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Why America Doesn't Have the Third Party it Wants | Three Things Thursday

Why America doesn't have the third party it wants, celebrating unsung black history leaders, and why everyone should be excited by a new bipartisan bill in Wisconsin. Three Things Thursday is a weekly newsletter by Unite America.

Brett Maney
Sr. Communications Manager
February 25, 2021

In a recent poll, 62% of Americans said the two parties have done such a bad job of representing the American people that a third party was needed. Americans don’t feel like their representatives are representing them. 

That’s a massive failure of our institutions. 

Luckily, reform offers a solution. 

Here are three things to think about this week:

  1. Why America doesn’t have the third party it wants

If 62% of Americans want a third party, then why don’t we have one? More importantly, what does it say about us that 62% of Americans want another option in the first place? As our very own Nick Troiano writes for The Hill, “In any other industry, if half of customers disliked the only two major brands and nearly two thirds of customers desired an alternative, there would be a new product on the shelf, yesterday.”

Yet that’s not the case for politics, where the two-parties have trapped the American people into a duopoly where only they can win. The incentives of our political system have warped, rewarding the parties at the expense of the voters. But reforms like ranked choice voting and nonpartisan primaries can change that, opening up elections to more voters and ensuring that candidates have secured a majority of support in order to win. 

Nick also stopped by Morning Joe to make the case for these reforms Check it out here:

  1. Celebrating some unsung heroes

Our history books teach us a lot about historic civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, and Rosa Parks. They’re deservingly celebrated, remembered, and honored for their leadership. But the Civil Rights Movement was a national effort made up of thousands of individuals who each brought their own experience and contribution to the fight for equality. 

In honor of Black History Month, we want to celebrate the unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. Incredible leaders like Jane Bolin — a trailblazing judge who worked to desegregate the probation system in New York — or Dorothy Height — an advocate for Black women and key organizer of the March on Washington — are often left out of our textbooks. Yet their contributions laid the groundwork for equal rights, and their legacies should be remembered to us today. 

Check it out, and let me know who else you think should be on our list. 

  1. Bipartisanship is brewing

Big news yesterday out of Madison: a bipartisan group of lawmakers have introduced a bill that would establish Final-Five Voting in Wisconsin. Similar to Final-Four, which passed in Alaska by ballot measure in November, the proposed system would create a single nonpartisan primary open to all Wisconsinites. The top five finishers would advance to the general election, where voters would use ranked choice voting to determine who wins. 

This is a big deal. Alaska’s top-four system is already shaking up the incentive structure for Alaskan elected officials, rewarding them for serving in the public interest, rather than partisan interest. For Wisconsinites, it could mean a break in the partisan head-butting that has long dominated the state’s politics. 

And the bill has big supporters, too. Representative Mike Gallagher (WI-8, R) is behind it. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Final-Five Voting realigns electoral incentives in a way that creates greater accountability to voters, and rewards finding common ground,” he said in a statement. “At a time of intense partisanship, we’re in dire need of solutions.”’