Mapping a political system
The United States is one of the most populous and powerful countries in the world. Situated between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south with the nation>s capital at Washington DC, the United States of America is the third largest country in the world with a total area of 3,794,066 square miles.
With a population in the region of 311,592,000, the United States is also the third most populous country in the world. Almost 79% of the entire American population lives in urban areas, with New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix constituting the five most populous cities in the country. While the United States is a diverse nation, the majority of Americans are descended from European immigrants; African Americans are the largest minority group, followed by Asian Americans.
The United States is a federation of fifty states and one federal district: Washington, District of Colombia. Forty-eight of the fifty states make up the contiguous United States, with Alaska, though still part of the North American continent, separated from the lower forty-eight by Canada. The fiftieth state, and the most recent addition to the union, is Hawaii, a chain of islands located in the Pacific Ocean.
The United States also possesses five major unincorporated overseas territories: Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, and American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific.
Politically, the current two-party system has encouraged the rise of the most extreme candidates, taking rational moderates out of the national conversation and giving too much power to extremists in both parties. Much of the problem is actually institutional in nature: for example, the way the primaries system works means that independent voters in a lot of states are essentially unrepresented in choosing the two candidates who appear on the general election ballot. As a result, each party spits out more extreme candidates than would be elected if every eligible voter chose their top two preferences. A second problem relates to the gerrymandering of electoral districts, on the House side at least. Once you start playing with electoral boundaries for political gain, you are more likely to be challenged by someone who is even more liberal, or conservative, than you are. As a result, as a member of Congress, you always have to protect your more conservative or liberal flank.
It is not enough to describe yourself as ‘not a Republican’ or ‘not a Democrat’, because that>s what independents do—and a large and growing segment of the American population now describes itself that way. But it is hard to organize people who describe themselves as ‘not something’. The party cores stand for a series of principles that I would argue take the best of each party. The Centre stands for keeping what we like about the Republicans and Democrats and cutting off the tails--unfortunately, those tails tend to be in charge of the system right now.
Some think the system is broken; in fact, I’d say most people are going to say it is. Which begs the question: Are you prepared to do something about it?
It really comes down to the kind of people who are expressing how unhappy they are at backyard barbecues and church picnics getting mobilized around a different way of doing things.