With the 2016 election nipping at America’s heels, more and more people are complaining of a faulty political system, namely, the two-party system. Not only do the Democratic and Republican parties overwhelm the polls during election seasons, but their highly contrasting beliefs keep congress at a standstill on numerous important issues throughout the year. Will this be the election year that “we the people of the United States” finally get fed up with this practice?
Some still believe that this system can be fixed, while many think it’s too corrupted, and just needs to be disposed of all together. As it stands, independent and third-party candidates have no chance of winning the presidential election — they’re lucky if they can pull enough votes away from one of the major party candidates to influence the election at all. With the current system, these candidates simply cannot gain enough support to become serious contenders or even get on the ballot in November. Although they are legally able to be contenders, many state laws bar parties and candidates that lack a certain percentage of the vote from being represented on the ballot. People are significantly less likely to vote for a candidate that has to be written-in. Even if they can get on the ballot, many people are still reluctant to vote for a candidate who is not backed by one of the two major parties because they’re afraid of wasting their vote.
With congress controlled by only two parties, especially like these who are on completely opposing sides of the political spectrum, not much can get accomplished easily. Even if one party manages to get a significant majority in the House and/or Senate, they also need a president on their side to make anything happen. With a two-thirds majority vote needed to override a presidential veto, it is nearly impossible for a nearly fifty-fifty split congress to override the president. The Democrats and Republicans don’t merely disagree on political issues, they overwhelmingly believe their opposition is hurting the USA. A Pew Research survey discovered that 36 percent of Republicans thought that Democratic policies were “a threat to the nation’s well-being.” About 27 percent of Democrats felt similarly about the Republican party’s platform. The American public relies on these parties to represent them, but too many candidates refuse to sway from their party’s beliefs in order to actually do so for their constituents.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the two-party system is that it leaves nearly half of the voting population unhappy. In most presidential elections, the winning candidate only receives around 50 percent of the popular vote. With the two party system, supporters of the losing party are stuck with a leader that they disagree with on many, if not all platform issues. If voters didn’t have to choose between liberals and conservatives, then perhaps less voters would be left isolated.
Although there is strong opposition to the two-party system, it is not going away easily. America’s clashing political parties aren’t giving up their prime positions of power willingly, and their constituents aren’t ready to toss them out until they feel the steady ground of a new system under their feet.