The two-party system is killing our democracy

John F. Kennedy once said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” 

Made in Canva by Maci Lesh

Dominick DiPasquale, Arvada West government teacher agrees, “I wish we saw more of that in politics right now. Where we find common ground, I mean that’s where we’ve made our best decisions. Where left and right come together, compromise, and find solutions for the country.”

America is a nation of people with an ever-changing past. It is a magnificent country that was built on the pillars of some very prominent and pivotal events. These events have shaped our nation, and whether it be through failure, victory, or both, they have proven to be absolutely essential to the strength and growth of our democracy. Our greatest failures and most notable triumphs combined make us the great nation we are today. One can not stand alone. They are intertwined, and without these pillars of our past, we would not stand. We would crumble, and our dreams of freedom and equality would crash right along with the rest of it. American democracy stands for the right to choose who will lead our country honestly, efficiently, and honorably.

 While the intentions of Americans are honorable, our society as a whole is not paying attention to them. Many people are uninformed about the policies of their preferred political party because the two-party system dominates American politics. By not voting for candidates whose policies align with our own beliefs, society is not honoring their values or the country. This division has created a system where our political parties do not adequately represent many of our nation’s voters

. We should abolish the two-party system so that all Americans can feel represented by their elected officials.

Many people see their party and vote, ill-informed of the consequences. According to the Yale News, in a study published by the American Political Science Review, “only 3.5% of U.S. voters would cast ballots against their preferred candidates as punishment for undemocratic behavior, such as supporting gerrymandering, disenfranchisement, or press restrictions.” This means that 96% of voters are willing to vote for someone who is making poor choices that are unbecoming of a presidential candidate in exchange for their gain. 

Dipasquale has thoughts on this, too: “Ultimately, we need to examine that. Come back to what’s important. What a democracy or a republic is, and what do we need from our institution.” 

Voters should not be loyal to a party. They should be loyal to their country and choose representatives who will do what is best for the people. By choosing party over principle, voters are turning their backs on their country and the future it deserves.

Countless citizens in this country do not vote. According to Global Citizen, 7% of the U.S. population does not vote because they don’t agree with the viewpoints of the parties. 7% may not appear like much, but it’s 23 million people that are not voting because they don’t want to be forced into the box of one party or another. If we were to eliminate the two parties, people would have more varied options to vote for. 

There will also, obviously be people upset by this change. Shyna-Mei ‘August’ Carter, a freshman, says, “In the long run, obviously people get angry at things, some justified, others not so much. But obviously the initial anger won’t last for a long time to come. At most it’ll be maybe for a few years, it’ll be forgotten. Like, did you know that people used to hate having seatbelts in their cars. They would cut it out with scissors. You don’t see people complaining about seatbelts now, do we? Of course, it should pass within time without any major damages.”

Let’s remember what it means to vote in this country. Made in Canva by Maci Lesh

Some would say that voters are plenty informed about their parties and candidates’ policies. However, according to the Choate News, “An individual may identify as a Republican primarily because they believe that their views regarding taxes and foreign policy best align with that of the Republican party. However, this same individual may also support abortion rights, gay rights, liberal immigration reform, and racial justice — all viewpoints most Americans would say are Democratic beliefs. In the same way, someone may associate themselves with the Democratic party because they believe their views regarding gun control are shared by the Democratic party, yet this individual may also oppose gay marriage and abortion rights. The people of the United States of America must hold themselves accountable to identify what the actual views of election candidates are, regardless of political party.” 

Many Americans are woefully uninformed about political parties, and this has very negative effects on the country’s elections. If we had no political parties, voters would have to be aware of the candidates they support and therefore be more informed about those candidates’ views. While some people may not vote because of sheer laziness, there are many more people who would vote because they have better options and opportunities with no political parties.

DiPasquale ends on a final note, “We need a more modern form of democracy and you don’t have to look far to see really good models of that. Multi-party system models…I had an exchange student from Germany, and they have this really cool system…They have to work across party lines and involve and

include a myriad of different points of view from those parties to create coalitions for majorities, to get things accomplished. Whereas in a two party system, we just see it moving further and further apart. I think the newer form of democracy, that multi-party system is super, super smart and brilliant and we need to get to that so we get more peoples’ voices.”

The fact that there are only two major political parties making up our government is a huge problem. It leads to an uninformed and divided populace, and our elected officials, who are elected by this system, do not reflect the interests of all Americans. By supporting the two-party system, we are rejecting the opportunity to improve our government. Two parties limit voter choices and ignore the needs of many Americans. Our country is at a crossroads, and it’s time we come together and choose the best leaders—not choose parties—to lead our country forward. By instituting ranked-choice voting for presidential elections, we are opening up our government to more viewpoints and opinions and making it so that all voters’ voices can be heard.