Essay, Research Paper: Political Parties


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Since the last of the Whig party left office in 1852, the American political
system has been primarily a two party system. The Democrats and the Republicans
have been the two parties fighting for the Presidency since that time. There
have been many other parties since that time, but mainly, these two have gone
unopposed against each other. However, how much good do these parties actually
do? Would our country be run as effectively if the presence of political parties
was no longer a factor? It is the opinion of the authors that the U.S.
Government would exist without political parties and may, in fact be stronger.
The concept of political parties seems to go against what it means to be a
politician: to represent his or her constituents. More time, money and effort,
it seems is put into getting elected to an office than actually doing work for
the people in that office. One fairly recent example is seen in the case of the
proposed federal Balanced Budget Amendment. Mark Hatfield, Republican Oregon
Senator, went against his parties wishes and voted against the amendment. His
party nearly abandoned him for choosing the people over his party. Many senators
are faced with the same decision every day, but instead stick with party beliefs
and not what they feel would be the best for the people. In order for true
democracy to be achieved in our government, we feel drastic changes need to
occur. Review Of The Literature Since the mid 1850's, the Democrats and
Republicans have had control of the nation government. The only place where
opposition was felt was at the state and local levels. However, in the early
days of our country, third and fourth party candidates played important roles in
politics. A few of these parties from our history are the: Democrat-Republicans,
Jefferson Republicans, Whigs and Federalists. Many other lesser known or hardly
known at all parties were the: Socialists, Unionists, Farmer-Laborists,
Progressives, Communists, States' Rights, American Independents, Libertarians,
New Alliance, Populists, Consumers, National Economic Recovery, Right to Life,
Workers league, Socialist Workers, Peace and Freedom, Prohibitionists, Workers
World, American, Grassroots, Independent and Third World Assembly. This immense
list goes to show that not all American history has been two party. What we know
today as Democrats and Republicans derived from some of these parties to be what
they are today. The emergence of the parties has come mainly as a reaction to
history where most of the rulers have been dictators or kings. The people do not
favor dictatorship and therefore created political parties to better represent
the feelings of the voters (Madron, 1974). This is not a time of a dictatorship
and we have achieved representative democracy. We have evolved as a nation and
have grown out of the need for political parties. The 1992 Presidential election
was a definite sign that the usefulness of political parties is crumbling. The
Democrats came out on top, followed by the Republicans, however, a third party
candidate, Ross Perot, emerged and ended the race with nearly 10,000,000 popular
votes. Perot made himself out to be the only one who could clean up the mess in
Washington, and came through with an impressive finish (Wolfson, 1994). From
this example, it is obvious that the way we know political parties, or perhaps
political parties as a whole, are being phased out by the people. The world in
which we live is constantly changing and getting faster and more efficient at
making news readily available to the people. Back in the times before radio, tv,
the internet and e-mail, people had to find out somehow about politics. The main
source of their information came from political parties to educate them as to
who was running and what they stood for and believed in (Carlin, 1992). Now, if
someone needs information on some kind of politics, they can simply turn on
C-Span, surf the ever-expanding net, or write an e-mail to the President
himself. Another strike against political parties is evident. Lately,
politicians have had their way in separating themselves from the voters whom
they are supposed to represent. A greater gap is growing between the two. Voters
do not like being just a number (Wolfson, 1994). The basis of democracy, in case
some have forgotten, is equal representation for all people. By separating
themselves from the voters, politicians are only creating a stronger case
against political parties. Another such argument against parties can be seen in
the fact that lately, voters have been straying from voting for one candidate.
Instead of voting for a candidate, they may be voting simply against another
candidate. They are choosing the lesser of the two evils by choosing the one
that offends then the least, not judging on the qualifications of the two (Ladd,
1978). Finally, the argument that may have the most stature lies in the fact
that nowhere in the constitution of the United States, the document our
forefathers penned more than 200 years ago, are political parties mentioned. In
a time without radio or tv, where political parties may have been needed, the
authors the document in which governs our lives made no mention to them or what
they stand for. This argument in itself should take a major role in the
determination to rid government of political parties. Since political parties
did start and take hold as they did, Americans have stuck to them and seem to
remain grasped to them. If we want our government to run more smoothly and work
for the people and not against, better than our current conditions, we must
break the pattern and ban political parties. There is much disapproval of the
two party political system today already, as illustrated. For a better
government for future generations, one without the constant battles for
political offices and without separation from the people, we must look very
closely at what can be done. Ideally, the solution would be to ban political
parties. Section III Conclusion From the research into the matter of political
parties, we have come to some conclusions regarding them. As it may have seemed
apparent throughout the report, we believe that the American Political system
would perform dually well without the bothersome nuisance of political parties.
It is true that political parties served America well in their time, however a
time of change is unavoidable. With faster technology and better means of
communication, some parts of parties become obsolete. As people become more
aware of the country in which they live and the political system dominating
their country, more pieces of parties become useless. As stated, political
parties did at one time serve a valuable purpose, and they have help shape our
system into what it is today. Surely, without political parties in our nation's
history, our system would be much different. For that reason, political parties
did do some good. It has been a long time, though, since much good came from
them. Now, the only good that comes from parties is watching the ad campaigns of
politicians bashing each other to pieces for some office or another. Even that
can get a little old. So, in conclusion, political parties have served their
purpose. They were used for what they were intended and now, for what they
intended has already been achieved, therefore making parties themselves
obsolete.Bibliography1. Carlin, David R. Commonwealth. "Lessons From November: Fraying The
Bonds". December 18, 1992. 2. Ladd, Everett Carl. Where Have All The Voters
Gone?: The Fracturing Of America's Political Parties. New York: W.W. Norton
& Company, Inc., 1978. 3. Madron, Thomas W. and Chelf, Carl P. Political
Parties In The United States. Boston: Holbrook Press, Inc., 1974. 4. Wolfson,
Lewis. USA Today. "The Revolution In U.S. Politics Is Nearly Here".
January, 1994.
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