The Two-Party System Problem


Photo via Cable Cartoons

There are many serious issues that plague our nation, such as racial inequity and an economic recession, but our gridlocked government is doing absolutely nothing. The Republicans and Democrats in Congress are so divided that they are unable to work together, and this partisan divide is tearing our country apart. Politics is no longer about passing policies. The media frames it as a competition between Republicans and Democrats even though there are many more ideas out there. In order to stop our country from tearing itself apart, we need to integrate more parties into our political system.

The hostility between the two parties is causing people to make irrational decisions when voting. According to Pew Research Center, 36% of Republicans and 27% of Democrats believe that the opposing party is detrimental to our nation, which was a major increase from 10 years ago. People no longer care about whether their party has better policies – they will just do whatever it takes to cause the opposing side to lose. This year,  Joe Biden won the Democratic primary despite not having a signature policy agenda. Voters only cared about beating Donald Trump at all costs and voted for the safest, most moderate candidate. This partisan divide is destroying our democracy, and we need to take action fast.

Ending the government gridlock is a bipartisan issue and we need to take action. 80% of people disapprove of Congress despite electing its officials, and in a Gallup poll 60% of Americans want new political parties. People are tired of the status quo, which likely helped an outsider candidate such as Donald Trump win the last election.  However, the only way to fix these issues is to reform the system itself. We need to change the way elections work to give lesser-known groups such as the Green or Libretarian parties a chance to spread their progressive ideas. The policies given by the Democrats and Republicans to solve important issues such as climate change and healthcare have been ineffective, and voters need to know that there are more than two sides to controversial problems. Progressive ideas such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal have been rejected by both parties, but a new progressive party would encourage many young voters who support these policies to turn out during elections and help get them passed.

Multi-seat congressional districts are the perfect solution. Currently, voting is a winner-takes-all scenario, which discourages people from voting for smaller parties. Voters are afraid of letting the opposite side win, which is why they settle for the two big parties even if they disagree with their  policies. However, multi-seat districts could allow a candidate with as little as 10% of the vote to win. The two candidates with the most votes would both win, which would allow smaller parties that wouldn’t be able to win a majority send a representative to congress. This would allow voters to feel comfortable voting for their favorite candidate and give them more choices at the polls.

We need to end the idea that every issue is a debate between the left and the right, as there are many different aspects to the political spectrum. Voters need to know that there are a range of possible solutions to every problem, and third parties will alleviate the partisan divide that is destroying our country.