Two Party System

The Politics of Seeking Power and Electing
Not the Politics of Doing the Right Thing

Recently I visited a blog ( in which a Democrat was posting to a predominately Republican blog and lamenting Bloomberg and the possibility of his running.

I have scoffed at this possibility of it becoming a serious threat to our two-party system or this race, but have since changed my mind.

A threat to “our” two-party system is a threat to the consolidation of power; the two major parties might become marginalized. A two party system isn’t something the constitution explicitly empowers. The constitution would be of very poor construction if it did (the Republican Party did not exist until the mid 19th century!). The comment though (which was favorably received by at least some) shows that there is concern over the “system” remaining.

I am convinced “the system” is inherently bad. The system works to concentrate power in two groups, and those groups are not there for a particular reason other than to elect candidates. One of my friends, who is active in national level politics, said: “You have to remember that the Republican Party is not about any issue or cause [like the Democrats] it is about electing candidates.” Both parties then do not stand for anything. They have traditional supporters to whom they bend and sway.

Historically, this seems to be the case as well. There are very few times when a major third party arises; i.e., when a third party can get someone elected to a national office. What appears to happen is some issue will arise, and the major parties adapt to engulf one or the other side of the issue. What that leaves us with is a system that has two groups that fight each other, with neither group being of any particular ideology. Certainly there is some inertia in what party is on what side of an issue. But even then, sometimes things get complicated. For instance, the Democrats have historically been in favor of large government, it was the Republicans that started the No Child Left Behind act which dramatically increased the intrusion of the federal government into education (which is not within the federal government’s charter, the U.S. Constitution).