IN RESPONSE | Don’t sell short the big tent of the two-party system
Author: Colorado Politics - June 4, 2018 - Updated: June 4, 2018
I was cruising right along through Miller Hudson’s essay (“Is independent thought making a comeback at the legislature?” May 29) until I came to his surprising conclusion — that the breakthroughs achieved by the state legislature in the last two sessions would somehow multiply if independent or third-party candidates win more seats in the election in November.
I have no problem with a broad array of ideologies and world-views in our state House and Senate. In fact, that’s what we have already. Just ask any Republican about the differences between the country club conservatives and the Tea Party wing, or ask any Democrat whether Bernie Sanders fans always see eye to eye with Hillary supporters.
But in our two-party system, the major parties tend to exert a calming effect on ideological outlier members. Would it actually be more productive to have more independent members who would not be subject to such moderating influences?
Furthermore, the bipartisan compromises we’ve achieved recently tend to undercut Hudson’s argument that we need to overhaul the system.
I’d say the breakthroughs of the last two legislative sessions that were cited by Hudson – budget reform, transportation funding, redistricting reform, PERA reform – plus more he didn’t name, like construction defects reform, education funding and rural broadband deployment – are pretty persuasive evidence that legislative Republicans and Democrats are indeed responding to citizen demand to roll up their sleeves and get things done.
I’m proud to have been a member of the Colorado legislature these last five years. It has been a while since Hudson served in the General Assembly, but I’m pleased to report to him that putting aside partisanship to come up with compromises that move the state and its people forward is a Colorado tradition that lives on.
The two-party system is not only alive and well in Colorado, it is far more productive than some pundits would have you believe.
(The author is the Democratic majority leader of the Colorado House of Representatives.)