Political Parties and the Electoral Process
American Political Parties: Electoral Process
The American political atmosphere has always been dominated by two major political blocks; the democratic and the republican parties. So far, they are not only the most stable political parties but also the oldest ones. The democrats and republicans have the symbols of donkey and elephants respectively, created by Thomas Nast in the 1870s. The two vary on the policy issues they support for instance, one party may have favorable policies that promote free and fair trade while the other may have a not so conducive similar policy but then, it may have a better policy on matters of healthcare services to American (Gelman & King, 1993). The two parties’ dominance have ensured small parties never make it to more influential positions. Even the campaigns have increasingly been expensive for small parties to afford in the quest for more powerful seats.
Ideological differences between the democratic and the republican parties
Democrats and Republicans are based on various ideological differences and mostly are considered to be either center right or center left on different issues. Both parties at times represent the same issue, but the difference occurs on an action plan. Democratic Party may present a different strategy to address a policy issue so is the Republican. From the difference, Americans get the chance to align with the party with the most favorable policy (Abramowitz & Saunders, 1998). Currently, the major ideological differences are based on the Education system, environmental and energy issues, individual liberty, and healthcare.
Both parties suggest a change in the current education system, but both differ on the aspects to be changed. Democrats suggests a more reformist approach where the main issues of the systems are introduced to the education system , while the Republicans present a conservative idea of having programs that are more focused and teaching hours to be increased. Healthcare brings another ideological difference where the Democrats, advocate for more government involvement in healthcare provision to ensure equitable and quality healthcare access (Abramowitz & Saunders, 1998). On the other hand, Republican discourage excessive government involvement for this may surge the cost of accessing healthcare service and compromise on the quality of service.
Environmental and energy issue is also a basis of the democrats and republicans ideological differences. For instance, Democrats seek to protect the environment by restricting drilling and promoting the use of alternative energy sources like solar energy harnessing. On the contrary, the Republican seek to avail cheaper energy forms by supporting drilling to get fossils fuel. Finally of the ideological differences, individual liberty is another platform for democrats and republicans to clash, this is among the recent issue and Democrats individuals need to be protected by hindering enjoyment of some benefits for their own benefits .for instance, the amount of alcohol one should have has to be regulated. On the other end, the Republicans believe on self-responsibility that people have the right to choose what is good and bad for themselves (Abramowitz & Saunders, 1998). The conflict extends to restrictions and support by democrats and Republicans on gay marriage and abortion issues respectively.
Third parties have never won the presidency
Conventionally popular parties stand high chances of winning an election. Democratic and Republican parties are the oldest parties and so far the most popular. The top seats revolve around the two. The two giant parties representative once in power, they have always ensured that people from their block succeeds them (Wattenberg, 1996). This parties does not strain to be recognized in the vast America, all they need is to present a candidate and citizens vet for suitability for the office in question. Third parties are not established, and people have no confidence in them to take a risk with their vote.
The Senate ensures that the two party system is maintained by creating favorable legislative structures (Levitt, 1996). For instance, focusing on the Belgium case when it elected a parliament and had only two parties, the Catholic, and the liberal party. They enjoy political stability irrespective of the ideological differences, but when the socialist party came into active and threating play in the same arena, the leading party which was the Catholic party made legislative changes to ensure the socialist were contained and no space for political instability. Similarly, this happens in the American platforms making it hard for third party contestants for the presidency to keep up with the race and have no choice other than stepping down or choosing from the two options.
The campaign process in maintaining the two-party system
The campaigns in America are increasingly expensive to conductive, and only the established parties will incur less cost on the venture (Gelman & King, 1993). The winning parties which have always been Democratic or Republican have always ensured the endorsement of the next candidate for the desired post earlier before elections to maintain the political supremacy over a long time. This have ensured that only the two parties alternate on the powerful posts. Being on power is a form of cost – effective campaigning, and this can only be managed by the two parties.
In conclusion, Democrats and Republicans are the main parties and an attempt by a third party to the presidency have never materialized which have left America a two-party state.The Senate plays a major role in this system including the expensive campaigns that leaves the two parties undisputed in their dominance over the American political fields.
Abramowitz, A. I., & Saunders, K. L. (1998). Ideological realignment in the US electorate. The Journal of Politics, 60(03), 634-652.
Gelman, A., & King, G. (1993). Why are American presidential election campaign polls so variable when votes are so predictable?. British Journal of Political Science, 23(04), 409-451.
Levitt, S. D. (1996). How do senators vote? Disentangling the role of voter preferences, party affiliation, and senator ideology. The American Economic Review, 425-441.
Wattenberg, B. J. (1996). Values Matter Most: How Democrats or Republicans or a Third Party Can Win and Renew the American Way of Life. Regnery Publishing.