We are a humble party – we believe in returning control of the political process to the voter
Popular Sovereignty, one of the underlying principles of the Constitution of the United States and one of the fundamental theories of democracy, is the belief that government exists and functions to exercise the will of its people. The will of the people is quantified through elections which allow citizens to voice their political opinions through the election of representatives and policy makers; however, powerful groups have managed to pervert the process of political participation through time and have subsequently distorted the public interest. Both major parties, through ballot access rules, gerrymandering, primaries, and non-ranked ballots, have unnaturally limited the voter to two choices and have corrupted the expression of public will which is fundamental in the survival of democracy.
George Washington foresaw the problem of political parties long before they grew to the political and monetary machines they are today. In his farewell address, Washington warned of the power political parties had to “usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." Washington feared, as have many since, that political parties would try to create a monopoly of political power in this country and use that power to manipulate the people. These fears have been made a reality by the lawmakers who hold both public office and membership to one of the major parties. The Modern Whig Party will work to return the power of the vote back to the people.
Ballot access rules, such as unreasonably high requirements for signatures for independent candidates and absurd polling requirements for primaries, hinder any potential public servant who does not belong to a major party from being elected to office. It is no wonder why there has been no third-party or independent candidate to have any sort of success in the presidential election since Ross Perot in 1992. Lawmakers, who are almost entirely members of one of the two major parties, believe that it is in their best interest to preserve the duopoly of the Democrats and Republicans so that their power will not be threatened by multiple groups. But therein lies the very problem with the current electoral system: these laws are in their interest, not your interest. The job of the people writing election rules is not to preserve their power. Their job is to give you, the electorate, the best possible conduit for your opinions. Ballot access rules prove that in this job the political parties have failed you greatly. The Modern Whig Party promotes the diverse ideological range of candidates and parties that should be eligible for election in order to best represent the people and their interests and prevent the ‘lesser of two evils’ voting that has disgraced our political system. The Modern Whig Party exists for the people; the election laws that Whigs promote will be for you, the voter, and not for any party’s interests.
Primaries, too, unnaturally limit the options of the electorate by forcing only two options upon the people. In presidential elections, the primary system forces the entirety of a party to back a candidate they may not agree with or else vote for a person on the other side of the political spectrum. Candidates, too, must support their former political opposition or else face disgrace from their own party and subsequent removal from office by being cast in the shadow of political obscurity - all because that candidate dare violate the practice of the almighty party! An illuminating example of this flawed system was the 2016 presidential election, which gave the majority of the electorate a choice between two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in United States history, and saw many politicians completely reverse their rhetoric toward Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in order to gain favor with their party. This demonstrates that the parties exist only to serve the party, not all of the American people.
Primaries are equally as dangerous to our democracy at the local level. Some states practice the ‘closed primary’, which allows only the members of a political party to vote for those candidates from their party in a primary. This practice completely alienates independent voters and forces the electorate to join one of the two major parties so that their voice can be heard in the political process before the choices are reduced to two candidates, neither of whom represent that given voter’s interests.
Closed primaries give a candidate from one group of people the opportunity to govern all groups of people. At the local level, the primary system can hinder individuals from having a voice in their own communities in areas consistently dominated by one political party. This system is unrepresentative of the will of most of the electorate; even when votes are given to a given candidate, they are increasingly done so because the voter prefers one candidate over the other rather than being given because the voter is genuinely enthusiastic about a candidate’s policies. If we want to have the best candidates for office, we must rid ourselves of the primary system and the duopoly of the Democrats and Republicans. All ideas must be represented in a fair and balanced way so that the voice of the people can be clearly heard.
The Modern Whig Party fights to give people a genuine outlet for their beliefs through the voting process. The Whigs want the voters to have a real voice in their elections and elect individuals that represent their policies, whether that candidate is from the Modern Whig Party, an independent, or from another party. What matters most is that the will of the citizens of this country is voiced loudly, clearly, and fairly in our elections. The Modern Whig Party intends to give the power of the vote back to the people.
John Carley is a writer for the Modern Whig Party, a senior at Father Judge High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A proud Whig and future candidate.