The evil of political parties
Views 28 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 4 - 2017 | By: Grant Gardner
In his farewell address, George Washington warned of the dangers of political parties: “they will likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines… to subvert the power of the people.” Not only do political parties present opportunities for manipulation and corruption, but also allow voters to be uninformed about candidates’ individual values by simply toeing the party line.
People are put into positions of power because of the hostile divider known as the Democratic and Republican parties. For instance, reflect on how you voted this fall. Did you vote knowledgeably for each candidate, or did you just check the party vote box? Through voting by party, you most likely supported candidates for obscure positions like Railroad Commissioner without any idea of who they were. They received your vote because of their party affiliation.
This action exposes the flaws of our current system. It has moved from supporting candidates based on merit to a rivalry, in which it is more about not allowing opposing leaders to win than putting the best people in office. Voting by party line also allows voters to be lazy and uninformed. If there were no political affiliations, voters would be forced to learn about who is running to ensure they support the candidates who best align with their values. The uninformed voter would become a thing of the past.
The real danger of political parties lies in the degrading of our political system and the basis of a radical social shift. As a nation, we have become more polarized because of politics. Whenever positive things happen, there are a flurry of statements issued and tweets from leaders claiming credit. However, when things go wrong, everyone is quick to blast their opponents and label them as the cause.
Take mass shootings in the US- when one occurs, Democrats jump out with their tagline clamoring for “common sense” gun control. Republicans do the inverse, advocating for less restriction and putting more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Both sides blame the other as the cause.
Perhaps the biggest change that would occur without political parties would be within Congress. There are so many instances in which votes are completely dependent on party lines. Gorsuch’s nomination, for example, is questionable because the Republicans need eight Democrats to support him. How many Democrats and Republicans would change their vote if they did not fear backlash from their parties? This applies to every legislative act voted upon in Congress. It is impossible to evaluate the impact because it has existed for the last two hundred years.
The political system of America would be completely revolutionized without the influence of political parties. Candidates would be forced to vocalize more policy issues and take positions of substance, rather than engage in endless party rhetoric against their opponents. This past election cycle was a perfect example of why the two-party system needs to be abolished. Rather than promoting policies, it became a running joke of rhetoric. It is time to do away with the parties that allow unqualified candidates to have success.