Opinion: The Problem With the Two Party System

Image from pbs.org

Image from pbs.org

Breanna Reynolds, EMC Staff Writer

Democrat or Republican? Every four years this becomes one of the most important questions in American politics. These are the same political parties that have been around for almost two hundred years and although their stance on things has changed, they’ve both maintained a strong following. There are several smaller parties such as the Green party, the Libertarian party, and the Constitution party, but none of these parties are recognized in voting ballots in all fifty states as the two main ones are. The dismissal of these parties even goes so far as to accuse people who vote for third party politicians of stealing their votes from one of the bigger candidates. 

The last few years we have heard an uprise in complaints about division within our country, but not many have stepped forward and actually offered a solution or reason to the growing divide. We are constantly perpetrating an ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality in media, the left vs. the right, the east vs. the west, local vs. immigrant, there has to be a point when this starts to do actual harm. This isn’t a new sentiment. We even have examples of the Founding Fathers trying to warn against it. George Washington’s stated in his farewell address, “The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.” 

The two party political system draws people into a sort of ‘pack mentality.’ You’ve probably seen this before in a few different forms, whether it’s Republicans complaining that the left only want free stuff, or #VoteBlueNoMatterWho, it shows a transparent tension between the two sides. What we see happening is that the people in our government are becoming more interested in fighting the opposing party. They’re unwilling to work together to help progress the country. 

This mentality also tends to become something that encourages extremism. When someone attacks or criticizes someone on your side, you feel a need to defend them because they’re on *You’re Side.* If you’ve settled yourself with a certain group or party your reaction to an article talking about corruption would probably be met with dismissal. Something like that can get dangerous quickly. The first thing that comes to my mind is how many people dismiss groups like Antifa or the Proud Boys as non-extremists when they show every characteristic of being one. It’s the slippery slope analogy, one small thing leads to another small thing and now you’ve got a big problem. 

I’m sure that there are some positives as to why this system exists that I’m missing. What do you think? Do you align yourself with a political party? And if so why? Do you believe that our current system is working? Feel free to leave a comment below!