Write About How Political Parties Lead To Polarization In The U.S American Politics Political Science Essay

1989 words - 8 pages

Political parties and polarization
It is hard to imagine the United States without its two major parties, the Democratic Party, and
the Republican Party. For most of us, our affiliation with one of the parties has become an
essential part of our identity. A new survey from the Pew Research Center has found that ​Almost
2 in 3 Democrats (64%) and more than half of Republicans (55%) say they have "just a few" or
"none" close friends from the opposite party (Struyk, 2017). This is the product of years of
polarization between the two parties. While the existence of political parties seems quite natural
to us, our founding fathers were for the most part, against the idea of factions and political
parties. They ​wanted to avoid the divisions that had ripped England apart in the bloody civil wars
of the 17th century. Many of them saw parties as corrupt relics of the monarchical British system
that they wanted to discard in favor of a truly democratic government. (Pruitt, 2018)
If the founding fathers didn't want this country to be run by political parties, How did we
end up in a situation where on one hand, we are so polarized and hateful towards people from the
other party, and on the other hand about 40% of Americans identify as independents and don't
want anything to do with either one of the two parties? (Jones, 2018)
Most people in the country feel like the two parties that are suppoed to represent their ideology,
dont work for them anymore and they are pushed to find alternatives from within the system.
In order to answer this complex question more specifically, we first must examine what a party is
and why it exists in the first place. Put very simply, a political party is an organized group of
people who come together to contest elections and hold power in government. While attempting
1
to gain that power in government there is a lot of different tactics and strategy resulting in a very
complex system. ​Parties produce candidates, platforms, and policies and voters consume them by
exchanging votes. The party is in a state of equilibrium when it conveys meaning to voters and
the voters in turn vote for the party that conveys the most meaning to them.
​We can assume that if a political party is formed and maintained over time, it has an
important function or it exists to solve a certain set of problems. John Aldrich in his book ​Why
Parties? ​Identifies 3 major problems that ​politicians believe current institutional arrangements
cannot solve and all forms of parties can:
1. When there are many candidates who are from the same ideological camp and are seeking
office they could lead to a split vote and give the office to a candidate from another ideological
camp. The party regulates competition in a democratic system by choos ing to whom to give a
platform and resources and thus who gets into office to advance their ideas.
2. Parties are institutions designed to promote the achievement of collective choices. There are
stability and unity within...

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