Is there a better way than the 2 party system?

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In summary, the conversation is about the limitations of the two party system in facilitating civilized discussions about policies. The participants suggest that the two party system undermines discussions by forcing people to conform to one of two ideologies and lumping individuals into a specific party. They also mention the issue of politicians going against their party's core beliefs and the need for parties to promote their own ideas rather than just their candidate. There is a suggestion to eliminate parties and focus on political ideology instead. The conversation also touches on the lack of response to this topic and the reasoning behind people not voting for third party candidates.
  • #1
Jasongreat
Is the two party system limiting our ability to have civilized discussions about policies that affect us all? It seems to me that there are about 350 million different opinions(in the u.s) on any subject going on in politics today, and by trying to confine them to two differnet philosophies seems to be undermining our discussions. People( I'm also guilty of this from time to time) seem to lump all Democrtats or all Republicans together, and by doing that people get easily offended. Not all Dems believe the same thing, just as not all Republicans believe the same thing. Would we have better luck if we all just considered ourselves belonging to the american party, and then concentrated on the policies themseves? We seem unable to separate the policies from the party, just because a Democrat or Rebublican policy maker chose a certain path that path is assumed to be a policy of that party, even though the policy goes directly against the core beliefs of the party. For example Hoover abandoned conservative principles, then FDR came along and followed the same path, how could republicans argue, they were instituted during their presidency. It seems similar today how can we blame obama when bush did the same thing. But it really doesn't matter who instituted it, it only matters if the policy is right or wrong, or better stated benificial or non-benificial. What do you think time to get rid of the 2 party system?
 
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  • #2
Jasongreat said:
Is the two party system limiting our ability to have civilized discussions about policies that affect us all? It seems to me that there are about 350 million different opinions(in the u.s) on any subject going on in politics today, and by trying to confine them to two differnet philosophies seems to be undermining our discussions. People( I'm also guilty of this from time to time) seem to lump all Democrtats or all Republicans together, and by doing that people get easily offended. Not all Dems believe the same thing, just as not all Republicans believe the same thing. Would we have better luck if we all just considered ourselves belonging to the american party, and then concentrated on the policies themseves? We seem unable to separate the policies from the party, just because a Democrat or Rebublican policy maker chose a certain path that path is assumed to be a policy of that party, even though the policy goes directly against the core beliefs of the party. For example Hoover abandoned conservative principles, then FDR came along and followed the same path, how could republicans argue, they were instituted during their presidency. It seems similar today how can we blame obama when bush did the same thing. But it really doesn't matter who instituted it, it only matters if the policy is right or wrong, or better stated benificial or non-benificial. What do you think time to get rid of the 2 party system?

yes. they are virtually identical; Republicans during the bush adminstration have shown themselves to be supportive of the policies the bush adminstration promoted, whether the policies were based on conservativsm or not, or whether they were constitutional or not. I want a party to promote ideas that they supposedly represent, not to promote a candidate simply because he is running for the republican party/ and or democrat party . The democrats should not have just blamed bush when 9/11 occur, since the clinton adminstration failed to catch bin laden the first time he attacked us. Did you see that see that Rage Music video Testify wayy back in 2000 where they had showed clips of then former vice president gore and George W Bush basically saying pretty much the same things and holding the same talking points? Thats what we have now and it will only change if americans realize that their are other candidates running for the presidency besides the Donkey and the Elephant.
 
  • #3
I don't think that it will make much of a difference if we add a third or fourth party, it will just make more of the same, besides it would be far harder to get a signifigant vote in any party, Our presidents could only claim like a 30% electorate. At least now with 2 parties we can get a majority elected president. I would like to see all parties disappear, as well as all classes and racial distinctions, all of these perpetuate seperation, instead of unity.
 
  • #4
Jasongreat said:
I don't think that it will make much of a difference if we add a third or fourth party, it will just make more of the same, besides it would be far harder to get a signifigant vote in any party, Our presidents could only claim like a 30% electorate. At least now with 2 parties we can get a majority elected president. I would like to see all parties disappear, as well as all classes and racial distinctions, all of these perpetuate seperation, instead of unity.

I would prefer if we not have any parties and people strictly elected people on the basis of their political ideology and not there political party affiliation. Political parties will only disappear if people stopped voted for a candidate who they will see is most likely to win or stopped voting for a candidate because they belong to the democrat and republican party
 
  • #5
I thought this topic might get a little better response. Its not a very lively discussion when we agree, is it noblegas?
 
  • #6
Jasongreat said:
I thought this topic might get a little better response. Its not a very lively discussion when we agree, is it noblegas?

There must people that disagree seeing that probably the majority of people in this forum probably voted for McCain or Obama in last years presidential election. They must be content with the current state of affairs

Then again, some will argue that the reason why many don't vote third party is because either they are no better than any of the two major choices or they are worst than the major two choices. Your thoughts?
 
