Q&A Friday #107: Do We Need More Political Parties?

Question: There should be a Liberal Party. And a Democrat Party. Just like there should be a Conservative Party and a Republican Party. Then you would have to build coalitions in order to get stuff passed, rather than just having two sides that dig in their heels, and then you have “gangs” of small groups that have control over the process. We need at least 4 parties in this country. — Vega – NY’s Smart Sexy Liberal

Answer: There are countries, like Israel for example, that are geared up for that sort of multi-party coalition system. Without multiple parties working together, they can’t control the government.

Our political system simply isn’t built for that. That’s why there has never been a viable third party. Even when the Republican Party replaced the Whigs, it was an almost overnight thing that happened in the space of a couple of election cycles.

You build a viable liberal party and it either insures that less Democrats are elected or it replaces them. You build a viable conservative party and it either insures less Republicans are elected or it replaces them. That’s why third parties are a negative force in American politics.

That’s the nature of the beast and it won’t change without constitutional changes to the way our political system is designed — and let me note, there’s little evidence I’ve seen that a true multi-party system would be superior to the one we currently have.

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