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fgcarva1

Should the US end the two-party system?

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fgcarva1

As the 2012 Presidential elections approach, Republicans and Democrats take shots at each other making this one of the most ruthless political races in recent years (don't quote me on this). It seems as if all the recent partisan attacks are forcing Americans to move further left and further right, especially with the rise of political forces such as the Tea Party. Instead of looking for the bipartisanship that can lead to further progress in the creation of Bills, the American Congress is divided (although Republicans do take the majority) and rarely do Bills get passed without difficulty. The media has also been pushing for further left and right views with FOX News often criticizing the Democratic administration of the Executive and MSNBC hitting right back against the House Republicans. With relations between parties becoming so far apart, politicians that wish to remain centered have no one to go to and many times remain unspoken on issues while those independent politicians have no power to use in Congress.

 

Hell, I'm not American, I've never lived in America but I can say I dislike the two-party system and hope it ends soon because it's a fact that when two powers want different things there will be a struggle from each side to take it unless other forces step in to ease the conflict. With more parties, the American government will have politicians to break the deadlock between parties and hopefully get something else done.

 

Which brings me to the following question... why do Americans look into the past (not generalizing here, most young Americans don't) rather than the future? Do they not realize that this is nothing more than a political civil-war at hand?

 

I'd also like to know what are the FEC laws and regulations that "favor" the Republican and Democratic parties? Please enlighten me.

 

Discuss. monocle.gif

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sivispacem

I was going to suggest this goes in the existing "US Presidential Election" topic in GC, but its sufficiently different to entitle it to its own thread here. My view is that nations that have non-proportional voting systems (first past the post) will always have two parties who dominate electoral history, though these parties may vary, simply because non-proportional systems promote tactical voting to ensure your "last choice" doesn't find their way into office. I cannot, off-hand, think of a single first past the post system with a truly competitive third party, aside from perhaps Nepal (but the third party there are basically a regional off-shoot of the first party). As a general rule, nations have a choice between what is in reality a two-party system where overwhelming power rests with the party with the highest percentage of the vote, or a multilateral system where overwhelming power rests with smaller parties capable of brokering alliances and forming coalitions.

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Icarus
I cannot, off-hand, think of a single first past the post system with a truly competitive third party, aside from perhaps Nepal (but the third party there are basically a regional off-shoot of the first party).

Actually, I can give you another example: Canada.

 

The political parties are a little bit complicated because of the new parties that came about in the 90s, so I'll have to give a bit of details for a moment. Before the federal election in 1993, it was either the Progressive Conservative party that governed or the Liberal party (so when one formed the government, the other would be the official opposition).

 

When the election came about in 1993, there was a lot of dissatisfaction with the PC party and in particular, Brian Mulroney, who was the Prime Minister at the time. As well, there was a lot of pro-sovereignty pride building up in Quebec, so this was kind of the perfect storm. A new right-wing party emerged, the Reform Party, because they felt the PCs were becoming too moderate. As well, the Bloc Québécois came about as a federal party, with the main ideal to promote the secession of Quebec from Canada. With two parties on the right, there was major vote splitting and the Liberals cleaned house (the PC party, which dominated politics for the previous nine years, won two seats - the worst defeat for a governing party in the history of Canada) and the Bloc Québécois ended up becoming the official opposition (interesting how the official opposition was for Quebec separation). When the election came about in 1997, the Reform party took over as official opposition.

 

Anyways, in 2003, the former PC party and the Reform merged together to form the Conservative Party of Canada (which is in power today). So as for the major parties, we have the CPC, Liberals, Bloc Québécois (although they got wiped off the map in last year's election and are down to four seats), and the NDP (social democrat party) and I guess, you can count the Green Party, but they have one seat in Parliament and they just won it last year.

 

So, barring the tumultuous period of political parties from 1993 to about 2004, the two main factions were the Conservatives or the Liberals. Last year, something unbelievable happened: the NDP ended up becoming the official opposition, which never happened before. They were always seen as the third party and someone you would vote for if you were pissed at both the Conservatives and the Liberals, so the fact they swung forward and pushed the Liberals out of official opposition status was unexpected (then again, the Liberal leaders since Paul Martin have been terrible). I certainly didn't expect it (same with much of the country), but it was political history in the making in Canada.

 

Their leader, Jack Layton, was very charismatic and he was probably one of the most human leaders (in the sense that it didn't seem like he had a rod shoved up his ass) on Parliament Hill. Sadly, he didn't get to hold the tenure of Leader of the Official Opposition for too long; he died August 22, 2011 after a battle with cancer.

 

So right now, in Canada, there really is a third party option and it would be the NDP, although with the way the Liberal party is going, they could end up becoming something of the past in the next decade if they don't straighten up and fly right (although they've been plagued with scandal since the early part of last decade, so that doesn't help).

