2-party system keeps us centered

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We are just a few days away from the qualifying deadlines for the 2012 election primaries, which will occur on Tuesday, March 13.

And a sad thing has happened to Alabama politics. We have become, again, essentially a one-party state.

While once all local elections were Democratic primaries, in Covington County, Ala., it appears every single candidate will seek office as a Republican.

We think that’s a bad thing for a number of reasons.

First, there is a relatively short election cycle between qualifying deadlines and primary elections. While some may find it refreshing for politics to be essentially “over” in about five weeks, that is sometimes not enough time to identify issues and “vet” candidates.

Secondly, the local 2012 elections – sans municipal decisions – could potentially be over on March 13, or at the very latest, on April 24 should a runoff prove necessary.

Yet, those elected will not take office until November of 2012 or January 2013, depending upon the office to which they are elected. So potentially, a current commissioner or county school board member could lose a race this spring, be hurt and angry, and have until about the second week of November — after the general election where these decisions SHOULD be made, is over – to make things difficult for a successor.

The Republicans who were Rs back when Rs weren’t cool longed for a two-party system in our state so that issues would be looked at from all angles. Unfortunately, fear of being in the party of a locally-unpopular president helped many Ds decide to change their allegiances, and yet-undeclared candidates to choose the GOP.

Those old-time Rs didn’t exactly get what they wanted, and many of them would agree that a true, two-party system would be better for our state. Most of us live our lives in the center of the political spectrum, and we need balance in politics to keep our officials governing there.