Opinion Of: JILLIAN SYLVESTER
The American two-party system is inefficient and needs to be replaced. The Constitution does not require forming any parties and valued figures like George Washington and James Madison have warned about the two-party system. The division of American ideals into just two parties have simplified the diversity of our democratic republic. Because the two central parties of America get the majority of votes, voting third party feels like a wasted vote.
Madison in Federalist No. 10 says that the only way a large republic will work in the States is with fluidity between factions, which are groups with similar interests. Say there is a farmer that teaches history. He can join factions about farming, education, and historical preservation. By being able to join multiple factions, the diverse needs and opinions of Americans can be addressed. By only being able to vote for either the Republicans or the Democrats (or Independents), you need to define where your main interests lie and make exceptions for the others. Maybe the party you vote for will address those side issues as you wish, but if they do not, prioritizing your needs limits your say in government.
In Washington’s Farewell Address, he says, “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they 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 reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” Party systems allow for the sovereignty of the American people to shift and be manipulated in the hands of government figures. Washington fears that parties will further move the power of the governed away than a republic already does. The United States democratic republic was the middle point between full democracy and the feared monarchy. The Founders chose a republic to avoid constant majority rule, but the effect of our modern two party system means constant clashing between parties, creating a slow process of legislating.
So, what type of system will work in America? I propose a multi-party system that Australia, Japan, and most of Europe use. The multi-party system elects representatives through proportional representation that gives each party the amount of seats in relation to the amount of support the party has. This differs from having elections based on congressional districts. Of course, there are many decisions to make about how electors vote in a multi party system, including the consideration of ranked-choice voting, but the general message I bring forth is the replacement of the two-party system to a multi-party system- expanding the say of the governed in a country built on the statement “We the People.”