In this upcoming 2020 election, the voting process will show that the country is clearly split into two halves this year. One half will believe their votes were not precisely counted to sabotage the US Postal Service, and the other will be made to believe that any mail-in vote for Biden is fraudulent. Another Bush v. Gore for the Supreme Court to deal with could be the end of democracy. In summary, that case settled a recount dispute of Florida’s votes in the 2000 presidential election. The Florida Supreme Court executed the recount because the color of the state could determine the whole election.
The current situation shows the opposition and distrust between the Democrats and the Republicans. Such opposition arose because there are only two possible candidates/parties that can win the election in present-day American politics; also, many US voters are centrists that vote for the lesser evil, so they cannot vote for primary elections either. So, what does this current situation reveal about the US’s two-party system? True partisanship is limited. How did such a blatantly problematic system become implemented in American politics? Although the two-party system in US politics right now has theoretical advantages in stability and economy, those advantages are clearly not being reaped in the US because of the system; it needs to end for the US to progress as a nation.
We Are Voting for Bad Candidates
Going back to the main question I brought up, why is the two-party system so bad right now? A two-party system allows for only two parties to dominate, leaving no other candidates to stand a chance in a race. So, choices are limited to strictly two candidates for the majority of Americans. In case you do not know, the United States is voting between current President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump’s ever-growing list of malpractices includes lying more than 10,000 times in official statements since his inauguration (about anything from tariff laws to crowd size), selfishly profiting off the presidency, inciting bigotry, and becoming the third president in the history of the US to be impeached. Combined with his rape accusations (with cases including underaged girls accompanied with convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein), many would say it would be impermissible to allow such a President to stay in office.
On the other hand, Biden has his own set of problems to address, too. There are already people who know this, hence Instagram pages like “Settle for Biden” exist. But to what degree? Predominantly white, privileged liberals are pushing the narrative that voting for Biden will end police brutality, end the countless problems of the racist capital system, and everything will return to “normal” if everybody votes Democrat. Besides that, Biden has a long history of racism including vocally opposing school desegregation in the 70s, supporting 1994’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (which heavily supported mass incarceration), and even his recent words on “The Breakfast Club” radio show with Charlamagne (Biden felt entitled to determine who is or is not black). Additionally, like Trump, Biden also has a multitude of sexual assault allegations during his time working for the government. We are voting between two racist candidates with histories of rape allegations, just one is better at hiding it (the media barely covered Biden’s accusations/put it in their spotlight or front page). To clarify, all the evidence I am presenting about Biden is to show that he is not a drastically better candidate like many want to believe or make others believe, and not that I condone Trump at all. I believe the majority of people know less about Biden’s problematic past than Trump’s, hence the more evidence analyzed for Biden.
Two-Party System is a Political Evil
The current two-party system literally is the “great political evil” John Adams worried about when making the constitution. When creating the constitution, President Washington and Adams’ theory was if a consistent partisan majority united to seize the government, they would use their power to oppress the minority. This would then lead to violence, and authoritarianism would follow. Washington and Adams wanted to learn from the evidence that inspired their theory because it is what made previous republics fall into civil wars.
Now, the evil is present as the stakes are so high for voting for a party now that cross-partisan deal-making is destroyed. Everything is about team loyalty, and voters vote for the party, not the candidate. This strictly two-party system is fairly new as from the mid-1960s to the mid-‘90s, politics in the US basically had four parties: The liberal and conservative Democrats and the liberal and conservative Republicans. Even this slightly larger number of parties allowed for different coalitions that supported the type of fluid bargaining the constitutional system requires. The reason the four-party system collapsed was because of the nationalization of American politics. National politics used to be compromise-oriented, but it became a zero-sum moral conflict over national culture and identity. This transition was fueled by the gradual post-civil-rights realignment of the two parties that happened over several decades.
In the past three decades, the Democrat and Republican parties have gained equal electoral strength nationally. The country constantly shifts from a united Democratic government to a divided government to a united Republican government, and that cycle continues. Both parties are seeking that coveted permanent majority and sharpening the distinctions between the parties in order to succeed.
Are There Advantages?
The advantages of this system rely on the assumption that compromise is the best outcome. The two-party system promotes centrism to encourage common positions between political parties, which can lead to political stability and economic growth. However, the current situation shows that people are sacrificing a lot more than what a compromise should look like to avoid a worse outcome. The fact that some liberals are now outwardly acknowledging Biden’s sexual assault allegations, and then continue to hound people to vote for him is something I never thought I would see. This shows the desperation people have come to in order to achieve a two-party-system compromise; a compromise that is clearly not the best outcome. Along with the aforementioned racist past of Biden, the moral avalanche citizens are stuck in is further cemented.
Learning From Others
An easy solution to propose is that everybody mobilizes to a better candidate, and this problem will be fixed. However, this is obviously not possible with the forced commitment to a party that the two-party system has perpetuated. The US’s electoral college system makes it impossible for anybody to affect this situation right now. In short, citizens currently only have two choices. So, I propose a long-term solution by learning from countries like Finland that have eight-party systems; the success shows in their results of top rankings in press freedom, happiness, and quality of life indexes. Even as a global power, the US (the country of freedom) only ranks 35th in press freedom, as well as 19th in happiness and 15th in quality of life. As the US prides itself on being the best role model, they are literally not the best. Maybe learning from their European peers can help, as something like an eight-party system is a reality the founding fathers of the US would be proud of.