  • #7
A two party system seems to be one of the fairer methods. Third parties tend to be on the same side, right or left, that has the majority, thus splitting the vote and letting the second most popular party win.

This happened in 1992 when Ross Perot took more votes away from George Bush Sr. than he did from Clinton. Had Ross Perot not run, I believe Bush would have won.

It happened again in 2000 when Ralph Nader took more votes from Gore than he did from Bush Jr. Here the victory was so narrow that had Nader not run, Gore would certainly have won.

There are many different voting schemes, some advocating indicating a preference percentage on the ballot instead of voting for just one candidate. In theory these schemes give better results but they are also easier to manipulate. Also the average voter probably wouldn't be capable of dividing his vote between various candidates and would probably just put 100% down for the candidate he favors.
 
  • #8
skeptic2 said:
A two party system seems to be one of the fairer methods. Third parties tend to be on the same side, right or left, that has the majority, thus splitting the vote and letting the second most popular party win.

How are third parties on the same side and why do you considered the two-party system to be one of the fairer methods ? There are many presidential candidates who ran in last years election who's political ideology varied greatly across the political spectrum, so how would they vote on the same side. I would rather have many segments of the american population voting for a choice of 20 or so candidates than have half of the american population voting for one candidate and the other half voting for the "alternative" choice.

.[/QUOTE]
 
  • #9
Jasongreat said:
What do you think time to get rid of the 2 party system?
Well, if you mean get rid of a law that establishes a two part system, there is no such law. There is no official two party system in the U.S.

Third parties are historically unsuccessful, not illegal.

That being said, having several competitive parties would have disadvantages. It would inevitably result in a candidate being elected, while a majority preferred one or multiple other candidates to the one elected.

With many candidates, the election would be won by best organized candidate, with 20%, even 5% of the popular vote. The winner may be the single least popular candidate, but win because the majority was divided 15 ways between similar candidates.

In other words, a candidate that was at the bottom of the list for 90% of voters could win with the other 10%, if they were just better organized.

And what would make it worse is that those who seek to control others are the ones most likely to win an election by superior organization with a small minority of the vote, if there were many candidates.

Would we really want government to be controlled by a small minority of voters?
 
  • #10
noblegas said:
I would rather have many segments of the american population voting for a choice of 20 or so candidates than have half of the american population voting for one candidate and the other half voting for the "alternative" choice.
Like I posted earlier, the disadvantage would be that the best organized 5% would win the election, while being on the very bottom of the list for most voters.

Actually, in some states, the Governor must get greater than 50% to win for that very reason. Which could mean multiple run-off elections between the most popular until one gets 50%.

But like you pointed out, we always have many candidates for President. We simple have no official two party system, we just have only two parties that are competitive with voters.

As a matter of fact we have much more than 20 candidates each election, they just lose the popularity contest.
 
  • #11
noblegas said:
How are third parties on the same side and why do you considered the two-party system to be one of the fairer methods ? There are many presidential candidates who ran in last years election who's political ideology varied greatly across the political spectrum, so how would they vote on the same side. I would rather have many segments of the american population voting for a choice of 20 or so candidates than have half of the american population voting for one candidate and the other half voting for the "alternative" choice.

.
[/QUOTE]

Had the third party candidates not been on the ballot, on which side would their voters have voted? My observations indicate that those voters tend to vote with the majority. Thus we can assume that had the third party not run, the majority party would have gained most of the third party's votes.

It's true that there are many candidates across the political spectrum but usually the third most popular one gets more votes that all the lesser candidates combined.

The lesser candidates are often one issue candidates and they only attract voters interested in that particular issue. The presidency requires executives with a much broader range of interests and experience.
 
  • #12
As a matter of fact we have much more than 20 candidates each election, they just lose the popularity contest.

Yes , the presidential election will always be based on a popularity contest.But if americans voted for 20 or more presidential candidates running for the presidency instead of just two , at least third party candidates would have a better shot at winning the presidential election than they do now; Some argue that if Ross perot had not participated in the election clinton would not have taken all the votes for Ross perot. I bet if there were more candidates who enter the 1992 presidential race besides perot and americans took them more serious as presidential candiates , votes would have been taken away from clinton as well.
 
  • #13
You don't actually have a two party system in the US you just have two dominent parties, as far as I can see anyone who satisfies the citizanship requirements can stand for president. In the UK the two party system, which many think of as the two dominent parties (Conservative and Labour), is in fact the party of government and the official oppersition, the leader of the second largest party having the official title Leader of the opposition.
 
