The Political Party Problem


George Washington famously said that political parties will “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 reins of government, destroying afterward the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” Though I can’t speak to whether or not Washington’s prediction has occurred, political parties have surely created a divisive and aggressive population in the United States when related to politics.

Democrats and Republicans, the two most common political parties in the United States, exist on opposite sides of the spectrum. If you want your vote to feel like it matters, especially in presidential elections, citizens must vote for either a Democratic or Republican candidate. This creates a polarized population. With each half of the population feeling that they must politically support one extreme or the other, there is little room for compromise in the government’s actions, and when considering a population of 325 million people, compromise is a necessity.

An example of compromise not happening under the two-party system is former president Barack Obama and now-president Donald Trump’s stances on immigration. While Obama helped create legislation such as DACA, one of Trump’s first actions in office was to restrict immigration. Obviously, each party was unhappy with the other’s actions, but a sustainable median in each ideology has not been found, mostly because of the two-party system.

A halfway point for the two parties must be found – or the two parties must be done away with. This is because neither extreme can be effective with the other attempting to stop it at every turn.