Op-Ed: The Need for Abolishing the Two-Party System

In 2016 the United States saw the lowest voter turnout in 20 years, with only 55 percent of eligible voters showing up to the polls. A portion of these non-voters can be attributed to feelings of voting being insignificant or a general disinterest in politics. However, for many Americans not voting, and even the feelings mentioned before, are because the two-party system limits our options when it comes to candidates. If we want to embrace the true meaning of democracy, the two-party system should be abolished. 

In our current system, voters must choose between two parties when it comes to most elections. While it is true that other parties exist, they do not have the power or eligibility to make it very far in elections, specifically in the presidential elections. This therefore means that the two options become the Democratic party or Republican party. Despite these groups feeling very different, the existence of only the two as options limits America’s ability to utilize a broader political spectrum. 

An important example of where this system fails to meet the desires of all voters is Bernie Sander’s race for the Democratic primary in 2020. This is obviously not to say that more Americans would have voted for Sanders over Trump or Biden in the final race, but rather the fact that Americans were forced to choose between Biden or Sanders when it came to the left. By limiting the options to one from the left and one from right, we are limiting the political spectrum to move beyond the center in general. 

This in turn also creates a false reality about the realities of politicians’ agendas. Right-wing media crucifies political figures such as Sanders and AOC, often referring to them as communists. When you take a look at a political scale as a whole and consider history and the political systems of other countries, this idea is far from the truth. The agendas of Sanders and AOC are significantly closer to Biden than to any communist thinker or leader. In many cases, the media had no problem also referring to Biden as a communist.

It is because of the two-party system and the limited mobility of politicians outside of this very small box, that many Americans so easily associate communism with any suggestion of social programs. This warped perception of how realistically far free healthcare is from “the government picking your job” prevents not only leftist candidates from getting anywhere within mainstream politics, but also discredits these ideas altogether. An American who may decide to support universal healthcare or education if they learned more about it, is likely to dismiss it altogether because it feels so far away from the narrow window of the political spectrum we subscribe to. 

By abolishing the two-party system, Americans would not only be offered options outside of “the lesser of two evils”, but it would also broaden the acceptability of ideologies. Americans are tired of partisanship, with around 38% registered as independents. The current system essentially forces politicians to fit into one of two boxes, limiting America’s ability to move forward when voters are ready to.

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