The End of the Two-Party Political System
The two party political system in the United States started during the 19th century, and the major parties are the Republicans and the Democrats. United States since its foundation has tried to give a representation of democracy. However, a two party system appear to give a contrary expectation about democracy. The end of a two party system and the introduction of a Multi-party system in the United States is a subject that creates a great debate. The proponents of the two party system argue that this political system is more stable and predictable compared to a multi-party political system. The founding fathers of the United States of America had a negative opinion about a multiparty system because they were afraid that it would divide the country into many parts hence creating a hectic environment and the two party-system was meant for check and balances (Herrnson et al. 6). However, it is evident that the two-party system is responsible for the some of the problems experienced in the United States because it limits the electorate options during the elections because one has only two options, to vote for either the Republicans or the Democrats. For this reason, there should be more political parties than just the Democrat and the Republican.
Most Americans believe that the two party system no longer fulfill their interests, but this system is not likely to change any soon. Two-party system creates a lack of choice among the voters. The main political parties in America, the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party tend to be similar thus limiting the voter’s options. Voters in the US have only two options during the polling day and their only option if they do not prefer either of the parties is not to vote at all (Agyemang, “America needs a multi-party system”). Two party system has been the main contributing factor towards lower voter turnout during the elections. A multiparty system will offer the electorate with many options during the poling day.
During the election campaigns of the just concluded presidential elections, the Republicans who fought during the party nominations united only to attack President Obama, on the other hand, the Democrats launched their anti-Republican attacks. Regrettably, these party allegiances have come to stamp out innovation and impede progress instead of serving the interests of the American citizens (Tybalt, “Who Runs the U.S.? The Effect of the Two-Party System”). Multi- party system will force the political parties to devise significant and practical solutions to the problems faced in America because of the competition for votes (Green et al. 7). Moreover, for effective passing of Legislations, there needs to be a coalition between two or more parties.
For many years, the US voters have opted for political status quo, which directs their opinions and votes into one of the two parties. Both parties present conflicting policies and they advocate for other freedoms while giving restrictions on others. Both parties do not offer solutions to problems, which have affected America for many years. For the past forty years, the war on drugs has consumed billions of dollars, and no lasting solution to the problem has been found (Agyemang, “America needs a multi-party system”). Nevertheless, during the last election cycle both parties ignored the issue and instead focused on issues that will grant them a win in the elections. The introduction of a multi-party political system will ensure that the political parties focus on the issues that benefit the citizens.
Another problem of two party political system is that those who have made declaration concerning their allegiance to a certain party have a tendency of alienating any member of the party who has a slight differing opinion. Both the Republicans and the Democrats attempt to eradicate diversity of views and opinions through alienation or conversion (Tybalt, “Who Runs the U.S.? The Effect of the Two-Party System”). For example, Ron Paul, the congressional representative of Texas who holds libertarian views and a critic of US monetary, domestic and foreign policy faced ridicule and exclusion by both Republicans and Democrats because his ideas could not fit those of the Republican party. This shows that the two party system embraces deference rather than difference.
In a two party system, election campaigns are always very costly due to high levels of competition. With only two political parties in the United States, the election campaigns are always expensive. The former congressional representative of Florida 22nd District raised about 3.7 million USD to facilitate his campaign against Allan West, but eventually spent 5.3 million USD on his failed campaign (Tybalt, “Who Runs the U.S.? The Effect of the Two-Party System”). John McCain, the Republican Presidential candidate during the 2008 elections made claims that he lost the elections due to lack of adequate campaign funds. With the competition resulting from the to-party system, candidates have to rely on donations unless he or she is privately wealthy like New York Mayor, Bloomberg. If the donations are not enough, the candidate will have to rely on funding from their parties, labor unions, activist organizations, or banks. The problem with these fundings is that the sponsor will own the candidate. This limits any politician from effecting any changes on how the country is governed because he will have to conform to donor’s directives failure to which the funding will be withheld (Tybalt, “Who Runs the U.S.? The Effect of the Two-Party System”).
The existence of only two dominant parties in the United States can effectively split the country straight down in the middle. From the results of the recently concluded elections, the popular vote results show that the country was divided into two right in the middle. The polarization in America has been brought by policies and ideologies advocated by the two parties. Some of the conflicting issues, which bring division in the US, include the size of government, budgets, and social issues including gay marriage and abortion. A report by the Quinnipiac Polling Institute shows that the polarization is caused by racial backgrounds and differing lifestyles (Herrnson et al. 62). For example, people living in the urban areas have a higher possibility of voting the democrats unlike those in the rural areas who will vote for the republicans. During the 2012 elections, married whites who attend church regularly voted for Mitt Romney while the non-whites who are less religious voted for Obama (Tybalt, “Who Runs the U.S.? The Effect of the Two-Party System”). In addition, Democrats had more support from the women population while the Republicans had relatively more support from men.
The existence of only two major prevents any government from fulfilling its election promises and thus satisfying the interests of the citizens. The existence of only two parties creates conflict in any government. Most of the government officials will spend most of their time in office debating rather than doing their respective jobs (Berlatsky 19). Instead of the Republicans and the Democrats working together and finding the middle ground in creating and implementing policies, they focus on proving to the electorate that the other party is wrong and incompetent. Besides, it makes others think that their opinions do not matter because they lack representation. People who are strong partisan in their parties have fixed minds, and they do not candidly listen to both viewpoints of any issue (Agyemang, “America needs a multi-party system”). They listen and abide only for what it fits into their ideology rather than being open to the numerous solutions available to them. Many parties in the United States will hence cure this problem.
On the other hand, the opponents of the existence of many political parties in the United States argue that two party political system is more reliable and predictable thus benefiting economic growth in the country. The existence of only two parties ensures that unconventional ideas fail to gain any political influence thus reducing the tendency of rapid change in both governments and policies. In addition, they have a belief that the two party system is simple for the electorate because they have only two options and it also easier to govern. In a two party system, there exists harmony and unruliness is less experienced compared to the multi-party system (Green et al. 23). Nonetheless, these arguments are not justified on the basis that the Democrat and the Republican Parties tend to be similar thus limiting the voters options. In the same way, two party system limits any potential change and adoption of new ideas.
In conclusion, the cons of two party political system exceed the pros thus giving an indication that more political parties in the United States than just the Democrat and Republican. A multiparty political system will ensure that there is a real democracy in the United States because the citizens will have a number of options to choose from in the elections period.
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Berlatsky, Noah. Does the U.S. Two-Party System Still Work? Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010.
Green, John C, and Daniel J. Coffey. The State of the Parties: The Changing Role of
Contemporary American Politics. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007.
Herrnson, Paul S, and John C. Green. Multiparty Politics in America: Prospects and
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Tybalt. Who Runs the U.S.? The Effect of the Two-Party System. Teen Ink website, 2012. Web.
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