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Saturday, April 09, 2016

Two-Party System

By Douglas V. Gibbs

"Where a constitution, like ours, wears a mixed aspect of monarchy and republicanism, its citizens will naturally divide into two classes of sentiment, according as their tone of body or mind, their habits, connections and callings, induce them to wish to strengthen either the monarchical or the republican features of the constitution. Some will consider it as an elective monarchy, which had better be made hereditary, and therefore endeavor to lead towards that all the forms and principles of its administration. Others will view it as an energetic republic, turning in all its points on the pivot of free and frequent elections." -- Thomas Jefferson to James Sullivan, 1797. ME 9:377

John Adams argued that a two- party system would be the death of the United States. Jefferson advised that our tendency to gravitate towards a party system with two different political sentiments is natural. In a system such as ours, where the freedom to disagree with one’s opposition is considered a Constitutional Right, there is no way to get around, or away from, our two-party system. Even in countries with many political parties, the many parties eventually coalesce into two opposing factions. In the end, it always ends up with one side fighting for a more intrusive government, and the other side calling for a less intrusive government.

Hypothetically, if we were to eliminate the two-party system, and create a new political environment where there were no more Democrats, and no more Republicans, we would not escape the reality that it is in our human nature to participate in a two-party system. It would be great if we could vote for our candidates simply because of where they stand on the issues, without having to worry about any political party designation.

In our hypothetical world of no political parties, let us imagine that a huge issue comes up. Those who support it move to one side of the room, and those who oppose it to the other side. Birds of a feather flock together. The two camps would then organize, choose leaders, and two new political parties would be born.

A two-party system cannot just be eliminated. We always choose sides. Even when we don’t vote, we choose sides.

When it comes to elections, the number of voters who go to the polls is dangerously low, but in reality, even when we don’t vote, we vote. The non-vote goes to the candidate the non-voter fears the most. Their refusal to vote provides a vote to the candidate they believe is wrong for the country. To not vote is to vote for the opposition.

Is to vote for a lesser or two evils still voting for an evil? If left with the choice of voting for a person who supports the free market, or one who supports the government takeover of the means of production, which is the better vote? In that case, to not vote would be evil.

As for when the political parties misbehave, that is when we are supposed to concentrate on what it takes to maintain the republic. . . which involves much more than merely voting.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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