Speaking of Third Parties.

I’m currently avoiding studying for my AP Government exam at the moment, and I had just reached the part about European multi-party systems. Now, honestly, we have a two-party system, and for the most part the main “third parties” are simply more radical factions of the core beliefs of either the Democrats or the Republicans. Libertarians, Greens, it’s all main ideas on steroids, so to speak.

However, Europe’s got a pretty consistent system within its countries that includes about 5 parties at any time represented in its legislatures. This is an excellent example of hyperpluralism. Too many competing interests creating gridlock and ineffectuality.

In America, it’s just our two easy parties, red and blue. And people gripe and moan about how there’s never a “viable third-party candidate”. Now it seems to me that we have a classic case of grass-is-greener syndrome. We have two parties, and while the gap between their core principles is rather large, there are moderates within the party and Congress is relatively efficient, though the author finds herself disagreeing with the products of that efficiency more often as of late.

There needs not be overrepresentation of the people. With more than two parties, the vote becomes so fractioned that it truly destroys the ability of out unique system of government to work. America was, while not designed to have political parties, built on a sort of subconscious basis of fact that public opinion would not split significantly in more than two directions.

Congress is not able to work well with more than two factions in there at one time. Look at the two-thirds, three-fifths mandates in order to break filibusters and overrule a presidential veto. To have more than two parties would require that MCs of significant ideological differences work together to achieve one goal, which, while pleasing to the Utopian, is obviously improbable, if not impossible in the eyes of a realist. The simple fact that there are significant ideological differences between the parties makes it unfeasible. Especially in our parties’ culture of political self-interest.

The Europeans have already proven that multi-party systems are slow at best, so why try it ourselves? I encourage people to stop trying to be so PC by whining about “viable third-party candidates” and force a party to actually mirror its constituents’ wishes.

Gee, what a concept.

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2 Responses to “Speaking of Third Parties.”

  1. Curt Says:

    you make good points. and you make them while utilizing an eloquent word choice. good job.

  2. Andy D Says:

    I agree with Curt. You make some very valid points. I have been very frustrated with my Party of choice as of late. However, I don’t believe there is any real viable third party right now. I also feel that the way our government works, if a Third party did show up, one of the other two would end up going away.

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