The Ballard Talisman

The consequences and shortcomings of two-party politics in the United States

Two parties, one America, no winners

Fletcher+Anderson
Fletcher Anderson

Fletcher Anderson

Fletcher Anderson

Max Schomber, Staff Reporter

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Our country’s political climate is nothing to be proud of, and we’re far away from this proclaimed idea of unity that allegedly exists in the nation. The average liberal would probably blame Trump for this conflict, and the conservative, the liberal, but what if there was a deep rooted schism in our politics at fault?

Well thankfully there is—a distant gap that has for far too long ingrained itself in our minds and fed off of our anger and beliefs. This division is of course the two-party system practiced in America, which has also formed some dire consequences over its lifespan.

Protection from tyranny
James Madison theorized in “The Federalist Papers No.10” that our country would be protected from tyranny and corruption due to the great diversity of thought that could be found. “The smaller the society, the fewer probably the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression.”

At the time, this theory was shown to be true, as many people of varying beliefs still thrived and made up the United States. However, it seems as though our safeguard of thought is coming to a close, as we can watch the acceptance of conformity of thought as we grow older.

Division in the government
It is difficult to say when this change began happening, but in the 20th and 21st centuries it seems that more and more people are conforming to a single set of ideals rather than a spectrum. A YouTube video uploaded by The Business Insider titled “This 60 second animation shows how divided Congress has become over the last 60 years” reveals that since 1949, Congress has become less and less willing to agree on any given topic.

This schism in Congress has caused a lack of decision making in our government, as less and less seems to be moving forward. Take the recent controversy over DACA, in which months of debate has only yielded a decision on March 5, 2017 after threatened shutdowns and limitless suspense.

A people divided
The problem isn’t only found in our government, however. Your everyday people are still conforming more and more to average party beliefs. A study by the Pew Research Center from 1994 to 2014 found that consistent political opinions have doubled from 10 percent in 1994 to 21 percent today.

With a lack of varying beliefs or ideas in between the two groups, sides are naturally picked, and similar to fascism, an enemy is derived to blame for everything. According to another poll done by the Pew Research Center last June, 55 percent of Democrats hate Republicans and 58 percent of Republicans hate Democrats.

These issues also raise the concern about Maddison’s theory presented in “The Federalist Papers No.10”: Is our country safe against a single political entity taking over any more?

Well, it would certainly seem as though political conformity is taking widespread control of the country. According to The University of California, political conformity is when uniform belief, behavioral or opinion changes occur in a group or controlled experiment.

From what we have seen in recent years and the doubling of constant political beliefs in only 10 years, political conformity would certainly seem to be taking root within our country.

In fact, the United States is listed as a flawed democracy according to The Economist’s ranking of democracies in 2017. The Economist Democracy Index 2017 states“Bitter partisanship has developed in part because many congressional districts have been redrawn in a way that gives one party a built in advantage.”

As a result members of congress are less likely to diverge from their respective party bases, and describe that they are more likely to put their power behind one ideology or political party.

America is now a battleground of ideologies, both quickly recruiting conformists to their ranks and producing more and more as the days go on. The American people have become mere puppets to a political agenda.

A bloodless war is going on within our country. America is now a battleground of ideologies, and its people have become mere puppets to a political agenda. [/pullquote]Today a constant worry over war with North Korea plagues the people. Ironically enough, a bloodless war is going on within our own country, and the winning side could become very much like North Korea itself, a land noted by its single mindedness and hatred to opposition.

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The consequences and shortcomings of two-party politics in the United States