The fact that most politicians look and sound the same is bad enough. You could line up a Republican and a Democrat side by side and be under the illusion that the two grey-haired men in suits are twins. But when they open their mouths, they say very different things. The trouble is that in the US, you only have two choices of how you want your life governed. Sure, there are other options out there, but the race always ends up being between the two main parties.
The main problem with having two big parties to choose from is that neither one of them is likely to coincide 100% with your views. This is evident from the way some people always vote for one party because they feel passionately about one issue or perhaps a couple of views that match up to their own.
Many of the rich and powerful tend to vote Republican, but their main reason for doing this is that they support the idea of a government that doesn’t tax the hell out of them and generally stays out of their business dealings. Many of these rich folks may not give two hoots about the religious ideology the Republican Party pushes or the fact that they are pro-gun ownership. But a working-class Christian may vote Republican based on his moral views while preferring the Democratic stance on wealth redistribution. They’re split. What to do?
It works the other way, too. A black Christian woman may vote Democrat because she feels they help minorities more. She might not like their liberal views on issues such as contraception and abortion, but the Democrats’ financial policies may line up to her own preferences more and outweigh anything the Republicans have to offer, including the religious stuff.
One wonders what it will take for people to give up on the two-party system and start voting for some of America’s more obscure political parties. The most logical answer to this is money. In America almost all of the campaign spending goes to the two main parties. In the last presidential race, the Democrats spent $715 million to get Barack Obama reelected, while Mitt Romney and the Republicans blew $446 million. Former French president Sarkozy was asked if he would run for president again after losing the last election to Francois Hollande. His response was that given the amount of money it would take to run the campaign, he wouldn’t bother.
We know that a lot of folks are not happy with the current two-party system. It’s clear that many US citizens would like to see a little more variety than Democrat v. Republican, Fox News v. MSNBC. Surely if people have had enough of the two parties, they will be looking to what other political options are around and what they have to offer. These parties may not be promoted in the mainstream media, but they exist. Some people vote for them—but it’s not enough to make a difference right now. Perhaps most people are so used to voting for one of the two big boys that they don’t even stop to think about the possibility of voting for someone else, or they’re so hell-bent on preventing the party they hate (be it Republican or Democrat) from winning, they’ll vote for its main competitor, fearing that a vote for one of the other parties would be a vote wasted.
Either way, getting rid of the long tradition of a two-party system in the United States is a possibility, but people need to get behind the cause 100% if they really want to get it done. I think it can be done, but I don’t think it will happen.