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Republican vs. Democrat: The Two-Party System Failure

Communism, Anarchism, Authoritarian, Libertarian, Centrist Marxism. 

Obviously, political ideology functions on a spectrum. How far that spectrum exceeds and how it looks like? I couldn't tell you. However, I can tell you that each of the ideologies listed above operates on an intellectual scale that is ever-growing

To begin, let's take a glance at the nuances and variations present into the “singular” principle of Anarchism. Political international platforms built around the foundational definition of Anarchism divide into around five sectors: 

  • Industrial Workers of the World

  • International of Anarchist Federations 

  • International Confederation of Labor 

  • International Union of Anarchists 

  • International Workers' Association 

Although all organizations are founded upon the common ideal of Anarchism, they contain differences of two crucial governmental elements: interpretation and implementation. For instance, the Industrial Workers of the World utilizes anarcho-syndicalism while the International Union of Anarchists focuses on anarcho-communism.  

Nonetheless, my concern for political theory does not include the critique of minute and unnecessary details within multiple philosophies. On a global scale, over 100 political philosophies exist. And, on a global scale, governments orbit exclusively on Democratic, Republican principles alongside their numerous denominations/variations. Usually, these “denominations/variations” are altogether seperate ideologies with their own complex nuances. 

  • So, why do we always take a two-sided approach towards humanity’s intricacies? We take either a “Republican” or “Democrat” perspective on policy-making when the political genre has an eternity’s worth of methodologies to offer. 

  • The problem I often see with domestic and international politics is the lack of “grey area.” When are we gonna get it through our thick skulls that humanity is not a black or white subject? 

The true failure of two-party politics is that society’s progression is unaccounted for. 

People evolve; hence, our ideologies change. It is inevitable. Yet, the classic left vs. right argument a majority of countries abide by don’t account for it. Often, it is weaponized by the media into an extremist pov. For example, those who follow the Libertarian-Socialism philosophy are labeled as leftist extremists, when that is objectively and factually incorrect. Simply, the spectrum of human thought is complex and expanding. The reality is that most governments account for the Democratic and Republican Party alone. So, the system turns a blind eye to everything in between or outside those two philosophies. Moreover, this singularity has birthed ideological divides within both institutions, the most prevalent being within the Democratic Party. Modern Liberalism, Social Liberalism, Progressivism and Social Democracy are all plowed into one package: the Democratic Party. 

The issue is that when we do not leave room for outside beliefs, we confine society into a bubble. Government has a direct relationship to societal progression. In fact, it can be argued that government is the sole definer and benefactor of “society.” Regardless of such, when we do not allow law to progress, we will not progress. This has incredulous repercussions for a seemingly democratic nation (voting and civil participation). 

Take a glance at third/fourth parties. On the 2016 presidential election ballot, the candidates were Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Donald Trump, and Hilary Clinton. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson belonging to the Libertarian and Green Party were ripped to shreds because the two-party system permits two-party recognition. Due to the dominance of Republicans and Democrats, arises the issue of split-voting. The 2000 presidential election is the epitome of this. Gore supporters argued that progressive Ralph Nadar spoiled the election because the majority of the 97,421 votes he received in Florida would have been cast for Gore. 

I think we often forget that split-voting is a side-effect of the two-party system. Third/fourth parties would not exist if the two-party system did not exist. 

Often, we gravitate towards voting for a figure because of their affiliation. Essentially, we vote for a party regardless of who is representing it. This is an issue because the whole “power to the people” notion disintegrates. When you vote for a party, you feed that institution with power. That power is visible within lobbying, big-government bailouts to corporations (If you would like to research more about the latter, I recommend starting with Elon Musk), etc. 

The conclusion: two-party dominance = corruption.

Nowadays, I do see an interesting transition, predominantly with the youth. In the upcoming election, we have two candidates representing the worst of their party. We have to vote for the lesser evil. I have seen across social media that many have voiced their support for a particular candidate based on political allegiance. Even so, many are abandoning their party support due to the character representing such. 

My question to you: Is the two-party system to blame for our current circumstance? Is choosing between Trump and Biden a result of the two-party system’s failure to consider “outside the box” ideas? 

George Washington, the first president of the United States, once stated, “However, [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

Maybe, we should have listened.  

 

Sources: 

http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/list_of_political_ideologies

https://www.britannica.com/event/United-States-presidential-election-of-2000

https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=15&page=transcript 

Wajeeha Kamal is a freshman at Michigan State University in the James Madison and Honors College. She is majoring in political theory and constitutional democracy. Alongside, she plans to pursue a dual-degree in journalism. She is minoring in history. Wajeeha would like to go to law school for constitutional law and work for the ACLU or as a federal prosecutor. In her free-time, she enjoys researching true-crime, reading, and watching Netflix!
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