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US Democracy Impeded by the Two-Party System; how can the US Bring forth a Truer Democracy.

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(“Two Party System…”)

Over the past 250 years, one thing has remained constant within the political world, the two-party system. Originally born from the decisions made by the founding fathers during the creation of the American constitution, the two-party system has undermined the founder’s intentions, and destabilized American democracy, specifically in the presidential elections. The two-party system stems from the Electoral college system and other constitutional factors that benefit the two-party system, along with the long history in the US of dichotomic debate (arguments where sides are completely opposed). As elections arive, third party voters have a choice to make, to waste their vote on their belifes, or to vote for the “better option.” This leads to les representation of those not in either of the two parties. Yet, although we have seen a shift in the two-party system, the silencing of voices, not belonging to either party, has remained constant. In recent years, the ideologies of each party have become increasingly unstable, to the point where an “extremist anti-system candidate” (Von Vacano) who in every way resembles a populous leader, such as President Trump, could win the electoral elections. On top of this, Trump managed to achieve this impossible feat by redefining what the GOP stood for and believes in. Trump is furthering the gap between the GOP and Democrats, with extremist candidates emerging from each side, the middle ground is crumbling. Berny Sanders as well has demonstrated populous tactics, emulating the leaders in his repetition of stories of the elite versus the masses (Von Vacano). The two-party system is changing and redefining what the mainstream is. This issue is at hand, and the future is at risk, how will we survive this country that is stretched too far in each direction, shatters? 

Personal Interest

What You Need to Know

The two-party system in its present form not only underrepresented any smaller parties, it all but sciences them. Right now populous leaders are emerging in both parties, extremists in their own right, they are changing the beliefs of both parties, and disestablishing the two-party system as we know it.

Unfortunately, very little is being done at the present moment to overturn or change the two-party system

Development and Creation

The two-party system in America was first introduced during George Washington’s Presidential terms in the late 18th century, and has divided the country and undermined US democracy ever since. The roots of the two-party system stem back further to the basic disagreement amongst colonial Americans on what type of government to create, and how powerful to make it. The first two opposing political parties were born of the dichotomy between having strong state governments, manifesting in the Antifederalist Party, and having a strong central government, presiding in the Federalist Party. The debate between two opposing views, such as race relations or citizenship, has only strengthened the systems hold in the US. This is put forth elegantly by David A. Dulio and James A. Thurber when they state that “[t]his culture of dichotomous debate has continued throughout the past 225 years and has set the stage for the two-party system that is in place today” (Dulio). In other words, the two-party system further cemented itself in American politics due to the practice of two-sided arguments in the US.

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Real Voting Statistics

Only about 57% of eligible voters actually vote, meaning that a president getting the backing of the majority of the country is near impossible. Furthermore, in the 2016 primary election, Donald Trump received almost 63 million votes, yet with almost 138 million eligible voters, trump only won just over a quarter of Americans, 26% (“Library guides”). Many of those votes were not for Trump, they were against the democratic party. In the 2016 republican presidential primaries, trump received 14 million votes, that’s only 10% of eligible voting Americans who truly wanted Trump in office.

The Evolution into the Present Day

The two-party system has grown over the years, mutating to fit circumstances and the current manifestation differs in many ways from the past. During the mid-1900s, the two-party system was criticized for not bringing enough difference of opinion to voters. Effectively we had four parties, this includes liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. Yet a key shift has happened in recent times, the middle ground is crumbling, and with the emergence of more radical candidates, the parties are growing further and further apart. Both parties are constantly striving for the supermajority after being neck and neck for decades, intensifying the distinctions between each other is a viable tactic (Drutman “America is now…”). 

At the same time, these hipper radicalized candidates are invoking populous methods. Diego von Vacano, a professor at Texas A&M University, has studied political theories and movements, populism in particular. In his analysis of the 2020 front runners, he makes noticeable comparisons to historical populous leaders. Trump has taken over the republican party using “mechanisms like fear, retaliation, [and] personalism. And these are populous methods” (Von Vacano). Trump’s use of “personalism” allows him to grow in popularity by using personal connections to increase his reach. Even more outlandish is how Trump parallels Peron from Argentina. Both leaders have a theatrical presence, in their behavior and presence, and appearance. Vacano then describes how in Latin-America Evo Morales’ repetition of telling stories of “the elite versus the masses” resembles the rise of Bernie Sanders. This shows how populous leaders are taking over the two opposing parties. In fact, populous leaders are easily exploiting how fragile party ideology is, replacing it with their own. Trump has already done this with several ideas, namely “race, gender, and the us versus them dialect” (Von Vacano). On top of this, Trump permanently changed a political theory, disproving it by not only winning as an “extremist anti-system candidate” but doing so by redefining half of the American political views, the GOP (Drutman “Why America’s…”).

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Solutions

Macro:

1. Diasporan and replace the electoral college system.

The electoral college system almost singlehandedly resulted in the two-party system and has kept the system afloat ever since. If we ever hope to replace or expanding the two-party system, then we must eradicate the electoral college system.

2. Create multiple new parties, that expand the views and opinions the public and choose from.

As established, having only two parties is extremely limiting to the range of opinions the public may hold, and so expanding the number of parties would allow for more diversity of thought. Candidates would be connected to parties, but voters would not, instead they would follow the candidates based on their individual ideals. Parties would function as a kind of sift, directing voters to candidates would share similar views, not identical.

3. Ban the placement of ads for or against candidates during the general/presidential elections.

This will even the playing field so that candidates from all parties have equal representation. Candidates without a party to support them would not be a disadvantage by the financial support of the major parties. In addition, this will help put the money being wasted on campaigning to better use. An example of this wastage is that in 2016, 6 million dollars where spent on the congressional and presidential elections (Sultan).

Micro:

1. Abandon all support of your party and kut all ties to it.

Leaving your political party would give an opening for smaller parties to form and gain momentum. Once America has a plethora of multi-opinionated parties, join or support those witch you agree with. This will also force all parties to expand their beliefs, to encompass a more broad range of voters. Partes will then be forced to look for support amongst those who don’t vote, such as minorities. Bringing in more voters will make America more democratic, and will allow for more diverse views for parties to aline with.

2. Instead of voting for your party of the “best option presented” vote for your ideal candidate.

Voting for your favorite candidate would allow for the representation of smaller parties and candidates. With more representation, these parties can expand and increase the number of major parties in the political ring, so to speak. Furthermore, since the majority vote is kinda sketchy at best, with Trump winning while only having 10% of Americans voting for him, and not for/against something else(party/contesting candidate). If people do this, the government would be forced to reconsider how the “majority rule” works.

3. Try to educate yourself on all the parties and candidates.

Wile completely impractical, doing so would give you, the voter, the best sense of who you agree with and would like to represent you. In the long run, this will help you make decisions about who you agree with, and will better allow you to make decisions on who you want as your president. Visit the candidates’ website, usually, they have their plans and views there, but be aware that whatever you read will be biased, in one way or the other, this is politics after all. I personally found this quick podcast interview very interesting about some of the 2020 front runners: Interview

Bibliography

Comments

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