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Democrat vs Republican: The Problem with the Two Party System

Updated on October 18, 2012
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Democrat Versus Republican: The Problem with the Two Party System

Democrat or Republican, one thing that binds us all together is the hope for a better country for our prosperity. No one wants their children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren to be burdened with the same issues we have been facing for decades. The hope is that we will elect a President, as well as Congressmen and Senators, that will listen to the wants, needs, and demands of the American people, and pass legislation to ensure our country is on the right track for all of its citizens.

The problem with this hope is the reality that there will never be one right track for all of the citizens in the United States of America. We have too many different people with too many diverse needs to make everyone happy. People have long sought ways to set themselves apart from others with different views and unite us with those who share our beliefs, views, and morals. Thus, the two-party system aims to do just that, align us with those whose views, beliefs, and morals are similar to our own, while giving us a way to differentiate ourselves from those whose differ.


Defining the terms: What is a Democrat or Republican?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a Democrat is one who practices social equality, while a Republican is a member of a political party advocating republicanism. As you can tell from this, Merriam-Webster does not give a clear definition of Republican. Upon looking up a definition for republicanism you learn that it refers back to a Republican party or its members. No clear and concise definition is ever given for Republican as it is with Democrat.

In an attempt to find clear and concise definitions for both terms, I have decided to look up the Republican Party website, and the Democratic Party website. Each have their sites laid out in preparation for the 2012 election, with no clear candidate for the Republican Party as of yet, and Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America, as the only candidate for the Democratic Party. The Democrats seem to have an opinion of who the Republican candidate will be as they have anti-Mitt Romney articles and links abounding on their site.

According to the Republican Party website, the Republicans are for the rights of the individual over the rights of the government as a whole, and believe in limited government. The Republican party was at the forefront of the anti-slavery movement, with President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the Republicans that spearheaded the equal rights for blacks and women movements. Republicans care about the individual and are very anti-big government.

In contrast, the Democratic Party website boasts that they are for the values of hardworking American families and that wealth and privilege should not dictate law. The Democrats boast of the creation of Social Security, the G.I. Bill, the Marshall Plan, NATO, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act.

How do You Vote?

How do you decide for whom you will vote?

See results

Political Affiliation a Family Tradition?

Many people grow up learning about political affiliations from their parents and grandparents. They learn what each party stands for, and which one most closely aligns with their beliefs through what their parents teach them. This can lead many young adults to vote as their parents would, strictly out of a sense of duty.

Growing up, I was lead to believe that Republicans were CEO's and the Wealthy Elite among us, while Democrats, by contrast, were the poor, working class, blue-collar Americans. My Dad refused to discuss politics with us because, as he put it, "there are two things we don't discuss in life if we want to be happy and non-confrontational; religion and politics. Both incite such emotion in people that one could easily burn bridges by discussing these two topics that they would never want to burn and could never repair."

Ask many of today's youth why they associate themselves to a particular political party and more than likely you will find out that their parents, grandparents, or other influential adults in their life had been of that political affiliation and therefore they believe that party is right for them. Most of them have not done their own research to see where the parties stand on key social, educational economical, and policy issues. Even more often, they listen to the hype of the politician without checking their voting record to verify that they truly having the voting record to back up their claims.

How the System Should Work

In theory, the best candidate will win the primary for each political party, and the best candidate between the political parties will win the election. The current system uses the Electoral College to decide who will win the Presidency, which, contrary to popular belief, does not have to vote the way of the people. Herein lies the problem.

The Electoral College was a compromise put forth in the Constitution to help compromise between those who believed that Congress should elect the President/Vice President, and those who believed that the popular vote should elect them. The number of Electors that each state has is equal to two times the number of U.S. Representatives plus two, one for each U.S. Senator. The number of U.S. Representatives is determined by the population of the state as reported on the Federal Census.

Twenty-four of the fifty States have no law or provision stating that the Electors will cast their vote the way of the Popular Vote. The other twenty-six states do have laws regarding casting their vote or pledge to a particular candidate or party, pending the Popular Vote. The list showing which states fall under which list can be found here.

What does this mean? In twenty-four of the states, the popular vote is strictly for show. It has no true meaning, other than to show what the people want. The Electors have no obligation, legally, to vote the way the people have shown they would like the vote to go. Knowing this, one would ask "does my vote even matter?"

An Ideal Solution: The Dream

The ideal solution to our problems within the two party system would be to do away with it altogether. With no political affiliations, candidates would have to stand on their own, be more forthright with their stances on key issues, and earn supporters much the way those who run grass roots campaigns do. Each American would then, ideally, begin to pay attention to the key issues, do their research on their candidate of choice, and ensure that the best candidate was elected. As an American, it is your duty and responsibility to be informed on the issues and the candidates.

You may be asking yourself, "How do I decide who is the best candidate?" The answer is simple: Vote for the candidate who represents you. Some key things to consider:

  • Which candidate has a proven track record of voting the way they state they are going to?
  • Which candidate has displayed a willingness to listen to the hopes, wants, and needs of their constituents, as well as their concerns?
  • Which candidate's moral values most closely align with my own?
  • Which candidate's view on policy most closely aligns with my own?
  • Which candidate do I trust to serve the interests of myself and my fellow Americans?

Comments

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  • LauraD093 profile image

    Laura Tykarski 

    7 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

    I voted this up interesting and informative I will in fact be looking forward to any and all political hubs you may write in the future I like to read various political forums-and this year have been like a vampire sucking down various opinions and view-points ty for a great and well written hub

  • yellowstone8750 profile image

    yellowstone8750 

    7 years ago from Taos, nm

    Americans are cursed with consenual apathy!

