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Does America Need More Political Parties?

When Gallup asked the public in 2003 whether America needed a third party, a majority opposed the idea. But asked again in 2007, the majority of both Democrats and Republicans, seemingly unsatisfied with the two-party system, welcomed more parties.

Well again this year, Americans have changed their minds. A majority of Democrats, 56 percent, and Republicans, 55 percent, think the two major parties are doing an adequate job and thus there is no need for another party to compete with them. Even though liberals support third parties the most at 51 percent, fewer liberals support third parties since the survey began five years ago. As for Independents, 63 percent want more parties . . . maybe the rest like being unrepresented?

The two-party system can add to adversarial undertones in the US — if you're a Democrat or Republican, every leader is either for or against you. In fact, every affiliated person you meet is either on your team or the enemy. Perhaps multiple parties would simply lead to a more harmonious society. And of course, those with views that do not match those of the major parties would welcome competition, too.


Join The Conversation
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
I'd like to know how, in good conscience, someone could vote for either of the two offerings from this one party system.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
you're right dave! :) i'd be a part of the "militant-feminist-anti-burning-man-environmentalist-car-owner" party.
coachluvr33 coachluvr33 8 years
I used to be Democrat until this year and now I am independent(non-partisan) There needs to be more choices. Democrats and Republicans are not what they used to be and they don't stand for what they used to.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
My other problem with multiple parties is that, like with cable TV, issues can be compartmentalized. Instead of being a conservative, I could be a member of the "protestant pro-life no voice for women" party. ;)
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
On the one hand, I think it would be beneficial to have more than just the two parties, that way people would have a better chance of identifying with a particular party. But on the other hand, and I know this might be a generalization, if we had 4 parties, and one party won by SLIGHT majority, wouldn't it mean that only slightly more than 1/4 of the population is represented? Which wouldn't be a true majority?
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that with the way that parties have evolved lately, there's so much gray area that i can't imagine how adding more would really help out. i think that there's a blurring of the lines on who believes in what - there's really nothing like liberal or conservative anymore - not for a major portion of america it seems.
Meike Meike 8 years
Duh. Yes. Otherwise, America will remain the pseudo-democracy it currently is now with only a 2-party system. It would actually be nice to vote independently for the party I agree the most with and have that vote mean something.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
HELL YES. if nader/gonzales and other candidates had been in the debates america would actually get to hear some of what's really going on in the world rather than the corporate crap that we keep having shoved down our throats.
kikidawn kikidawn 8 years
"I have noticed a lot of people saying that if they don't like either candidate, why bother?" I overheard a girl in one of my classes talking and she said she wasn't going to vote. I asked her why and that was her reason. She doesn't feel strongly about either one so she is not going to vote. I surprised and a little appalled. And yeah I think there should be other parties.
meumitsuki meumitsuki 8 years
Jefferson warned that the two party system would be our downfall and I think he might be right.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Isn't that what a two party system is supposed to do, when both sides aren't in the tank to special interests (Bring both sides to the middle through compromise)?
sushibananas sushibananas 8 years
There's just got to be a happy medium somewhere. The best of both!
apothecary06 apothecary06 8 years
I really like the idea - it would dispel the notion that if you're not one thing, you must be the other. So many recent elections have become about electing the lesser evil, rather than voting for a candidate you believe in. This could increase voter turnout and overall involvement - under the current system, I have noticed a lot of people saying that if they don't like either candidate, why bother? When more people take that stance, it is a sign that this system, intended as a democracy, isn't very democratic in practice.
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
The system at present benefits nobody but the two parties at hand. For America to be as big as it is, with only 2 major parties is a disservice to its own population and very unfortunate.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I don't think having a 3rd party is going to eliminate the adversarial nature of politics. To change that, we need to change the attitude that no one else has a good idea, and our idea is the only way that works. Fortunately for the GOP, they are correct. ;)
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
I like the point that it would cut down on the adversarial nature of the system, if it's not just "us" and "them" perhaps more would get done. I'm perfectly happy being a democrat now, but I was an independent up until a couple years ago, and I'd always loved Nader... I think the us/them mentality has become apparently this election. I mean, you mention "arugula" and you think democrat, you mention hockey or anti-choice, you think republican, and people are just so much more complex than that. It's really become a polarizing system where people are just put into boxes!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I read the Gallup site and the question they ask isn't "Does America need more political parties?" The question is whether the 2 major parties are doing an "adequate job". Who wants adequate? Not me.
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 8 years
YES!! I am so so sick of the 2 party system, the two parties are both motivated by money anyway so they are not that different. I think that there should be greater representation of other political parties, but sadly, again, it all comes back to money. Ugh.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
I don't know many people who a completely Republican or completely Democrat. Most are either somewhere between the two parties or variations of a party. These parties simply don't represent all of America anymore. I think a three or four party system would be best.
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