The Instigator
malaki
Pro (for)
Winning
30 Points
The Contender
lazarus_long
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

The Two party system in the United States does not adequately represent the people.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,951 times Debate No: 1273
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (13)

 

malaki

Pro

Currently when people go out to vote they are given two choices, it doesn't matter that in the political spectrum there are hundreds more beliefs/ideas out there the american public, the so called most democratic place on earth, gets only two choices that have any hope of winning. Whats more is that the majority of national and higher up state officials represent the same thing and differ only in the "whats hot" issues (I.E. abortion gay marriage ect.) and when they get into office many the differences are negligible. With the two party system it over shadows many political problems which need attention and decisions but won't because they are represented by small specialist parties. The two parties currently do not represent what is good for the american public because they are obligated buy campaign contributions by big corporations, whether or not a president is uncorrupted or not enough in congress exist to block bills that would help the american public. Its easier for corporations to control politicians with fewer political parties, also the two party system encourages incumbency. What the US needs are completely new political parties with new leadership, more than two but not many more because historically two many cause problems. I believe the US people have enough experience with democracy to make the transition.
lazarus_long

Con

Malaki, I'm not sure this is going to wind up being quite the debate you'd intended, but...well, we'll see.

Your profile shows that you're 17, so I have to assume that you have never actually voted in the U.S., and may not have ever seen an official ballot. It may therefore come as somewhat of a surprise to you to learn that the U.S. does not, strictly speaking, have a two party system at all. There is nothing at all to prevent the formation of other parties, and in fact numerous alternatives exist. These include at least the following at present:

America First Party
American Party
American Independent Party
American Nazi Party
American Reform Party
Communist Party of the United States of America
Constituion Party
Democratic Socialists of America
Green Part of the United States
Independence Party
Labor Party
Libertarian Party
National Socialist Movement
Natural Law Party
Peace & Freedom Party
Prohibition Party
Reform Party
Socialist Labor Party

...and numerous others. Obviously, few of these have ever come close to challenging either of the two major parties in recent years; the Greens and the Libertarians have probably been the most consistently successful. While neither has had much impact at the federal level yet, both parties (notably the Liberatians, in terms of the most elected officials) have been successful in getting candidates elected at the state and local level. There have also been some fairly successful "third party" attempts at the Presidential level; possibly the most notable was Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 run under the "Progressive Party" banner. While Roosevelt lost that election to Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate, he handily beat the Republican nominee (William Taft) in both the electoral and popular voting (88 to 8 in electoral votes, 4.13 million to 3.48 million in the popular vote).

So while it might be argued that the two major parties do not "adequately represent the people," we simply do not have a formal two-party system, and the people are certainly free to support any of the alternative parties if they choose. That this has not yet happened would seem to indicate that the majority of Americans have yet to become sufficiently dissatisfied with the choices provided by the Democratic and Republican parties to be willing to jump ship. It appears that most ARE satisfied with their representation - whether you or even I would agree with that choice is beside the point.
Debate Round No. 1
malaki

Pro

Off your first point about there is not an official two party system I have the following responses:
1)ಠ_ಠ
2) I realized that there are multiple political parties when I wrote this and the intention was to evaluate the paradigm of two dominant parties in the United states.
3) I think its best that the current dominant parties are ignored by US voters and new parties (more than 2) are put into effect.

While the empiric examples are correct, they prove my point. Woodrow Wilson did handily beat the republicans because he split it, the second someone rose above one of the dominant parties and address the issues as they intend and believe people not only believe but vote. I suspect he lot because of the polarization between democrats and republicans.

Finally your last statement that americans are not dissatisfied with the parties is also false, the republican party is currently going through a huge shake, the truely conservative parts of the party feels as though the politicians are not actually conservative and the religious right are angry that republicans aren't doing anything and a possible party split is on the horizon.
lazarus_long

Con

"Off your first point about there is not an official two party system I have the following responses:
1)ಠ_ಠ"

I'm sorry, but you're apparently going to have to repeat that one.

"2) I realized that there are multiple political parties when I wrote this and the intention was to evaluate the paradigm of two dominant parties in the United states."

OK, then let's discuss that. The fact that there ARE just two dominant parties in the U.S., in the face of no real impediments to the formation of additional parties, strongly suggests that the majority of Americans ARE at least sufficiently satisfied with this situation so as not to have strong motivation to change it. Again, whether you or I are completely aligned with these parties, and feel they either one represents our views adequately, is not a relevant concern; in this case, it IS literally the case of the majority ruling. If it's true that the two "dominant" parties are not adequately representing the majority of American voters - then why, exactly, do they remain dominant? If you're going to claim that this is because the American public are being led around like sheep by these two parties, that's still hardly an argument that the voters are not being adequately represented. A voting public which is that apathetic is getting precisely the representation they appear to want.