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 

    7 years ago from USA

    This is a wonderful, informative hub, but it assumes the majority of Americans actually know how to think or are willing to take the time to do their homework on political issues. Let's call it what it is: The lazy, ignorant and apathetic among us are the ones ruining this country, not only with their behaviors, but with their votes.

  • J Elaine profile image

    J Elaine 

    7 years ago from Northern Minnesota

    Thanks Melissa. Didn't want to get off on the wrong foot!

    I just want to stress how important to get involved in your local government, whether it's city council or county board of commissioners. I'm actually an elected official myself as treasurer of my township. These are the areas that you can have the most influence.

    I also helped defeat a 36 year incumbent congressman in my district. Oberstar was in office my entire adult life and everyone said he was unbeatable, but we did it. It was so surprising that it made national news. I now know my congressman personally and also my state senator that I also helped get elected.

    Who says a nobody from nowhere can't make a difference?

  • MelissaVsWorld profile imageAUTHOR

    MelissaVsWorld 

    7 years ago from Here, There, and Everywhere. USA

    @J Elaine: No, no nerves have been hit. Simply an observation. I am very proud of your for being able to avoid the terrorist label. With any luck and some hard work and dedication, we will be able to ensure our government will not label anyone as a terrorist simply for voicing their views and opinions, especially while exercising their first amendment rights.

  • J Elaine profile image

    J Elaine 

    7 years ago from Northern Minnesota

    Ooh, I seem to have hit a nerve! Sorry about that, I really didn't intend to. I guess I tend to be a little brusque sometimes.

    I love to write, but don't have much time to since I'm busy taking action and trying to affect what little change I can. I have to say I'm fairly pleased with my accomplishments since becoming engaged. So far, nobody has accused me of becoming a terrorist.

  • MelissaVsWorld profile imageAUTHOR

    MelissaVsWorld 

    7 years ago from Here, There, and Everywhere. USA

    @J Elaine: This is an informative/opinion Hub. The point is to share information. We change the system by doing our civic duties, researching the best options, and seeing to it that we vote for the best candidate regardless of political affiliation. Hence, I point out that this is exactly what all citizens should do.

    Were I to take things to the extremes required to make the change happen, I would be deemed a terrorist by our current government for following the Declaration of Independence and it's call to action regarding a government that no longer serves its people. The first step in making changes without being deemed a terrorist for starting a movement to overthrow the government would be to get the information out there. This is what I am doing.

    I love the interaction, although you come across to be more attacking than engaging. I can clearly see that our views are different, and that is a wonderful thing. A world full of like-minded people would be boring.

  • J Elaine profile image

    J Elaine 

    7 years ago from Northern Minnesota

    So you don't like the dominant political parties and you don't like the electoral college. What are you doing to change the system then? Just complaining about it doesn't accomplish anything.

  • MelissaVsWorld profile imageAUTHOR

    MelissaVsWorld 

    7 years ago from Here, There, and Everywhere. USA

    @yellowstone8750, I couldn't agree more. The Electoral College is a very antiquated system that is no longer representative of the political climate of the times. Not everyone is Republican or Democrat, but due to the Electoral College, it is virtually impossible for anyone who is not running under one of those two party affiliations to actually get the needed Elector votes to win the Presidency.

  • yellowstone8750 profile image

    yellowstone8750 

    7 years ago from Taos, nm

    The first thing that needs to be done is get rid of the electoral college so that other parties have a chance at the presidency.

  • MelissaVsWorld profile imageAUTHOR

    MelissaVsWorld 

    7 years ago from Here, There, and Everywhere. USA

    @lovemychris: One issue will not make or break it for me, unless it is a MAJOR issue. For me, abortion isn't it but I can see where it may be for some. I attempt to look at their standings as a whole, as I'm not going to agree with every single politician on every single issue.

    @J Elaine: I'm not stating we should have ONE political party. The ideal would be NO political parties. All "independents" so to speak. The problem with the system is that We the People tend to follow political alliances as opposed to checking into each and every candidate and their individual views and opinions on the issues that matter.

    The truth of the matter is I am not for any of the current "mainstream" candidates. Yes, I support Ron Paul, and have since approximately 2006 when I decided to do research into all of the players in the game and find out whose views and policies I agree with most. Is my choice candidate best for everyone? Most likely not. Obama is probably great for some, Romney for others. Heck, even Gingrich and Santorum probably would be the perfect candidate for some people. However, without political parties to skew our views and opinions by leading voters to believe the candidates they endorse are for or against key policies and issues, more people would do their research and maybe, just maybe, more politicians would take their responsibility more serious.

    I do plan to have more of my views, opinions, and some more research Hubs on politics posted over the next several months leading up to the Election 2012, and I'm sure some post-Election Hubs on the topics as well. I invite you to follow up and provide input on those as well if it so suits you to do so.

  • J Elaine profile image

    J Elaine 

    7 years ago from Northern Minnesota

    There are countries in the world that have only one political party. They're called dictatorships!

    There's another obvious flaw in your analysis and that is that you didn't bother to mention reading the party platforms. The Republican and Democrat platforms both address most of the same issues. The stark contrast is that the Democrats believe the government has solutions to our problems and the Republicans think promoting free market solutions is the better way to go.

    Interesting insight into the electoral college though. I'm going to look into that further and find out where my state stands.

  • lovemychris profile image

    Leslie McCowen 

    7 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

    I myself, am a one-issue person. If someone is anti-abortion, I could never ever vote for them.

    Sounds simple-minded, but really it isn't.

    Should abortion once again become illegal, women will be back to the dark ages as far as rights as a citizen and human being.

    This is the ultimate freedom issue to me, not whether a corporation has the right to rip people off.

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