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News Is there a better way than the 2 party system?

  1. Sep 12, 2009 #1
    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 seperate 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 doesnt 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?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2009 #2
    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.
  4. Sep 12, 2009 #3
    I dont 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.
  5. Sep 12, 2009 #4
    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
  6. Sep 12, 2009 #5
    I thought this topic might get a little better response. Its not a very lively discussion when we agree, is it noblegas?
  7. Sep 12, 2009 #6
    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?
  8. Sep 12, 2009 #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.
  9. Sep 12, 2009 #8
    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.

  10. Sep 12, 2009 #9
    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?
  11. Sep 12, 2009 #10
    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.
  12. Sep 12, 2009 #11

    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.
  13. Sep 12, 2009 #12
    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.
  14. Sep 13, 2009 #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.
  15. Sep 13, 2009 #14
    Just because there are 15 or 20 or more candidates, doesnt 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.
  16. Sep 13, 2009 #15


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    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.
  17. Sep 13, 2009 #16
    There was an interview done with Clinton and Bill O'Reilly.
    Clinton insisted that he tried his best to catch Bin Laden.
  18. Sep 13, 2009 #17
    Yeah , and Bush said he was a "fiscal conservative". Saying it does not mean he actually put in any effort in catching bin laden
  19. Sep 14, 2009 #18
    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.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2009
  20. Sep 17, 2009 #19
    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.
  21. Sep 17, 2009 #20


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    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
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