ABOLISHING THE POLITICAL PARTY AS AN ELEMENT IN A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT
What would it be like to have a No-Party Democracy? Since we have experienced experience what it feels like to have multi-party, a two-party or even a One-party democracy, how would it, however, feel having a No-Party Democracy. One of the greatest American legal Philosophers, Joel Feinberg in his renowned book, ”The Nature and Value of Rights”, began by outlining his philosophical thought experiment. And he says, ”Imagine a place where we can innately relate to, and no person has a personal right. We can create a Nowheresville which is as impressive as we can imagine in moral respect. Create an impressively attractive people and highly ethical, compassionate, and benevolent in its beautiful way” (Goodin 204). In this democratic system, there would be a world whose political arrangements are every bit as democratic as our own. Every person living in this jurisdiction is entitled to vote, and the votes get fairly counted. Assuming the candidate with the most votes is faithfully installed in the office and reliably vacating the office upon losing a subsequent election.
No-Party democracy is characterized by no-intentional action on the part of politicians before, during or after elections. This to coordinate their political activities with those of any other politician. The politicians do not constitute themselves a ‘’collective agent’’ with an internal decision-making structure and do not act in unison in any way. In the No-Party system, every person works wholly independent of every other. If any commonality occurs across their political behaviour are supposedly unintentional.
In today’s world, it may seem a fanciful scenario and the is not discussed much. In the case of some occasional regimes such as Uganda of Museveni, the country poses itself as a No-Party democracy. However, the country could be a One-Party democracy, and the local government is the closest contemporary approximation that is found in a No-party democracy (Goodin 208). No-Party democracy, however, is less unconventional and divisions among the governing elites have occurred for a long time. Political parties also as an organizational form have are a relatively modern innovation, arising in their current way in the nineteenth century.
What political life would be?
Looking at a more practical way of addressing the question of what political life would be like in a No-party Democracy. The politics in such democracies would be democratic by stipulation as various people would compete with one another for office. The government would be formed with at the head and others occupying subsidiary offices of state based on the outcome of elections. Life under NO-Party Democracy would be just the same as at present. The only difference would lie based on a non-existing official or non-official party organizations as political candidates scramble for elective posts and comply with each other while exercising office duties. Personalistic politics would identify the system as people stand for office as individuals, in an entirely personal right (Goodin 210). They hence sell themselves to the electorates mainly based on their character, which may be numerous and diverse ranging from compassion, integrity, intelligence, eloquence, competence, among others. When choosing candidates based on their merits, such characteristics inevitably loom large. Personality would also form the basis for partnerships on the floor of parliament thus elected. In both respects, then we would naturally predict that No-Party Democracy will be prone to a more personal fashion.
Second, No-Party Democracy would be more inclined to politics that is clientelist in nature of patrons and clients since people get linked to others through the personal ties of allegiance. In the parliamentary convention of No-Political Democracy, the formation of coalitions is more intimate. The bond between electors and the elected is also more personal, more of a client to patron bond.
No-Party Democracy hence would be featured by patronage diplomacy where the premium would be on a democracy service. Moreover, in a No-Party Democracy, the primary function of elected members is to serve as a legal representative vis-à-vis the central government authorities and to secure public services and the private benefits for the district. It is these favours for which the incumbents will bribe their constituents and get rewarded with re-elections.
The experiences of the No-Party Democracy of the early American republic bears out those predictions. To recall, the most famous case in the early history of the U.S Supreme Court arose over a matter of patronage, Marbury is one of the ”midnight judges” appointed to the federal courts on the eve of President Adams handling office over to his rivals.
Following from all that, No-Party Democracy will be featured by less of politics than of Administration where politicians’ appeal to the voters is primarily personalistic. Where their links to one another are personalistic, any action that forms organized and reasonable policies have little or no starting point. What representatives do have is a consistent and ongoing interest in the Administration of the affairs of the state, and how that impacts on their constituents, which is the key to their re-election. That is where the focus of a representative’s attention would naturally fall in a No-Party Democracy.
Furthermore, No-Party Democracy ought to be characterized by politics of cohesion and togetherness. The democracy would presumably be addressed primarily to demographically shared interests. People can end up electing a person whom they identify with in terms of where they reside, a person of the same class, ethnicity or gender. The thought is that if the representative is like them, then in serving her interest, the representative will incidentally help theirs as well.
Also, identities and shared interests can give rise to organized factions, and therefore parties. However, even if there was no official or non-official formation of a party in any electorates, the simple facts underlying these features can result to several constituents to cast independent votes in favour of the same person whom they share a lot. In the absence of official or non-official formation of parties in the parliament, the simple fact of the shared issues can result to several representatives independently to cast votes in favour of a similar enactment that well serves people with those shared features.
What would be missing?
What might be a miss in a No-Party Democracy is any system systematic pursuit of principles in politics and the politics of ideas, practices in any systematic way. Although even in a No-Party Democracy, individual candidates for office offer their particular ideas in the course of trying to recommend themselves to electorates. Personal representatives provide their views on proposed legislation, as it comes up for a vote on the floor of the legislative assembly (Goodin 214). But in such a democracy, each one of them would be independently acting so with not a standard link in their way of thinking.
In the case of political interests where distinctive interests are few and coincidences among them, a unique idea is many and accidents among them rare. In consequence, would be non-intentional coalitions among people who coincidentally happen to hit upon the same purposes of a specific policy. The sorts of general ideas upon which people may converge without intentionally trying overreaching ideologies are only undetermined at the level fine-grained policy detail. When there is no a standard method of deliberate linking, such as a party merged around a similar platform, various persons would be injected into the office from multiple constituencies based on diverse ideas that they formed from their different respective places. And various legislators, at their own time, would cast votes for a particular enactment based on those many ideas.
Democracies, however, have other institutions beyond political parties which might otherwise complement party democracy in ways that further aids in giving the people their laws. When the ratio of legislation is, however unclear, it is the courts that the people turn. They get charged with imposing a proportion on the bill when interpreting and applying it (Goodin 216). On its other face that looks undemocratic, judges are not electorally accountable. However, it is the obligations of judges to chose a competing rationale for legislation that can be found in the legislative record to be treated as the rationale for purposes of interpreting and applying that legislation. They are however not democratically permitted to impose just any logic that they please. They are limited in their search to justifications that are arguably available in the legislative record.
Goodin, Robert E. Innovating democracy: Democratic theory and practise after the deliberative turn. OUP Oxford, 2008.