"3) I think its best that the current dominant parties are ignored by US voters and new parties (more than 2) are put into effect."

You may think that personally, but again - so what? How would you propose to cause the two dominant parties to be "ignored" by the American voters, and new parties "put into effect"? For that matter - where would these supposed new parties come from? There are already, as noted earlier, dozens of other parties, a few of which (such as the Greens and Libertarians) are starting to make some progress in fielding candidates. Many of the rest are clearly single-issue fringe groups, but the point is: where are you expecting these supposedly "completely new" parties to come from, if they're not already among these existing organizations? Why would they not simply wind up being versions of the existing Republican or Democratic parties under new labels?

Do you propose to FORCE additional parties to somehow be created? If so - under what mandate? Again, the majority of Americans have, for whatever reason, chosen NOT to abandon the existing dominant parties. So how do you propose to implement what you, in an apparent minority position, feel is preferable? What makes you right, and the American public wrong on this topic? Would you be justified in breaking up or otherwise reducing the supposed "domination" of the present two dominant parties, simply by a dictatorial declaration?

"Finally your last statement that americans are not dissatisfied with the parties is also false, the republican party is currently going through a huge shake, the truely conservative parts of the party feels as though the politicians are not actually conservative and the religious right are angry that republicans aren't doing anything and a possible party split is on the horizon."

But if that's true, and your supposed "party split" should come to pass, it would merely mean that the current system is NOT broken, and in fact corrects itself as desired by the voting public. Frankly, I don't expect a significant part of the Republican party to break away; we might see a relatively small minority try to make it as yet another "third party," but I seriously doubt that we will see any real challenge to the currently-dominant two parties in the foreseeable future.

The current Democratic and Republican parties have NOT been the be-all and end-all of American politics throughout our history. A quick review of election results since the adoption of the current Constitution will show this. We no longer have Whigs or Federalists, for example; those parties faded and were replaced by others, just as (someday) the current Republican and Democratic parties may be replaced or change into something else. The bottom line is that we clearly do NOT have a formal two-party-and-ONLY-two-party system in this country, so any argument based on the assumption that we do is flawed from the beginning.
Debate Round No. 2
malaki

Pro

Sorry for the delay I went out to eat. Anyways Before I get into answering your points I think what artC said is relevant to what we are discussing the two party system forces the media to focus on the two parties and doesn't allow for the other parties views to go main stream. With that in mind apply that to your arguments about the American public being happy means that they feel represented, people conform to the party which most closely represents their beliefs, most of the time not ever single one of their beliefs are mirrored by the party. With more parties people can find a better fit and truly a majority rule can occur because now more people evaluate based on who agrees with me more.

1) ಠ_ಠ

2) "no real impediments" This is one point we will disagree on, the existence of the two dominant incumbent parties are what impede new parties from gaining greater support, two party systems encourage the dominant parties to revert to mudslinging when dealing with the parties and the greater parties often take the issues that minority parties champion and champion those issues themselves. The reason they remain dominant is because the other parties do not have the means to gain attention, the greater parties muscle them out and take their issues, and like above media attention.

on the third post that was me talking about what I wished I guess not an actual proposition of action, not really pertinent to the debate.

Finally on the last point that was meant to answer your people are satisfied with current parties. But what you say is interesting, first the self correcting argument. Although the names throughout history have changes the two sides relatively have not, the power struggle has occurred between conservatives and liberals, the self corrections is essentially the same party with the same party bosses leaving the scene for a little bit getting a new face and changing their name. They still represent those which pay them and those which intend to keep them in office and don't serve the majority of the people who vote for them. Look at the republicans, home of the conservatives yet Both Bush's have acted nothing less than liberal in everything. They do not represent their constituents and neither do the democrats. Having two dominant parties is bad this is what the debate is about and this is what is true.
lazarus_long

Con

Looks like we're going to wrap this one up in near-record time! Ah, well...it's been a pleasure. Only a few things left to say, it seems, and then we'll send this one to the voters...;-)

First, and once again:

"1) ಠ_ಠ"

Whatever it is you're trying to say here, it's simply not coming through - maybe it's a case of different browsers or some such, but there's simply no way for me to respond to something I can't read. (I'm using IE on Windows XP here, so I suspect there are a number of other people out there who also are unable to make and sense of this part.)

"2) "no real impediments" This is one point we will disagree on, the existence of the two dominant incumbent parties are what impede new parties from gaining greater support, two party systems encourage the dominant parties to revert to mudslinging when dealing with the parties and the greater parties often take the issues that minority parties champion and champion those issues themselves."

