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The Great Divide
The American political system is certainly unique, diverse, and complex. Yet, the system contains a drastic flaw, the over whelming dominance of the two-party political system. This system has created drastic political biases and divisions amongst the American people, it forces people to choose between two political agendas, it leaves no room for compromise or different views, and is drastically inefficient. The political revolutionaries that founded this great nation warned of political parties, and for good reason, the list of problems created by over dominance of political parties is extremely long. Yet, it is in politicians’ best interests to keep the current system. Thus, is why “we the people” must fight to abolish the two-party system and replace it with a system that will serve the best interests of the people of the United States.
In the United States there are two major political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. In modern times, the Democrats typically align with the liberal view points and “…the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper…” (http://www.democrats.org/). The Republicans (sometimes called the Grand Old Party or GOP) typically align with conservative views, are in favor of for self-reliance and personal responsibility. Both parties campaign for economic prosperity, equality, and patriotism, but they each have drastically different definitions of this things and very different plans to achieve these goals. Though the two parties have many of the same ultimate goals, it is their bitter rivalry that causes the American people to suffer.
If the war between the parties was fought with weapons, instead of words, the human race would be dead from nuclear fallout. H.L. Mencken said “Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right.” By this Mencken meant the ultimate goal of both parties is to convince the electorate that the other party is corrupt, evil, greedy, unintelligent, heartless, and guilty of all other wrongs that can be thought of; when really both parties are guilty of these crimes.
Studies done by the University of Michigan (reported in a Boston Globe article July 11th, 2010) found “…when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs.” This means a political party must only convince their members that they are “right” and the other party is “wrong.” Once that idea is set, even hard facts and correct evidence, as proven by researchers at the University of Michigan, will not change the opinions of most voters. Thus, parties smear each other instead of presenting correct and unbiased facts. They need not serve the best interests of the American people, only be “better” to a greater number of voters. This is the core reason why the two-party-system does not serve the best interests of the American people.
Partisan politics lead to other issues, as stated above, people develop biases because of partisan politics. These biases can lead to the dismissal of helpful ideas and acceptance of harmful ones. If peoples’ biases become too extreme they will immediately dismiss ideas from the other party or too quickly accept the stance of their own party. A 2010 Gallup poll asked “Why would you say you are voting for the democratic candidate?” 12% of the registered voters whom said they would vote demarcate on the day the poll responded that their prime reason for voting democate was because they “Dislike republicans.” This dislike of the other party can cause immediate dismissal of ideas from the opposite party. This along with dismissing the other party’s ability to lead in the mind of voters (as mentioned above) makes progress and compromise nearly impossible.
Compromise between the parties really does seem impossible at times due to this childish division. Another Gallup poll conducted in October 2006 wrote in an accompanying article “That is in part because partisans on both sides can't bear to say anything positive about the opposing party.” The poll asked members of both parties “What Americans like about [the other party]”. Of the republicans surveyed 63% responded “Nothing” to the question, and 70% of democrats surveyed responded “Nothing” when asked what Americans liked about the Republican party. These numbers are outrageous considering that both parties contain intelligent, caring, and creative people. With so many members of both parties having such a negative view of the other party, it is obvious that respect and compromise will be lacking in debate.
The issue of political partisans is not the only issue facing the American political system. Another issue created by party politics is party loyalty. The Gallup poll mentioned above, which asked “Why would you say you are voting for the democratic candidate?” The answered were widely varied, yet the most common reason(30%) for choice of voting was “[I] Always vote Demarcate.” Gus Mitchell called people “habitual creatures”, and this poll certainly proves his point. If the parties did not exist, it would be more difficult for people to habitually vote. People would be forced to learn the names and at least some of the views of the candidates. A party-less system would not allow for someone to gain office simply because they had more uniformed loyal votes.
According to SOC 2011 edition the key factor in political socialization is family, which, means the people that responded that they ”always vote demarcate” likely had parents that did the same. These people will likely politically socialize their children to make choices based on habit or tradition; not reason. This is dangerous to the American people’s safety and freedoms. If a party continues to be elected into office not due to its policies, agenda, or trustworthy candidates, but merely because enough people blindly follow them; that party may be put in a position where they can pass whatever legislation they wish without fear of prosecution.
Based on information in American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials 2010-2011 the two parties have a monopoly on the political market. It is common knowledge that no two people are exactly alike, yet, the American people can only chose between two political agendas. Due to the overwhelming strength and power of the major parties very few third parties have been able to make a stake in the political world against the major parties. It is shocking that in a country whose economy relies so heavily on competition, has so little choice when it comes to government.
In conclusion, there are many issues with the two party political system. It has a negative effect on efficiency, compromise, and democracy. The system makes it all too easy for voters to mindlessly follow the habits of their parents, never stopping to examine the politicians they vote for individually. It is much less time consuming to check the straight ticket box and conform to an agenda which may support some issue voters do not completely agree upon. In the parties pursuit for power they will smear and spread propaganda about the other party in an attempt to harm their opponents’ image with the American people and quickly stomp out all new parties that may challenge their authority and political strength. The two parties refuse to compromise or consider the other’s views, creating ignorance that only harms the people of America.
It is obvious that there is much tension and hate amongst members of the two parties. This division is intentional in order to distract the American people from the real issues with the political system. Corrupted politicians hide behind the colors of their party in all levels for government. Greedy men and woman create a ruse that the majority of illegal activities occur in the opposite party. While the people bicker about which party is has their best interests at heart, politicians on the left and right rob them of their money, future, and freedoms. The real issue with the two party political systems is the war it had created amongst neighbor and brothers. For politicians know the key to the building and survival of any dictatorship is for the leaders to divide those below them.