The Constitution has nothing to say about political parties. Nowhere does it define political parties or explicitly specify that there should be two dominant parties. Nevertheless, America has had a strong two party system for last 150 years, a degree of party stability and endurance that can be found in no other nation (Landy and Milkis, 451). This system of two dominant parties has both its advantages and its drawbacks, the same as any system will. The two strong parties simplify and stabilize American politics from both the citizens’ and the politicians’ point of view and allow for government to be unified across the separation of powers built into the Constitution (Romance, July 22). The competition between the parties usually means that such unification will be fairly rare and that without it, policy changes will be forced to proceed slowly (July 22). This can be seen as either a pro or a con of the system depending on one’s beliefs about the proper role of government. The two party system, while not originally an intentional facet of the American governmental system, is now an integral component of that system and has several important effects on the shape of political opinion and the course of electoral politics.
A political party is “any group, no matter how loosely defined, seeking to elect government office holders under a given label” (Romance, July 22). The ideology of the party is secondary to that goal and subject to change over time (July 22). The goal remains the same, to collect political power by electing office holders under the party name (July 22). The concept is a simple one of political alliance and power in numbers, and while it seems ...
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...the parties and in some ways weakening them. The parties used and continue to use their political power to present candidates and influence voter decisions and the electoral process, itself. Through over 150 years of development and changes these two parties have steadily remained the two biggest shapers of American politics. They are present at nearly every level of government and prominently affect nearly every aspect of politics. Though individual voter partisanship is declining, America as a nation often still remains cleanly split along party lines. America’s political parties are undoubtedly an integral component of the country’s politics.
Landy, Marc and Sidney M. Milkis. American Government: Balancing Democracy and Rights. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2004.
Romance, Joseph. Political Science 6 class lectures. Drew University, Summer 2004.
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