Back to the Fusion
Fusion voting was the practice of smaller parties endorsing a candidate that is also running on another ticket. It allowed for these smaller parties to have a real say in elections, especially in narrowly won races. A candidate who would win by a few points would be foolish to turn his back on a constituency that gave him the edge to win.
The dominant parties saw that practice as a threat to their “winner take all” philosophy. Make no mistake: spoils and privileges change hands every time one party wins out over the other. Both major parties have a strong interest in keeping it that way, and don’t want to share power, and in many instances, even pay attention to the views of minor parties.
And that keeps minor parties just that: Minor.
It’s my opinion that neither political party as they stand today represent the majority of the population’s opinions. It now a game of “who can get the mostest to the polls the furstest,” to badly paraphrase Nathan Beford Forrest. We see a lot of wedge issues that mean very little to the day to day responsibility of government being played like Aces in a hand of poker, when the real job of government is to govern for the greater good of all the people. Sadly, I don’t feel that’s uppermost in the minds of many elected “leaders.”
Fusion voting can be an effective vehicle to put power back into the hands of the people. A major problem in minor party formation is the understandable reluctance of voters to “throw their vote away” in a protest vote. With Fusion voting, the voters could clearly say to the major party candidate that “Hey, I’m voting for you under protest, and you better listen, or next time I won’t.” Voters could vote their preferred ticket and know they cannot be ignored—another election is just around the corner!
The Greens could form an effective, viable party, not enslaved to the Democrats. The Libertarians share values with both major parties, but often find themselves hostage to the Republicans. Minor parties would become viable again, and perhaps bring our political system out of the tailspin of pandering to special interests and wedge issue posturing that has co-opted our government.
Missouri has a law on the books that precludes any candidate from running under more than one parties’ banner. There is also a strong argument to be made that this practice is unconstitutional on the face of it. We need to eliminate that statute.
Denying any political party the right to endorse any particular candidate is denying a right to free speech.