The flawed two-party system

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The flawed two-party system

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U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

John Fey, Centurion Staff

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On Nov. 4 registered voters will be practicing their constitutional right to vote, yet some question how much weight a vote carries in a two-party system, as constituents of third parties feel their voices go unheard.

In a two-party system the majority part and minority party dominate politics—in the U.S., the Republicans and Democrats.  In our political landscape, the majority party, the party with the greatest influence over legislation, changes every two to four years as control over the House, Senate and presidency shifts.

This usually goes unquestioned by the general public, but not everyone is content with this system. “My opinion of [the two-party system] is that the idea is flawed,” said Gregory Pezza, a professor of Political Science at Bucks.

“Nowhere in the Constitution is there any reference to a two party system. It is not mandated by law. It was a good idea at first. Now, it is just a reality of politics in this country.”

Our two-party system is a product of our electoral system known as first-past-the-post (FPTP), where the candidate with the most votes wins. This type of electoral system favors the most powerful parties as voters will be more likely to vote for a favored candidate than gamble away their vote on a long shot candidate. This is commonly referred to as tactical voting.

The alternative to a single-winner vote, FPTP, are the multiple-winner methods. These include proportional method, semi-proportional method and majoritarian methods, and are used by most modern democracies.

Many believe that parties falling under the umbrella title of “Third Party”, such as the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, and the Constitution Party, are treated very unfairly during any election.

“It effects the other parties,” said Pezza “because these parties are never taken seriously. Mostly because if money. They can’t peak because they don’t have enough money.”

When it comes to these third parties, the people involved with them feel  left out and treated unfairly.

“No matter how much I complain as a Libertarian, no one cares in a political realm” said Bradley Cooper, Bucks County’s Chairman of the Libertarian Party.

Cooper, a very vocal supporter of the Libertarian ideology, said of his party “In short words, we stand for minimum government and maximum freedom. Many of our core beliefs are taken right from the Constitution. We take a little from the left and the right.”

In Bucks County alone, a recent poll from the Pennsylvania Department of State reads a voter registration with about 187,000 Democratic voters, 175,000 Republican voters, 39,000 unaffiliated voters, and only about 3,200 Libertarian voters.

Cooper also spoke of how the two main parties treat his and other third parties.

“The two parties [republican and democrat] have been in power for a very long time. Because of this, getting your name on a ballot is a tremendous problem. The two parties need less votes than the third parties to get on the ballot. For us, it is very hard to get 16,000 signatures minimum. It’s a hindrance toward us.”

“The Democrats and Republicans don’t want us. They’ll blame us for taking away votes. That’s a reason we’re not on the ballot. They use lawyers and make up rules that stop us from even trying to get into the election,” said Cooper.

He feels his party has been thrown to the side, and says the two party system “is the worst thing for America because it doesn’t give the citizens a good choice for what they want. They aren’t given the choice of other candidates.”

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