Has the Two Party System Done More Harm Than Good?
Despite the elections being over, the country still appears to be embroiled in political disputes concerning President-Elect Trump and how the system to elect the President of the United States needs revamping.
In an earlier article, we analyzed the Electoral College System. This time, we will be taking a look at the two party system of Democrats vs Republicans and how it may have done more harm than good to national politics.
When the Founding Fathers first created the national government through the United Station Constitution, political parties were not taken into account.
This is because political parties, at that time, did not exist.
The US government is divided into three branches. The Executive Branch contains the office of the Presidency, the Legislative Branch consists of the houses of Congress, and the Judicial Branch has the Supreme Court.
This was done to create a system of checks and balances. In other words, the branches work to ensure no one branch holds too much power over the United States.
In the beginning, it was thought that institutional loyalty would be fostered to promote the practice of checking and balancing the branches.
The development of political parties instead led to party loyalty.
With institutional loyalty the hope was that members of Congress would act in the interest as Congress, as a whole. The President would act in the best interest of the Presidency.
Party loyalty, however, meant that politicians would act in the best interest of their respective parties.
The obvious danger of this being that the President would belong to one of the parties and be seen as the party leader. Members of Congress belonging to that party will then act in favor of the President and those in the opposing party would act against.
Depending on which party has a majority, this now leads to either too much checking or not enough. It also leads to Senators and Representatives trying to get a member of their own political party into the Presidency.
Politics then becomes more of a sporting event of the Republican team vs the Democratic team as opposed to a joint effort to keep the country functioning and improving.
An example would be how the Republican led Congress has gone against the Obama administration for the past few years, even going so far as to deny President Obama his constitutional right and duty to appoint a Supreme Court judge to a vacant seat.
Political parties have led to government gridlock and even complete shutdowns.
They also inadvertently serve as way to polarize the citizens of the country. Any election season will showcase this. Republicans have steadily had more and more extreme conservative messages in order to rally supporters, while Democrats have been doing the same to rally and excite their liberal base.
Because of this, politicians and citizens often times put party politics above national politics.
This is not what the founders of this nation intended. Citizens were to vote for politicians that represented their interests concerning the nation, and then those politicians were meant to act within the framework of the constitution to enact policies pursuant to those national interests.
Instead we have Red vs Blue. GOP vs Dems.
How can we solve this issue?
Party politics have become so ingrained in the fabric of American political culture that it will be near impossible to move away from it.
Humans, as a species, are hardwired to group people into tribes and groups. The development of political parties, with this in mind, was essentially inevitable.
What all of this means is that change will be difficult.
Not impossible, though.
One possible solution would be to create a legitimate third party option. There are many third parties in existence today, however none of them can really garner a true following. Part of this is because of how the electoral process works.
This brings me to another potential solution.
If the electoral votes of each state would instead be spread across the candidates, as opposed to all being lumped together for whichever politician won the majority, more people would be likely to vote for a third, or even fourth, option.
I personally believe what I just detailed is the most practical answer because it would require the least amount of change. That change would need to be enacted by an amendment, however, which can only pass with a supermajority from both houses of Congress.
This is important to note because both houses are currently only occupied by Republican and Democrat officials who would essentially have to vote against their own interest.
Party politics has a stranglehold on the American political system. The grip is only getting tighter as the population feels like it is becoming increasingly divided.
In order for real change to occur, and pressure to be applied to politicians to vote for national interests, the interest of the people they represent, would be for voters to very loudly and adamantly demand change.