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Party System in the US Analysis

2009 words (8 pages) Essay in Politics

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NATURE OF THE PARTY SYSTEM

This paper examines the nature of the party system in United States. This paper further identifies the reasons for the weaknesses of the American parties. The nature of the American party system is the two-party system. This is a party system whereby there are two dominant political parties that dominate the politics of a given state. Under the two party systems, one of the parties would hold a majority seat in the legislature. This party is referred to as the majority party (Wilkins & Stark, 2011). On the other hand, the party that has fewer members in the legislature is normally referred to as the minority party.

This concept of the two party systems has different meaning, depending on the type of the political system that a state has. For instance, under the presidential system of governance, it describes a situation whereby all elected officials belong to either one of the two dominant parties within the state. Third or more parties exist, but they rarely win an election (Hug, 2001). Because of these types of arrangements, a two party system normally leads to election rules such as a winner take all concepts.

In a two party system, the chances of a candidate to win an elective post, for a major position are always difficult. However, these smaller parties have the capability of influencing the dominant parties that exists within the state. In contrast to a parliamentary system such as that of the United Kingdom, the two party system is an arrangement whereby two parties dominate an election, but there are the existence of other parties that win an election in their legislatures (Herrnson & Green, 2002).

The American politics is dominated by the Republicans, and the Democrats. Despite the dominance of these two parties, there is a third party referred to as the Tea Party. It is important to explain that the tea party does not dominate the American political system, and this is because its candidates have never won any American major political seat, such as the Presidency, or even a Governors position (Janiskee & Masugi, 2007).

The dominance of the Republicans and the Democrats in the American political system has existed for more than 100 years, where the Presidents are either elected from the Republican party, or from the Democrat Party. Currently, the American President is Barrack Obama, and he emanates from the Democrat Party. His predecessor was George Bush, who was elected from the Republican Party (Strangio & Dyrenfurth, 2009). In as much as the Tea Party is not dominant, this party has the capability of influencing government policies, and the activities of the other two leading parties. On a specific note, the Tea Party has a considerable influence on the Republican Party.

For instance, in 2013, the members of the Tea Party were able to collaborate with the Republicans for purposes of shutting down the government of President Obama. This is in their bid to oppose the health care policies that were being advocated by President Obama. Based on these facts therefore, we can denote that the nature of the American party system is the two party systems. The domination of the Republican Party and the Democrat Party, and the influence of a smaller party, the Tea Party, satisfies the definition of a two party system in a presidential system. A two party system has a number of advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages of the American two party systems is the fact that they provide information that is easily understandable to the American voters. Through these actions, the two parties are able to create order in the political system, and this is through a representation of a wide political ideologies or philosophy of the party.

For instance, in the 2012 elections, campaigns between Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, and the Democrat nominee, President Obama, the two candidates were able to present the ideologies and philosophies of their parties. The second advantage of the American party system, is that it gives a stable balance through the accommodation of various interests and opinions. The Republicans and the Democrats have different organs and interests groups within them, and therefore, these parties normally accommodate then interests of these groups. This is for purposes of receiving a wide support from them. Finally, the two party systems enable citizens of America to participate in the political process of the nation (Disch, 2002). This enables its citizens to take part in the process of governance, through the political system. This is unlike in China, where it is only the communist party that can take part in the governance process, and people cannot express their own opinion, rather than that of the party (Paulson, 2006).

In a critique of the American two party systems, Baumgartner & Jones (2009) explains that it plays a role in downplaying the emergence of alternative views, and it create the political competition to be less competitive. Furthermore, the American two party system manages to create a sense of voter apathy, and this is mainly because only two views are presented at the ballot box (Lye & Hofmeister, 2011). This creates a perception that choices are limited, and hence it does not contribute to an extensive political debate within the country. Furthermore, the concepts of the winner takes it all, normally discourages other independent candidates from engaging in the political process. This is because if they lose elections, there is no way they would benefit. Bibby & Maisel (2003) explains that because of the disadvantages of the two party system, there has been a weakening of the American political parties in the recent times.

This is because power and money shifts from political organizations, to informal interest groups, and ad hoc committees. Furthermore, the emergence of grass root movements, and the decentralization of the structures of the party plays an influential role in the weakening of the parties (Lasser, 2012). Furthermore, the large amounts of money that are collected by candidates normally do not pass through the official structures of the party. This means that candidates are independent of the influences of the party, and this is because they are able to control their own campaign funds, instead of depending on the party for finances (Mckay, 2013). Furthermore, the American political system is populist, and this is because candidates are more concerned with their reputation with voters, as opposed to their reputation with the leadership of the party.

Based on these facts, senators and congressmen normally vote against the interest of their parties, on most occasions. This is because most politicians normally seek to respond to the strong emotional feelings, of the public, in regard to particular or certain issues. Furthermore, American voters do not vote in blocks, and this means that they are likely to belong to the two dominant parties in the United States (Sartori & Mair, 2005). Therefore, these voters are not easily influenced by powerful and influential political figures. However, candidates who have a strong grassroots support, and who have the capability of buying advertisement time, can play a significant role in influencing voters. Furthermore, money also plays a role in the weakening of the American political system. This is because candidates who have a lot of money can gain instant reputation, and make a name for them.

Furthermore, a movement that has the capability of energizing the public, would manage to endorse its own for a political office. An example is the 2008 primaries between Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton, where Obama triumphed over the party establishment that were supporting Hillary Clinton (Valelly, 2013). Another example is the tea party victories in the senatorial primaries held by the Republican. This is an indication of the weakening of the Republican Party. Furthermore, the lack of a strong party structure is a factor that strongly contributes to the weakening of the American political parties (Welch, 2010). This is because parties have to look for donors to finance their campaigns, and this includes lobby groups, who can have a role in influencing the candidates to develop a policy that is advantageous to them.

In conclusion, the nature of the American party system is the two party system. The political system is dominated by the Republicans and the Democrats. However, the current century has seen the weakening of the American parties. This is mainly because of the populist nature of the American political system, and a weak party structure that requires candidates to raise their own campaign money. This makes these candidates to be vulnerable to their donors, and mostly because they would be advocating for their interests. Furthermore, because of the populist nature of the American political system, candidates are not loyal to the party, but to the voters. This means that on most occasions, candidates would vote against the interests of their parties. This is because they want to gain a positive image that is attractive to their voters. The dominance of the Republicans and the Democrats parties has existed for more than 100 years, and this means that Presidents normally come from any of the two parties identified.

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