Effects of Political Parties
Introduction 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. --- Bibliography 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., 1978. 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.