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Political parties in America started way back after gaining independence from Britain. They established a government system to rule the country. The first article of laws, which was the Articles of Confederations, was the first one to be used in guiding the country in the year 1781. The article worked only for a short duration, since it had a lot of flaws. One of the main flaws was the lack of judicial or executive branch in its formation. This affected the economy, since the lack of an executive charged with the role of overseeing the economy meant little oversight and minimum development in vital sectors. This was because the government could not impose taxes to the states in America, and they had no guiding statutes to control trade between the states. The United States of America was on the verge of collapsing, and strategic measures had to be taken by changing the Articles of Confederation. A constitution was made by James Madison and his peers, and it was accepted since it allowed the sovereignty of the national government and not the state governments. With the constitution in place, two parties were formed, namely; the Federalists, who were for the constitution, and the Republicans (anti-Federalists), who were against it.
The Federalists believed in a centralized and an aristocratic form of Government, where the rich and wealthy should rule, but not the poor and uneducated. The Republicans, on the other hand, believed in a people-ruled Government. The lower and middle class were seen as the best rulers, since they would help the common man thrive. They never wanted the Federalists to govern, since they would only concentrate on the affairs of the wealthy people and neglect the common man. The Republicans believed in the state-empowered government to curtail the influence of a potentially powerful federal government.
The two parties that are the main force in the American politics are Democrats and the Republicans. The Democrats’ way of governing is extremely liberal, as it deals with both the wealthy and the poor. It fights for better and affordable healthcare for all citizens, strong economic growth, and has firm beliefs in the way the system should be run. The Republican Party is rather conservative, and it deals with the wealthy and the upper classes of America. The party is conservative and frowns heavily on issues relating to abortion and gay rights. One thing is clear; the two party systems which now have been there since the beginning, and they are possibly to remain so for a long time.
Political Parties Beneficial to American Politics
Political parties are beneficial to American politics, since they give a platform for the voter or the citizens to decide on what is best for them. If one considers the history of political parties in America after the introduction of the Constitution, not everyone’s need could be tackled, but the introduction of parties allowed democracy, since the common man was able to complain and use voting right to see change implemented. It gave the common man an option to choose what was best for his/her survival. Political parties brought about the opposition of the system in areas, where the rights of the common man were infringed; that is why the Republican Party came to be, as it opposed most of the propositions that were made by the Federalists in the constitution (Milkis, 1993). One should consider some of the political parties’ original propositions. The Federalists supported a centralized government in which they believed to be a platform that advocated for the protection of all citizens. On the other hand, the federalists believed in a state government, since they believed a central government could infringe the common man’s right.
Political parties have been beneficial in strengthening the politics of America, and this has been made possible through arguments and oppositions by the opposition party on matters it felt did not represent the public interest. This has forced the ruling party to seek for consensus on several bills or face humiliating defeats on issues of national importance. Over the years, political parties have had different views and ideas; an example today is being the Democrat’s support of abortion and gay marriage. Such type of liberalism was evident in the Federalists party, where they discarded the Articles of Confederations and embraced the constitution with its many changes. The Republicans, on the other hand, wanted little change and preferred maintaining the Articles of Confederation (Milkis, 1993).
Political parties have played a role in stabilizing the economy. Considering the economic situation in 1870s, America was on the verge of collapsing as a result of too many flaws in the Articles of Confederation, but than the Federalists rescued America’s economy by introducing the constitution (Milkis, 1993). Today, the economy has improved through Obama’s government timely and aggressive intervention, after Bush regime mistakes plunged the world into recession. The Obama healthcare system, which sought to ensure access to healthcare for all people living in America, is another excellent example of how party ideology shapes legislation.
Clearly, political parties have helped shape society and will continue to play a significant role in the future. Competition between the two parties ensures that people have a wide choice of candidates and are free to single out those who possess best ideas to push American nation forward.
American Two-Party System
The two party systems dominated America since the introduction of the Constitution in 1787. The present system of ruling that is federal-based divides the government into states and the central government. The two party systems over the years have defended for the rights of the electorate and social responsibility (Gibson, 1985). These systems have fared quite well over the years in addressing pertinent issues concerning the electorate, but have failed in some aspects to meet the wishes of the American people. This is as a result of different ideas and views of the two parties. The ruling party tends to ignore the sentiments of the opposition, especially in supporting controversial issues like abortion and gay rights. Despite these minor differences, the two-party system has seen that the views of the majority represented since leaders are usually expected to rise above partisanship and put the welfare of the people first (Gibson, 1985).
Since there are only two parties, decision-making also becomes easier. The ruling party always tries to cater to the ideologies of all people, regardless of how they voted since the government is sworn to observe the constitution to the latter.
Polarization of the parties has been on the increase in recent years. Partisan polarization tends more to hurt than help citizens; this is because the reasonable voices tend to be locked out. Polarization tends to create the difference in policies, thus, creating two extremes. Important issues tend to be voted out, since both extremes want to win (Abramowitz, 2010). A clear example is the health package bill which was supported by the Democrats and voted against by the Republicans.
Partisan polarization encourages association along multiple lines of potential conflict, and organizes individuals and groups around selected personalities, thus, crystallizing interests into the opposite party (Saunders et al, 2004). Despite the ideologies of the elite partisans that have broadened causing polarization, the common American opinion is still not polarized, except of a few issues in which they still are hesitant in their choices.
Rise of a Strong and Stable Third Party
Third party is usually used to refer to all other parties, other than the leading two parties; the Democratic and Republican Party. The rise of a strong third party in America in the near future is not likely to occur. If one considers the trends in elections, third party aspirants rarely win the election. The two main parties over the years have been the occupants of the white house and have won in all leading elections including senate and congressional elections (Milkis, 1993). Most of the office holders are associated with and approved by either of the two leading parties. The United States Representatives all come from the two leading parties. Few exceptions, however, have been evident in America’s history, where only two of the U.S presidents came from the third party. Andrew Johnson, who was affiliated with the Unionist, and George Washington; they were the only two presidents outside the two main parties. Third parties, however, have played a significant role in highlighting issues that have been ignored by the two leading parties (Milkis, 1993).
The two leading parties have always accused the third parties whenever they have effected on the electorates of having spoiler effect. Some of the third parties, like the Constitution Party, Green Party and Libertarian Party are considered as the ‘Big Three’ third presidents. The other small third parties are American Independent Party, American Nazi Party and American Reform Party. The third parties have a long way to go in terms of gaining the electorates’ support in all the States, where the two leading parties seem two have dominated almost equally.
American politics has seen the stability of the country in terms of economic growth and policymaking, being determined by political parties, mainly the two leading parties that are Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Though, partisanship still exists, the two parties try their best to work closely for the sake of all Americans. While the possibility of a strong third party still exists, it is highly unlikely that it will become a possibility in the near future.