Normally I agree with Peggy Noonan. After all, she was one of the youngest, if not the youngest, speechwriters in the Reagan Administration.
I cannot agree with her on this issue. Her opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, entitled, “America Needs the GOP, and It Needs Help” makes some very good points. Unfortunately, it’s based upon the flawed premise that there’s nothing wrong with our two-party system.
The two-party system is fundamentally flawed. Our nation needs a very serious change in our election process so as to promote FAR less emphasis on a candidate’s party and FAR more scrutiny of individual candidate education, experience and positions. In fact, being limited to voting strictly along party lines results in results usually far below optimal.
The major malfunction, however, rests in the people themselves. They find politics complicated enough and trust their party to find the best candidates, and THAT’S where they FAIL. If they would instead vet all candidates based upon education, experience and position on each political topic, they would make far more informed decisions and America would be far healthier.
To make matters worse, however, the two political parties are geared not to focus on the issues but rather, to oppose the other party. They, both parties favor candidates not for their education, experience and political positions, but rather, for the the candidate’s ability to strengthen the party as a whole.
Thus, not only does the system product sub-optimal results, but it harms the nation as a whole.
Here’s what would work far better, if only we could educate the masses to the rather high point where they would both understand and appreciate it.
The modified Delphi method is a group consensus strategy that systematically uses literature review, opinion of stakeholders and the judgment of experts within a field to reach agreement. Originally developed by the RAND Corporation in the 1950s, “The [Delphi] method entails a group of experts who anonymously reply to questionnaires and subsequently receive feedback in the form of a statistical representation of the “group response,” after which the process repeats itself. The goal is to reduce the range of responses and arrive at something closer to expert consensus. The Delphi Method has been widely adopted and is still in use today.” – Rand. (2021). Delphi Method. Retrieved from: https://www.rand.org/topics/delphi-method.html.
In a Modified Delphi approach, there would be no political parties at all. All candidates would engage with voters and their questions directly, and uncensored, on a random basis. They would be able to discuss the issues and see both the questions and responses of others as well as all discussions of the candidates, and even separate (and much shorter) panels where candidates would debate between themselves.
There would be no Chris Wallace moderating the responses, no specially selected questions, and no limit on the length of the responses. Candidates whose responses blather on would lose supporters. Those who responses are just plain wrong would lose supporters. Those whose responses are too short would lose supporters.
But those whose responses actually make good sense, are of an appropriate length, and well-worded would gain supporters.
Candidates would be graded directly by the voters at the polls.
In fact, our nation would literally save TRILLIONS of dollars, probably each year, if we got rid of our befuddled, wasteful and highly ineffectual political parties, and we’ve had the technology to go down this most impressive road for more than twenty years.
Sadly, this would require voters to be a whole hell of a lot smarter than they are, and I just don’t see that occurring in my lifetime. The vast majority of Americans are simply incapable of separating the chaff from the wheat in politics today, a fact heavily exploited by both political parties to the severe detriment of our nation as a whole.