Amend partisan politics

Political parties damage political climate in United States


Zach Lara, Acalanes High School

Political parties are an aspect of modern American democracy undefined by the Constitution, condemned by the founders of America, and the cause of mass political disunion throughout American history. They’re a recipe for disaster, yet political factions have ravaged the political climate of the United States since the birth of our nation. It is time to reunite, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as American people.

America created political parties on the grounds of establishing a foundation for the free and just democracy of our newborn nation; founding fathers introduced the two-party system in the dispute over the Constitution of 1787.

However, despite any mention in the Constitution, political parties quickly became an essential component of American politics. Americans adopted this strategy of political division to solve issues; the thought was to equally represent both sides of each argument based on generalized political beliefs. Contrary to the goal, this pursuit of organizing common interest gradually transpired into the unhealthy, fiery, and frankly intolerable contest that rules politics today. Political parties urged an ever-increasing divide between Americans throughout U.S. history, and it’s apparent what a massive mistake these factions were.

Everyone has diverse and individual opinions, and it’s simply unfair to generalize these into two parties. The Democrats and Republicans have unchangeable stances on every issue, but even if you disagree with either side, there is pressure to align with one. It’s a ridiculous system, but our country has cultivated and ingrained this practice into voters’ minds for generations.

Take presidential elections; political parties make these elections a twisted game for politicians, and they’ve played the same game for years. First, candidates must align with Democrats or Republicans. Then, they bash the other party, looking for citizens’ support, and, for bonus points, lie about your beliefs and pull quick 180s to secure the popular vote. Oh, you’re a third-party candidate? Good luck! Since 1920, only four third party candidates have won a single electoral vote in presidential elections.

There are two major issues: The common strategy of antagonizing the other party directly encourages Americans to straight-up hate each other based on political affiliation, and the two-party system suppresses third parties and their candidates.

During the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump viciously pitted each other’s supporters against one another. To a Hillary supporter, a simple MAGA bumper sticker could immediately portray someone as ignorant, stupid, and ultimately the enemy, even if they don’t know anything else about that person. This political strategy tears human relationships apart.  

   The two-party system, by its very nature, limits the potential for outside voices to succeed. Other parties are consistently overpowered by Democrats and Republicans because the majority of Americans align with one of two major parties, so the votes that third parties receive equate to almost nothing. Consequently, lesser parties vanish within a few stages of each election.

   Even if outside parties stood to combat the two-party monopoly in American politics, they would either overtake a current party or simply add another group to the mix, only further complicating the separation among Americans. 

   It’s essential to prioritize national interest. Americans need to set aside partisan differences in favor of the wellbeing of our country. It’s natural and necessary to form coalitions based on similar beliefs if only to be heard, but the issue resides in the division, attitudes, and mass generalizations that two parties promote.

   We must tear down our reliance on partisan affiliation to define ourselves’ and others’ beliefs. Fortunately, Americans are beginning to accept this. More Americans register as independent each year. 

In early August data from Gallup, 26 percent of participants identified as Republican, 31 percent as Democratic, and 41 percent as Independent. This trend, tracked since 2004, reveals a gradual increase in independent affiliation.  

Independents believe if you don’t agree with everything a party stands for, then erase your association with them. Why limit your opinions to your party when you can embrace your own beliefs?

People often question the point of taking an unpopular stance because of the unlikelihood that they will ever win any major election, but the solution is convincing enough Americans to commit to change.

As a voter, stand by your beliefs, choose independence, and accept people for individual beliefs and not their parties.

As a politician, present your opinions, not your parties, and gather supporters that agree with you, not your party. Stop promoting ridiculous strategies of lies and deception that corrupt our country and political offices.

Together we can change the system to accommodate a less aggressive and oppressive partisan system, one that does not divide Americans but instead unites them under a nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.