Our Flawed Two-Party System

”[Political parties] are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the rein of government, destroying afterward the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” (George Washington’s Farewell Presidential address, 1797)

As hard-wired by tradition, the two dominant political parties in America, Republican and Democrat, does not give voters and elected official much freedom of choice. They either accept wholesale the agenda of one of the two parties, the good with the bad and everything in between, or become marginalized.

Which has led college sophomore Scott Matthews to wonder “whether we would do just fine eliminating the political parties altogether. 100 different in the Senate and 435 different voices in the House of Representatives would lead our country in the future with one voice of compromise.” Scott Matthews, (“Are the Parties Worth a Damn?’ The Davidsonian, Davidson College, North Carolina, 10/20/10.)

Not a bad idea. The loose, flexible coalitions that would result from a no-party system would go a long way in preventing the stifling gridlocks that keep our government from responding opportunely to events in this fast-changing world.

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