Parties: The Founders’ Worst Nightmare
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:10
Why do we keep political parties? Is it because they provide structure to the electoral process? Is it to simplify the process of identifying like-minded politicians?
The safest answer is that there is no single reason.
Regardless of why they started, they should be retired. The party system prioritizes what is best for the party over what is best for the nation. Instead of deliberation, political parties cause stalemates in our government. It has created a false sense of assurance in candidates elected into office.
The first hurdle of getting elected to office is gathering enough support and funding to actually launch a campaign. Political parties provide voters with a cookie-cutter outline of what voters can generally expect candidates’ views to be, while at the same time giving candidates a pool of assumed votes.
These perks do not come without strings. Incumbents are expected to be loyal to the party by voting along party lines. If you do not prove your loyalty to the party that helped you in the first place, you risk the success of your political career.
For example, someone who hasn’t been a good party member doesn’t get appointed to be the majority leader of the Senate, nor are they nominated to run for the presidency.
Surely loyalty should be rewarded, but this system makes it far too easy to sacrifice the ideal choices for the country in favor of the ideal choices for the party. If parties were to be dissolved, politicians would only be accountable to their constituents, where their loyalties should lie.
The federal government was not originally designed to accommodate political parties. Sadly, political parties did emerge, allowing for a majority faction in Congress.
Where political parties should approach the same goal with different methods, it has evolved into attacking the opposing party. This is not a new occurrence, but it once again shifts attention from the nation as a whole to the survival of political parties.
Today it is almost impossible to push through effective legislation, because no one will negotiate across the aisle. Wouldn’t it be better to have more moving parts than two that are locked in place? It is a risk, but the risk is worth the reward.
Politicians elected on a Democratic or Republican ticket can be expected to vote along party lines. Because of this, the American public has learned to expect certain results. They have become complacent when they should be constantly holding elected officials accountable.
If politicians were under such scrutiny every day as opposed to during the election cycle, only true public servants would run for election. As a result, the American people would be more informed as a whole, because every citizen would have to inform themselves about the candidates and issues. Why must we choose from the lesser of two evils when we have the capability to choose what is best for the country?