party, having been a Republican and Democrat) and a host of other celebrity fringe candidates (Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul: reality check?) to create an alternative meatloaf to the one already being served in Washington, D.C. Somehow, that will correct the current big money, special interests, Citizens United malaise destroying our government. But Catano is dead wrong and profoundly so.
The reason that small parties cannot crack the barnyard ceiling and play with the big boys is precisely because the big boys have already invested in this very idea: The parties are so vast, they cover all positions within their structures, making their platforms comical at best. They’ve already given up their sacred cows. Since the big parties have such a stranglehold on our nonproportional system, change is virtually impossible. They’ve gerrymandered and rigged the entire process.
Parties must stand on fundamental principles that are clearly discernible to the public, and the public must believe itself invested in them.
For change, the simplest start is a true proportional representation in the lower house. End gerrymandering and redistrict fairly to assure each voter is connected and each voter has the same impact, no matter what district they reside in. Reduce the districts by 100. Those extra remaining 100 seats should be apportioned according to the national vote. If your party wins 7 percent nationally, you get 7 seats, and 7 seats can be huge when there’s gridlock. This assures that small parties can break into the national dialogue. Need for a coalition to pass a bill can force a major party to adjust its philosophy to get things done. Small parties making policy on the national scene get their members and candidates national exposure.
Change happens from the bottom up, not by a few fat cats playing celebrity alternative chef. If you do that, all you get is the same old meatloaf as before, only this time, it’s blander. Parties are not groups of celebrities—they are built on ideals, ideas, rank and file input.
Salt Lake City