Wed04232014

Last update03:02:45 PM

Does The Two Party System Work for Georgia?

Americans are competitors. We love competition, whether it be on the athletic field, in the marketplace, or in the classroom. We love competition because it pushes us to be better, to work harder, and to come up with better ideas. When people, ideas, and companies compete, we all benefit from the outcomes. Sadly, the people of Georgia aren't seeing much competition when it comes to who represents them in the state legislature, and poor government is often the result.

The Democrat and Republican parties that dominate and control the politics in the state of Georgia don't often compete when it comes to fielding candidates for election to the State House and State Senate races. It's not that one party's candidate defeats the other's by a large margin (though that happens in some cases), it's that in the majority of races, one of the two major parties doesn't even bother to field a candidate.

Research from the 2010 general election shows a disturbing lack of competition in the majority of state legislative races.  Of the 180 General Assembly races, only 60 were contested by both parties. That means that in 66% of Georgia House races, only a Democrat or a Republican was on the ballot.  The State Senate was only slightly better, with 33 of 66 races (59%) being uncontested.

The result of this lack of competition means that in many districts, voters have no real choice. It means that most candidates have little or no accountability to their constituents. Rather than promoting themselves through better policy making that would benefit the people of Georgia, legislators are allowed to become comfortable and complacent. It is the people of Georgia who often pay the price for this political lethargy.

The two-party system is failing the people of Georgia. There is no competition. The people of Georgia deserve better. It's time for conservative independents and minor party candidates to enter the fray. The old complaint that minor party candidates will split votes doesn't hold water. In most races, there's simply no vote to be split. If conservatives truly believe in competition, then it's time we began competing where it really matters: at the ballot box.