The two party system has recently become a highly debated topic during this presidential election. Two of the most unlikeable candidates in American history are our only viable options at this point unfortunately. Many people are starting to drift away from the idea of two major factions controlling the United States government, and embracing the ideals of the smaller American third parties. Where did we even get our two party system from though? Surprisingly enough to most, we did not create the two party system even though we are one of the most known of using it.
The roots of the two party system actually begin over a century before America became its own country. The two party system, where two parties mainly control politics, but a third party can slide in and represent begins in mid 17th century England during the English Civil War and The Glorious Revolution. England officially became a constitutional monarchy in 1689, transitioning all legislative power to Parliament even though the monarchy had been weakening since the 1215 signing of the Magna Carta. Two major parties emerged from this governmental change, the Whigs and the Tories. The two parties were divided between returning to a strong, monarchy rule or stay with a Protestant constitutional monarchy.
When our founding fathers were drafting up how this country would be run, parties and factions were the last thing on their minds. Several warnings are written by different founders telling us to stay away from factions. In many of George Washingtons writings, but famously in his farewell address, he told us to stay away from parties because they cause more harm than good. Even though they may solve popular problems, they grow and seek more power, leading to corruption in the government as well as splitting the people. Unfortunately by the end of the 1700’s, two political parties had strongly emerged in America with iconic leaders on both sides. The Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party mainly disputed on how involved and big the federal government should be in the newly formed country.
As the country grew in land size, population, diversity, wealth, and other aspects, more issues arose that the people had opinions on and needed solutions for. Since 1775 we separated from the British Empire, fought out invaders, more than tripled our land size, abolished slavery, established rights for all citizens, and added about 320 million people.
In the Election of 1912, America saw its most successful third party campaign from President Teddy Roosevelt under the (Progressive) Bull-Moose Party. After already serving as VP, and then President until 1908, old Teddy decided to give it another go. He had almost 28% of the popular vote and a whopping 88 electoral votes! His platform was “radical” in that period. Teddy was a familiar face with some impressive and foreword-thinking ideas. Some of the platform included, getting business out of government, workers comp, 8 hour work days, direct election of senators, and women’s suffrage! This campaign shows how much a third party can influence elections and the government in general. Roosevelt actually beat incumbent William Howard Taft by less than a million popular votes, but got 80 more electoral votes than him, carrying 6 out of then 48 states. Also, a lot of the issues their party wanted to address ended up becoming laws or even constitutional amendments. The 17th (Direct Election of Senators) and 19th (Women’s Suffrage) amendments were both approved during the Woodrow Wilson administration and I’m pretty sure we are all familiar with workers comp and 8 hour work days! Thanks Teddy!
Today, our nation and our world have evolved so much since these United States banded together in the name of liberty and freedom! We are immersed in a digital age, where information is literally at our fingertips 24/7, and we can stay connected with the most current events every second of the day. We as a people are becoming aware of the injustices in our society as well as the corruption within our government. From sex and harassment scandals to two-faced politicians and classified emails, We the People are DONE! Americans want change, but most aren’t confident in the options we are given for the highest office in the land. We are trying to pick our next Commander in Chief by simply asking which one do I hate less. Americans shouldn’t have to pick from two candidates they despise when it comes to ANY election. Most people think of the two party system as problem that only exists with the presidential elections, which couldn’t be further from the case. Any election, whether it be local, state, or federal, should not only have two options when Election Day comes.
The two party system is an infringement on American Republicanism and our liberty. I’m sick of the mentality that one of two parties holds all the answers to the problems. There are more than 2 possible solutions to problems, and sometimes it takes compromise with the other side to come up with the best solutions. If you firmly stand by your party and think you and the party are BFF’s, I can 100% guarantee that there are at least 3 issues that you and your party do not agree on. Party Loyaly is a complete joke after we’ve had the same 2 major parties since 1860. These parties change constantly just to get votes, donors, and their candidates into office. The two main parties are so extremely hypocritical, when I read each parties 2016 National Convention platform, I couldn’t help but laugh throughout the whole thing. Here’s just one example from both parties. The GOP talks about a small government on about every other page, but when it comes to social issues, they want to nationalize everything. You can’t say you’re for states rights, but only like half the time. The Democrats always talk about fairness on the social issues, but they say to tax rich people at higher rate and call it “Fair Share”? Well, if we actually wanted it to be fair, everybody should be on the same tax rate and cut out the loopholes in our current tax plan. EVERYONE would then be paying the same, fair rate.
So many Americans, even if they agree with a third party, refuse to vote third party because they believe it’s wasted a vote. If every American actively exercised their voting right and stood with a party they feel best backing, we could stomp out the two system. I predict that party loyalty will die within the next few decades along with the two party system and hopefully we can vote from a bigger pool of candidates who we can actually get behind without feeling like we betrayed ourselves. I urge you, to ALWAYS vote where your head, heart, and guts tell you to!Tags: democracy liberty Two Party