The Contribution of the Political Party System


Section I
 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.
Section II
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
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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