  • #14
Just because there are 15 or 20 or more candidates, doesn't mean the vote will be split that many ways. The only way I could see that happening is if there were 15 or more parties and everyone voted down party lines. If candidates had to argue all the different policies instead of voters just assuming for the most part what his policies are because of the party he belongs to I think we could actually start to get some progress towards a United States instead of dis-united states. Just look at the last election even though we were narrowed into two candidates, most american voters new nothing about their candidates or their policies. They could tell you what the candidate had promised, but hardly knew anything about what they had done or how they acted in the past.
 
  • #15
noblegas said:
There must people that disagree seeing that probably the majority of people in this forum probably voted for McCain or Obama in last years presidential election. They must be content with the current state of affairs
You might be surprised. The current 2-party system perpetuates influence-peddling and corruption, and dilutes the influence of the voters with our elected officials, while giving lobbyists unprecedented power. For example: Baucus' version of the health-care reform bill was written by his senior staffer, who was quite recently the VP of policy for Blue Cross/Blue Shield/Wellpoint. Talk about letting the fox guard the hen-house.

The differences between the GOP and the Dems are insignificant. After all, the Dem's let Bush invade Iraq on false pretenses after we were attacked by primarily Saudi terrorists. Starting unnecessary wars is not a conservative ideal, nor is allowing the insurance companies to deny health coverage to tens of millions of Americans. We need a real conservative political party, and a loyal opposition party that is not afraid of espousing progressive positions to benefit the public good. Right now, we have neither.
 
  • #16
noblegas said:
yes. they are virtually identical; Republicans during the bush adminstration have shown themselves to be supportive of the policies the bush adminstration promoted, whether the policies were based on conservativsm or not, or whether they were constitutional or not. I want a party to promote ideas that they supposedly represent, not to promote a candidate simply because he is running for the republican party/ and or democrat party . The democrats should not have just blamed bush when 9/11 occur, since the clinton adminstration failed to catch bin laden the first time he attacked us. Did you see that see that Rage Music video Testify wayy back in 2000 where they had showed clips of then former vice president gore and George W Bush basically saying pretty much the same things and holding the same talking points? Thats what we have now and it will only change if americans realize that their are other candidates running for the presidency besides the Donkey and the Elephant.

There was an interview done with Clinton and Bill O'Reilly.
Clinton insisted that he tried his best to catch Bin Laden.
 
  • #17
Nusc said:
There was an interview done with Clinton and Bill O'Reilly.
Clinton insisted that he tried his best to catch Bin Laden.

Yeah , and Bush said he was a "fiscal conservative". Saying it does not mean he actually put in any effort in catching bin laden
 
  • #18
Nusc said:
There was an interview done with Clinton and Bill O'Reilly.
Clinton insisted that he tried his best to catch Bin Laden.

There was also a book written by the air force guy that had carried the nuclear football during clintons administration. He stated he had given clinton information that the military had bin laden trapped and wanted approval for a strike, but clintons golf game was more important, he never did get a reply to strike. I guess it depends on what the definition of tried and best is. LOL.

Edit: the book was the dereliction(?) of duty, I think.
 
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  • #19
Jasongreat said:
Is the two party system limiting our ability to have civilized discussions about policies that affect us all? It seems to me that there are about 350 million different opinions(in the u.s) on any subject going on in politics today, and by trying to confine them to two differnet philosophies seems to be undermining our discussions. People( I'm also guilty of this from time to time) seem to lump all Democrtats or all Republicans together, and by doing that people get easily offended. Not all Dems believe the same thing, just as not all Republicans believe the same thing. Would we have better luck if we all just considered ourselves belonging to the american party, and then concentrated on the policies themseves? We seem unable to separate the policies from the party, just because a Democrat or Rebublican policy maker chose a certain path that path is assumed to be a policy of that party, even though the policy goes directly against the core beliefs of the party. For example Hoover abandoned conservative principles, then FDR came along and followed the same path, how could republicans argue, they were instituted during their presidency. It seems similar today how can we blame obama when bush did the same thing. But it really doesn't matter who instituted it, it only matters if the policy is right or wrong, or better stated benificial or non-benificial. What do you think time to get rid of the 2 party system?

If you're suggesting we need a party that represents the owners and employees of small businesses, I would agree.

The poor and disadvantaged are the shield of the Democrats who are just as guilty of engaging in special interest politics as the Republicans.

I didn't vote for Bush and didn't want to vote for McCain. As for Obama - he is taking spending and regulation to a whole new level - taxes will follow.
 
  • #20
I wonder how many people in this thread have noticed their opinions are heavily dependent on the specific (and simplistic) voting system we use.


P.S.: Gentle reminder to stay on topic, rather than try to derail the issue with your pet topics
 
  • #21
WhoWee said:
If you're suggesting we need a party that represents the owners and employees of small businesses, I would agree.

The poor and disadvantaged are the shield of the Democrats who are just as guilty of engaging in special interest politics as the Republicans.

