__________________ ____________________  

Effects of Political Parties



 Since the last of the Whig party left office in 1852, the 
American political system has been primarily a two party system. The
Democrats and the Republicans have been the two parties fighting for 
the Presidency since that time. There have been many other parties 
since that time, but mainly, these two have gone unopposed against 
each other. However, how much good do these parties actually do? Would 
our country be run as effectively if the presence of political parties 
was no longer a factor? It is the opinion of the authors that the U.S. 
Government would exist without political parties and may, in fact be 
stronger. The concept of political parties seems to go against what it 
means to be a politician: to represent his or her constituents. More 
time, money and effort, it seems is put into getting elected to an 
office than actually doing work for the people in that office. One 
fairly recent example is seen in the case of the proposed federal 
Balanced Budget Amendment. Mark Hatfield, Republican Oregon Senator,
went against his parties wishes and voted against the amendment. His 
party nearly abandoned him for choosing the people over his party. 
Many senators are faced with the same decision every day, but instead 
stick with party beliefs and not what they feel would be the best for 
the people. In order for true democracy to be achieved in our 
government, we feel drastic changes need to occur.

Review Of The Literature

 Since the mid 1850's, the Democrats and Republicans have had 
control of the nation government. The only place where opposition was 
felt was at the state and local levels. However, in the early days of 
our country, third and fourth party candidates played important roles 
in politics. A few of these parties from our history are the: 
Democrat-Republicans, Jefferson Republicans, Whigs and Federalists. 
Many other lesser known or hardly known at all parties were the: 
Socialists, Unionists, Farmer-Laborists, Progressives, Communists, 
States' Rights, American Independents, Libertarians, New Alliance, 
Populists, Consumers, National Economic Recovery, Right to Life, 
Workers league, Socialist Workers, Peace and Freedom, Prohibitionists, 
Workers World, American, Grassroots, Independent and Third World 
Assembly. This immense list goes to show that not all American history 
has been two party. What we know today as Democrats and Republicans 
derived from some of these parties to be what they are today. The 
emergence of the parties has come mainly as a reaction to history 
where most of the rulers have been dictators or kings. The people do 
not favor dictatorship and therefore created political parties to 
better represent the feelings of the voters (Madron, 1974). This is 
not a time of a dictatorship and we have achieved representative 
democracy. We have evolved as a nation and have grown out of the need 
for political parties. The 1992 Presidential election was a definite 
sign that the usefulness of political parties is crumbling. The 
Democrats came out on top, followed by the Republicans, however, a 
third party candidate, Ross Perot, emerged and ended the race with 
nearly 10,000,000 popular votes. Perot made himself out to be the only 
one who could clean up the mess in Washington, and came through with 
an impressive finish (Wolfson, 1994). From this example, it is obvious
that the way we know political parties, or perhaps political parties 
as a whole, are being phased out by the people. The world in which we 
live is constantly changing and getting faster and more efficient at 
making news readily available to the people. Back in the times before 
radio, tv, the internet and e-mail, people had to find out somehow 
about politics. The main source of their information came from 
political parties to educate them as to who was running and what they 
stood for and believed in (Carlin, 1992). Now, if someone needs 
information on some kind of politics, they can simply turn on C-Span, 
surf the ever-expanding net, or write an e-mail to the President 
himself. Another strike against political parties is evident. Lately, 
politicians have had their way in separating themselves from the 
voters whom they are supposed to represent. A greater gap is growing 
between the two. Voters do not like being just a number (Wolfson, 
1994). The basis of democracy, in case some have forgotten, is equal
representation for all people. By separating themselves from the 
voters, politicians are only creating a stronger case against 
political parties.

 Another such argument against parties can be seen in the fact 
that lately, voters have been straying from voting for one candidate.
Instead of voting for a candidate, they may be voting simply against 
another candidate. They are choosing the lesser of the two evils by 
choosing the one that offends then the least, not judging on the 
qualifications of the two (Ladd, 1978). Finally, the argument that may 
have the most stature lies in the fact that nowhere in the 
constitution of the United States, the document our forefathers penned 
more than 200 years ago, are political parties mentioned. In a time 
without radio or tv, where political parties may have been needed, the 
authors the document in which governs our lives made no mention to 
them or what they stand for. This argument in itself should take a 
major role in the determination to rid government of political 
parties. Since political parties did start and take hold as they did, 
Americans have stuck to them and seem to remain grasped to them. If we 
want our government to run more smoothly and work for the people and 
not against, better than our current conditions, we must break the 
pattern and ban political parties. There is much disapproval of the 
two party political system today already, as illustrated. For a better 
government for future generations, one without the constant battles 
for political offices and without separation from the people, we must 
look very closely at what can be done. Ideally, the solution would be 
to ban political parties. Section III Conclusion From the research
into the matter of political parties, we have come to some conclusions 
regarding them. As it may have seemed apparent throughout the report, 
we believe that the American Political system would perform dually 
well without the bothersome nuisance of political parties. It is true 
that political parties served America well in their time, however a 
time of change is unavoidable. With faster technology and better means 
of communication, some parts of parties become obsolete. As people 
become more aware of the country in which they live and the political 
system dominating their country, more pieces of parties become 
useless. As stated, political parties did at one time serve a valuable 
purpose, and they have help shape our system into what it is today. 
Surely, without political parties in our nation's history, our system 
would be much different. For that reason, political parties did do 
some good. It has been a long time, though, since much good came from 
them. Now, the only good that comes from parties is watching the ad
campaigns of politicians bashing each other to pieces for some office 
or another. Even that can get a little old. So, in conclusion, 
political parties have served their purpose. They were used for what 
they were intended and now, for what they intended has already been 
achieved, therefore making parties themselves obsolete.


1. Carlin, David R. Commonwealth. "Lessons From November: Fraying The
Bonds". December 18, 1992.

2. Ladd, Everett Carl. Where Have All The Voters Gone?: The Fracturing
Of America's Political Parties. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.,

3. Madron, Thomas W. and Chelf, Carl P. Political Parties In The 
United States. Boston: Holbrook Press, Inc., 1974.

4. Wolfson, Lewis. USA Today. "The Revolution In U.S. Politics Is 
Nearly Here". January, 1994.



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