But how is it, exactly, that the mere existence of two dominant parties are impeding new ones, IF, as you say, the American public is not satisfied with the representation they receive from the major parties? Getting the attention of the public comes down to basically one thing - money - and while it's certainly true that the "dominant" parties control awfully big piles of it, IF there is widespread dissatisfaction as you seem to be claiming, a viable "third party" should at least be able to raise enough to make itself heard to SOME degree. Let's face it, the evidence is that either the majority of Americans are satisfied with their current choices, or they simply do not care enough to give support to an alternative. Either way, they are getting precisely the representation they deserve and appear to be asking for.

There are exceptions, of course; again, witness the successes, small though they may be in comparison, of the larger "third parties" such as the Greens and the Libertarians. New parties cannot displace the old overnight, but these two at least seem to have a shot at positioning themselves as viable alternatives to the status quo. Look at the impact Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, had on the 2000 Presidential election. He didn't win, obviously, but his candidacy clearly affected the course of the election and no doubt affected the positions of the candidates of the two major parties. What more would you expect of a "third party" at this point? Nader took nearly 3% of the popular vote, more than the margin between the two "major" tickets and certainly enough to have significantly affected the outcome of this election. It is clearly NOT just a "two party" system.

One other reason that many Americans find the current choices acceptable, in terms of representing their interests, is that the two currently-dominant parties ARE large enough to provide a fairly wide array of options even within themselves. Look at the current Presidential race as an example: on the Democratic side, 3 candidates in a virtual dead heat for the lead, and at least 4 or 5 others who have gained some degree of national attention. On the Republican side, a similar situation - an equally-large slate of nationally-known candidates, and even less of a clear front-runner at this point. It is not surprising that the public isn't looking to other parties right now - they have a considerable range of choice being presented by the two major parties!

This isn't because the majors are "muscling out" the minor parties - again, IF there were a sufficient number of voters unable to find acceptable representation from any candidate in the majors, they (and their money) would certainly wind up with an alternative party. There is no impediment to this, as is clear from the fact that it has frequently happened in the past. Ralph Nader in 2000, as noted above. George Wallace in 1968. John Anderson in 1980. H. Ross Perot in both 1992 and 1996, with the '92 run resulting in the birth of the Reform Party. (That run was significant for another reason - Perot wound up with over half as many votes as the Republican candidate, George H. W. Bush, which went a long way toward demonstrating the real viability of third-party candidacy and again clearly influencing the positions of the two "major-party" candidates.)

The mere fact that the two dominant parties ARE dominant is not evidence of an impediment to a third party being successful, and as shown there have been numerous examples of fairly successful challenges by these "alternative party" candidates. But the continued success of the existing major parties IS certainly evidence that they are doing an acceptable job in the eyes of most of the American voters. You can hardly fault them for being good at what they're supposed to be doing.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by sleepiB 9 years ago
sleepiB
It would be far better to do away with primaries and political parties, implement a system of instant runoffs.

I want to force people to actually learn about the policy positions of the candidates(more specifically the structure of the decision behind that policy position), and not just talking points and the letter next to the name.

Political parties serve to generalize the political position of a candidate, meaning a voter is unlikely to detect incompetence or severe disagreements on any specific issue until the scandal occurs. The role of the voters is thus limited to damage control.
Posted by PinkiePinkerton 9 years ago
PinkiePinkerton
SleepiB is kind of right.

To focus more on the debate, I believe the reason that a 3rd party has not emerged as a competitor on the National level is that so many people "vote for the lesser of two evils." I think more people vote against someone (because they fear what that person may do to our country)than for someone.

Example, I will vote libertarian in November unless Hilary is on the ballot. In that case, I will vote Republican because their candidate is the "lesser of two evils," even though I don't really care for the Republican candidate.
Posted by sleepiB 9 years ago
sleepiB
No, we don't have a two party system, we have a one party system that claims to be two parties.
Posted by artC 9 years ago
artC
Both the electoral college and the media have huge bearing on any third party. Consider what it takes for a third party to get any votes in the electoral college. Also the part media plays in presidential elections.
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
ಠ_ಠ for the loss.
Also:
The following exception(s) occurred:

1. Your comments don't appear to be grammatically correct. Try adding more content to your comments.

That's odd.
Posted by mmadderom 9 years ago
mmadderom
"I would like someone to address how difficult it is for third parties because of the electoral college and media."

Huh? The electoral college has no bearing on "difficulty" and how is the media influence detrimental to "third parties"? If there was ever a national election that screamed 3rd party, it's this one. A Ross Perot would actually have a chance this time around.
Posted by mmadderom 9 years ago
mmadderom
This one isn't even close. We DON'T have a "two party" system.
Posted by artC 9 years ago
artC
I would like someone to address how difficult it is for third parties because of the electoral college and media.
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Vote Placed by independent 9 years ago
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