 

Granted, with the NDP being a left party and the Liberals still being around, it causes vote splitting on the left and it was what allowed the Conservatives to finally get their majority last year, after spending five years with two minority parliaments.

 

Alright, I think that's enough of an aside from Canada.

 

To the topic on hand, the problem when there's two major parties always battling it out and no real good third-party challenger, it kind of leaves some of the electorate in a state of hopelessness. If Party A governed and did a terrible job, you vote for Party B. But then, if Party B does a terrible job, too, and you know if you vote for Party A again, it's going to be the same old thing, it kind of leaves you a bit frustrated and slightly discouraged. So really, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

 

There is a problem in a first-past-the-post system, like Canada, if you have a third party challenger and two of the three parties are on the same side of the political spectrum (i.e. right versus left). You end up with a good potential for vote splitting; if you have two parties on the left and one on the right, you're giving the right an easy chance to gain either a minority parliament or a small majority (and vice-versa). It happened to Canada in the 90s when there were two right parties (PC and Reform) and the Liberals cleaned house; it's happening to Canada now with two parties on the left (NDP and Liberal) and the Conservatives are in power.

 

The thing, as an outsider to the United States, that baffles me is how partisan the politics are down there. You would expect (probably putting too high of hopes on this) that with some of the issues going on in the US, people would want to work together and help their country get on the right path instead of squandering about petty issues that are so pedantic. I know most countries (Canada included), when you have opposing parties working together, there's going to be friction and name calling, but in the United States, it just seems like they take it to a whole new level.

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Dingdongs

Unfortunately, no. First off, there is no way to "end" the system. The democratic party is very well united and has been for the past few decades - unfortunately that doesn't exist on the other side-

 

This is the republican party: libertarians, corporate conservatives, neocons, paleocons, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives.

 

That big tent is not meant to stand. Whereas the democrats have many differing views, the party really doesn't have all these different wings of people like the republican party has. For example, a democrat who is against the war in Afghanistan would go out and vote for say, someone like Obama who is not anti war - republicans would have massive fragmentation if you had say, a pro choice republican running. The fiscal conservatives, neocons, libertarians, even many paleocons would go out and vote - however social conservatives would stay home in massive numbers. Social conservatives are also the most passionate of the GOP - they are the grassroots fightters who form the base of the party and are essential. The problem with the republican party is that it encompasses way too many views. That's why you have Romney, a moderate in reality, acting like a phony right wing lunatic (and may govern like one to appease the party) to gather support. Look at 2008 - McCain, moderate guy, especially on social issues, picks Palin, a social conservative to get the base fired up. Romney did the same thing in picking a guy with true far right credentials to help the ticket. Ryan is a good pick only for the reason that he will increase turnout amongst far right conservatives who hate Romney. Ryan is otherwise a terrible pick - if Romney didn't have to appeal to the lunatics, he could've picked someone who would've helped with the swing voter. If Romey loses, the party will be in trouble. It already is fragmenting, and I believe a loss in this election will cause a true third far right party to arise that will challenge the republicans. The republican party of today is not "your dads republican party" as the saying goes - so many of those who were in the party for its pro business, pro hard work attitudes have left. After Bush's terrible failure or during it, hundreds of thousands were disaffected, and now with the tea party more are leaving or at least no longer voting party lines for republicans anymore. If the party splinters, we'll see the GOP go back To being your dad's republican party, and the tea party would take the far right- who exist in larger numbers than you think.

 

However, that would simply lead to turmoil and likely remain a two party system.

Edited by Irviding

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Alastair Smyth

 

Hell, I'm not American, I've never lived in America but I can say I dislike the two-party system and hope it ends soon because it's a fact that when two powers want different things there will be a struggle from each side to take it unless other forces step in to ease the conflict. With more parties, the American government will have politicians to break the deadlock between parties and hopefully get something else done.

 

Well, really? You have the Brazilian flag underneath your username, so I assume you either are Brazilian or live there. So you are an American (who lives in America). Abusing the continental name to refer to the US only is not just horribly incorrect, but also supports the superioty complex of US-Americans. Since we are in the debating section, I think it's okay to mention this.

 

 

I wholeheartedly agree with your idea. A two party system is primitive. Especially when it's just center left (lazy "liberals" who do nothing but care about their own skin) and center right (same as far right to me, only care about their own skin too.. and it's colour). I wish the US a better future, which would not only mean to never ever have a Republican fascist lead the country again, but diversity in politics and bold voters on top of that. Why not left, far left, green or even mindlessly boring smooth talking Libertarians? Still better than the Republicans. The Democrats do not have to be the alternative.

Edited by Alastair Smyth

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Leftcoast

I do not feel represented in government with the two party system. Neither party embodies my beliefs, I am a little left of center in general but fairly moderate all around.

 

I do believe it needs to end, I don't see that happening in the US for a long time tho.

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lil weasel

Don't think of it as a two party system.

