The Debate of the Two-Party System in the U.S.

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The theme of the 2016 elections, which appeared to label people based on whether they are Democrats or Republicans, was one of the hottest subjects in different media houses, the mass media, and the social media in 2016. The historical pattern is said to date back to 1852 since, with the exception of the 1912 election, a candidate from either the Republican or Democratic parties has finished first or second in every election since the nineteenth century (Culhane). It is important to note that the opposing parties who first suggested the institution of parties argued that through political parties there will be more cooperation in the policy-making process and among the different sections of the government (Silverman 2). However, while many acknowledge that the two-party system has been instrumental in shaping the politics of the nation for a long time, there needs to be a change following the realization that there exist major decision-making and corruption issues associated with the current system.

The major concern that opponents of the two-party system have since highlighted is the idea that it makes the government operate when it is at a standstill. The state today in America is that the parties are unable to agree on anything and tend to fight each other on almost every aspect. Such a trend is dangerous for the nation because it implies that national issues where there needs to be a consensus will end up being politicized (Blake). Thus, when some policy is intended to benefit the citizen, it could face stiff opposition and in the end, it will not be implemented. According to the organization Future of Working, it the standstill effect results from the fact that there are no clear solution of issues that affect citizens because the parties find it difficult to help each other. Many believe that the US is currently facing controversial and complex issues, but from the way the government is structured in the political system, there is not much that is being done to change the situation.

It is further a concern that the existing two-party state is less effective as it fails to address the challenge of corruption. Regardless of the setting in the world that is being examined, it has been found that corruption tends to be consistent across many political structures (Menchen-Trevino). It is common to find that awarding of government structures tend to follow party insiders which are a manifestation of corruption. Furthermore, there are challenges in the funding of the different parties that leads to unfair allocation of resources. In a nation in the caliber of the US, it is thought to be a step in the wrong direction the resources are channeled through unfair means because the overall outcome is the lack of trust in the government systems. The trend in the US has been that contributors and funding agencies for election usually request for large portions of the returns when a candidate, which is a significant problem for the nation in the long run.

Lastly, is has also been cited that the system of politics makes people feel that they do not have choices. While a third-party has been existent for as long as the major parties have existed, the perceived notion has been that a person who votes for an independent party will have wasted their vote (Reichley 5). Other issues that have encouraged people to feel limited within the two primary parties is that assumption that by voting for independent candidates, one would be justifying a disengagement from the typical political institution by voting for people who do not have what it takes to win an election. The result of such perception is that people have ended up realizing that they are trapped in a situation in which they are only defined by the two choices and thy have no other choice (Green Garage Inc.). Coupland shares on this concept by defending that the political polling tends to trap the voters in time and space and thus people fail to realize what they are missing.

However, while the opposing viewpoints have become widespread in the past, there are some who still believe that the most preferred system should be the two-party system from the consideration of the associated benefits. One school of thought affirms that the multiparty state is the only option that appears to be democratic and practical at the same time (Kruhman). Gebelhoff defends the idea by opposing the other two possibilities of a dominant-party system and the true multi-party system. The dominant-party system is that which there is a single party that has the ultimate power, and despite the existence of smaller parties, they would still be insignificant even if they ganged together. In arguing against the later, the author states that nations such as South Africa, China, and Russia that are practicing it have ended up with totalitarian states that would not be effective for the US. Meanwhile, the multiparty system involves the structure where there are many parties (Gebelhoff). However, it is thought that it is more of a theoretical option than it is practical because it has not been successful in the past in any place in the world.

In fact, apart from the ruling out of the chances of the alternative parties, some have pointed out that there are benefits that are associated with the present system. One significant idea in support of the dual-system in politics is that it simplifies the politics of the country and makes it easy for people to choose those that they wish to vote for in the elections. It also makes it easy for the worthy candidates to run for the presidency because provided they have their policies in place and are able to justify their potential in office, they can be assisted with funding to enable them to earn the opportunities (Green Garage Inc.). In fact, according to some observers, the political stability in the US is attributed to the system that exists in the country (Future of Working).

From the understanding of the logistics of the two-party system, many have argued that the structure is unfit for the present generation in the US. Opponents have cited the possibility of corruption, the lack of options and the stalemate in decision making processes as the major challenges so far. However, proponents have not only ruled out the possible options that exist, but they have also clarified that the stability in the nation should be acknowledged to the political structure that has existed for decades. Thus, going forward, it will be interesting to see how it turns out as people grow restless with a system that has been proven to create national stability for a long time in history.

Works Cited

Blake, Aaron. “Why Are There Only Two Parties in American Politics?” The Washington Post (2016): n. pag. Web.

Coupland, Douglas. “Douglas Coupland on Why America’s Two-Party System Is No Longer Fit for Purpose.” Financial Times (2010): n. pag. Web.

Culhane, Patty. “What Most Americans Think about the Two-Party System.” Al Jazeera (2016): n. pag. Web.

Future of Working. “9 Advantages and Disadvantages of the Two Party System.” Future of Working. N.p., 2016. Web.

Gebelhoff, Robert. “Can We Please Stop Complaining about Our Two-Party System?” The Washington Post (2016): n. pag. Web.

Green Garage Inc. “10 Essential Pros and Cons of a Two Party System List of Pros and Cons.” The Eco Friendly Blog. N.p., 2016. Web.

Kruhman, Paul. “A Tale of Two Parties.” The New York Times (2016): n. pag. Web.

Menchen-Trevino, Ericka. “The Two-Party System Is Rigged, But It’s Not Against You.” The Huffington Post (2016): n. pag. Web.

Reichley, A. James. “The Future of the American Two-Party System in the Twenty-First Century.” Conference on The State of the Parties, Bliss Institute, Univerity of Akron (2005): n. pag. Web.

Silverman, Rena. “The Pros and Cons of a Two-Party System.” The Two Party System (2008): n. pag. Web.

October 25, 2022

News media Politics

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