I didn't vote for Bush and didn't want to vote for McCain. As for Obama - he is taking spending and regulation to a whole new level - taxes will follow.

I am suggesting that maybe we should get rid of the parties all together. As I see it there should be no special interests in the general government(one for all not all for one). I don't agree with trying to make another special interest party inorder to fight the original special interest party, let's just get rid of the first one. It was after all government that gave big buisiness the power they are using against us(big buisiness has been promoted by the government over the ma and pa buisinesses, then the ma and pa buisinesses along with the rest of us taxpayers were forced to bail out these models of "efficiency" because they were "too big to fail"( if that were true why the bailout?)). I think the only reason the bailout happened was because government can't admit they were backing the wrong horse, it is just so much easier to throw someone elses money at the problem, in an attempt to "solve" the problem they created.
So I say let's stop trying to promote one special interest over the other, and end them all, instead of promoting separation let's try to foster unity. I am sure if we look hard enough we will find loads of common ground between all of us and if we were to start there, instead of where all our differences take precedence, we would be a long way toward implementing successful policies.
 
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  • #22
Hurkyl said:
I wonder how many people in this thread have noticed their opinions are heavily dependent on the specific (and simplistic) voting system we use.

Thank you for pointing that out. I feel that someone should also mention Duverger's law: in first-past-the-post systems like in the US, two-party systems are dominant.

There are alternate voting systems that do not have this problem, including many that don't have skeptic2's "dividing a vote" problem.
 
  • #23
noblegas said:
Yes , the presidential election will always be based on a popularity contest.But if americans voted for 20 or more presidential candidates running for the presidency instead of just two , at least third party candidates would have a better shot at winning the presidential election than they do now; Some argue that if Ross perot had not participated in the election clinton would not have taken all the votes for Ross perot. I bet if there were more candidates who enter the 1992 presidential race besides perot and americans took them more serious as presidential candiates , votes would have been taken away from clinton as well.

I used to believe this way too, and would always try and find a 3rd party candidate to vote for rather than the popular 2. Even though I consider myself fairly liberal, I did cast my vote for Perot in '92 and '96 instead of Clinton. But George W. Bush changed all of that when he came in and polarized everyone into 2 camps with an "us vs. them" type of mentality. Now I always vote Dem. thanks to Bush.

But that said, I agree that more parties would be better. It seems like the 2 camps have drifted apart to include and pander to the extremists on both sides. It would be nice to have a party that represented the more moderate views in the middle where most Americans reside in their own beliefs. My personal preference would be libertarian when it comes to personal freedoms, and liberal when it comes to economic distribution.
 
  • #24
BoomBoom said:
My personal preference would be libertarian when it comes to personal freedoms, and liberal when it comes to economic distribution.
Do mean (classical) economic liberalism according to the dictionary (unregulated free markets)? Or are you using the term to mean the opposite, as many do today?

As a libertarian, I fit the dictionary definition of liberal, but many refer to libertarians as "right-wing extremists", and refer to those who advocate restricting individual (economic) liberty as "liberal".
 
  • #25
Al68 said:
Do mean (classical) economic liberalism according to the dictionary (unregulated free markets)? Or are you using the term to mean the opposite, as many do today?

As a libertarian, I fit the dictionary definition of liberal, but many refer to libertarians as "right-wing extremists", and refer to those who advocate restricting individual (economic) liberty as "liberal".

No, I meant the popular version of the term liberal (as tossed around by Fox News all the time).
 

Related to Is there a better way than the 2 party system?

1. What is the 2 party system and why is it considered problematic?

The 2 party system refers to the political landscape in which two major political parties dominate the electoral process and hold most of the political power. This is considered problematic because it limits the diversity of political ideas and can lead to polarizing and extreme ideologies.

2. What alternatives to the 2 party system have been proposed?

There have been several alternatives proposed, including multi-party systems, proportional representation, and ranked-choice voting. These systems aim to provide more options for voters and promote a more representative government.

3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the 2 party system?

The main advantage of the 2 party system is its simplicity and stability. However, it can also lead to a lack of representation for minority groups and a limited range of policy options. It also perpetuates a winner-take-all mentality and can result in a lack of compromise and cooperation between parties.

4. How does the 2 party system impact democracy?

The 2 party system can have both positive and negative effects on democracy. On one hand, it allows for a clear majority and efficient decision-making. However, it can also limit the diversity of ideas and lead to a lack of representation for marginalized groups.

5. Is it possible to completely eliminate the 2 party system?

While it may be difficult, it is not impossible to eliminate the 2 party system. Many countries have successfully implemented alternative systems and it ultimately depends on the willingness of political leaders and voters to embrace change. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential consequences and benefits of such a change before taking action.

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