The Democratic Party controls most of the government and has for years.

The Only time the Republican party is allowed into office is when the DP needs more money to spend.

 

Today the difference between the parties is fading.

So many Democratic party members have crossed the line that the RP is tainted heavily.

Demos for Workers.

Reps for Business.

That is the tradition.

Now it's just a Power Grab.

 

It's gotten so bad that the runners avoid states like Connecticut because they know the DP machine here in National elections always goes DP.

 

We actiually have a mult-party system but the public is propagandised to believe it is only two parties, and fringe lunatic's around the edges.

 

 

 

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sivispacem

 

The Democratic Party controls most of the government and has for years.

I count 12 US presidents since 1900 who were Republicans, and 8 Democrats. So it's certainly not true in the case of Presidential elections. And I'm pretty sure that it's not true in the case of the legislature, either. I can't find the figures right now, but I'm relatively certain that at least one branch of the legislature has been majority republican for the majority of the 20th and 21st century. Also, the Republicans are (currently at least) stronger in governorships, state upper and lower houses and in the HoR.

 

 

The Only time the Republican party is allowed into office is when the DP needs more money to spend.

Isn't this quite a counter-intuitive theory? How would cutting tax revenues and dismantling public services give the Democrats more money to spend when they are in power, rather than less?

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bobgtafan

Yep we need a one party state I tell you what.

 

-User was warned for this post-

Edited by sivispacem

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Ronnyboy

My father has for years preached the benefits of having a 3 party system and believes we should switch to it. But there's a problem with that, and that's the human problem. A party has to take a point, very easy like abortion. Now you can either want it, or not want it. You can want it, but with regulation. Or not want it, but allow small exceptions under regulation. A third party would simply have to side to pass as there's no cut line. So the vote would sing to the parties beliefs and what their representatives believe in. Now, a third party could switch, and possibly unite a bill to work in both sides favor, acting as the back scrath-er to the "Back Scratch System" ("you do this, I'll do that" sort of thing) whole operation.

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Dingdongs

 

The Democratic Party controls most of the government and has for years.

I count 12 US presidents since 1900 who were Republicans, and 8 Democrats. So it's certainly not true in the case of Presidential elections. And I'm pretty sure that it's not true in the case of the legislature, either. I can't find the figures right now, but I'm relatively certain that at least one branch of the legislature has been majority republican for the majority of the 20th and 21st century. Also, the Republicans are (currently at least) stronger in governorships, state upper and lower houses and in the HoR.

 

 

The Only time the Republican party is allowed into office is when the DP needs more money to spend.

Isn't this quite a counter-intuitive theory? How would cutting tax revenues and dismantling public services give the Democrats more money to spend when they are in power, rather than less?

Mostly true. Weasel is off base in saying they control everything. As you said, state governorships and state houses are all very Republican right now. The congress was controlled by democrats for most of the 20th century though. That's why they call the 1994 elections the "Republican Revolution".

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feliciano2040

More than ending a two party system, what the US really really REALLY needs is for money to stop going into politics, lobbying is a goddamn curse on your country, it enables rationalization of the highest order in politics, which in turn causes disastrous consequences not just on the US, but on the whole world.

 

Consider Global Warming, it's all but proven that it is a reality, but noooooooo, "studies" keep coming out where they keep "debunking it", and when you look far back enough, it's always one energy company or the other which is funding the study in the first place, as well as the senator who will end up saying "THIS LAND WAS GIVEN TO MEN BY GOD ! AND HE SHALL DO WITH IT AS HE PLEASES !".

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Dingdongs

^ I agree, the McCain-Feingold act was a good start, but in my view we need a constitutional amendment - the court is right in stating that, right now, there really is no constitutional way to ban money in politics.

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feliciano2040
^ I agree, the McCain-Feingold act was a good start, but in my view we need a constitutional amendment - the court is right in stating that, right now, there really is no constitutional way to ban money in politics.

It's gonna be a LONG WAY until that happens, specially since there will always be assholes like Ron Paul saying that such bans would be "infringing the first ammendment".

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Dingdongs
^ I agree, the McCain-Feingold act was a good start, but in my view we need a constitutional amendment - the court is right in stating that, right now, there really is no constitutional way to ban money in politics.

It's gonna be a LONG WAY until that happens, specially since there will always be assholes like Ron Paul saying that such bans would be "infringing the first ammendment".

I do agree that Ron Paul is an asshole, but unfortunately the argument sort of makes sense. In order to completely take big money out of politics, you'd have to pass a constitutional amendment.

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feliciano2040
I do agree that Ron Paul is an asshole, but unfortunately the argument sort of makes sense. In order to completely take big money out of politics, you'd have to pass a constitutional amendment.

Naturally, though I really don't think Ron Paul is up for that, nor is any of the big oil companies that get benefitted from the 4 billion dollar subsidies they get every year.

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