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Problems with the American Political System

By Edited Sep 27, 2015 0 1

Today the world of politics has become a labyrinth of sorts. The American political system is one that represents the labyrinth the best. The political system currently in effect in USA has been there for the majority of the country’s history. The representatives and the parties may have changed but the problems associated with the two-party system remains. There may be some benefits but the problems outweigh them. The current two party systems used in USA is hindering the progress that could be achieved by creating political deadlocks, party politics and the voter’s powerless state.

Firstly, the political deadlock that occurs when the parties do not control the house and the senate and the presidency is a pitfall in the system. This problem is unique to the American system, the British system works in the way that the majority party in the house elects the prime minister to the seat. This problem does damage to the trust placed on government as the government cannot seem to agree to pass anything such as an immigration bill or healthcare bill which subsequently leads to problems in the life of the citizens of America. One such example is the Clinton administration was less effective in the last six years and they could not actively pursue their agenda as they had lost the democrat majority in the house. Due to the partisan politics in USA compromise on key issues rarely happens. And the filibuster majority in the senate is 60-40 but it is unlikely that a majority party can maintain it so bills need to be scrapped as neither party compromises. The healthcare bill by Barack Obama is a key example. As they could not pass the bill with a 60-40 majority they had to use ‘reconciliation’ to pass it which means only 51-49 majority is needed. Parties fighting and time wasting had an adverse effect on the people of America as time is wasted and key issues are swept under the carpet. This can be seen in the case of health care reform, this has been a struggle for a long period of time and it took America over 200 years to orchestrate comprehensive reform. Tug of war between parties occurs in any country but no country should allow that to grow to be a larger concern than the welfare of the citizens.

Secondly, the system has become ineffective as the welfare of the party has become a larger concern than the welfare of the citizens. The politicians act on the basis of partisanship and do what is good for their party; if they go beyond that they get mocked by the media by the likes of Rush Limbaugh. The stimulus package by Bush was supported by the GOP but the stimulus package by Obama was frowned upon by the same party and the only Republican to vote for it was mocked by the republicans and the media. The healthcare bill drafted by Clinton and Obama which was to help the uninsured was met with controversy even when it was good for the people. Both parties ran on the basis of reforming Wall Street in the fall of 2008 but now only three republicans voted with the democrats to reform Wall Street as it would be “good for the party” not to. This type of politics has been in play for a long time because of the voters’ loss of power.      

Thirdly, the reason this problematic system has been allowed to flourish is because voters have become powerless to influence the system and orchestrate change. Even the voters know that, that is why the voter turnout is very low in elections (hovering around half the eligible voters). Voters are getting more and distrustful of the government and how it is run but they cannot change. Whether they vote for the GOP or the Democrats does not seem to matter anymore.  Voters are disgusted with elections as it became popularity contest as a result of mass media and Gallop poles. A December 2007 poll shows that the voters know the system is broken as “47% of those surveyed felt that the two-party system “has real problems,” while another 29% felt that the system was “seriously broken. ”” (Web)They may be able to vote for their candidate but voting has become basically the choice of the lesser of two evils. They also have the choice for voting for the third parties but the third parties have been ineffective at changing the system due to the hurdles they meet. The hurdles met by third party led to the success of the two party systems and have led to the powerless voters. Even getting their name on the ballot requires more signatures than the two main parties. Third parties funding problems also is a major issue as it is expensive and no federal funding gets allocated until the third party gets 5% of popular vote. (Web) And even if the voters voted for the third party candidate the third party would be forced to align with a party to pass things through the house and the senate so reviving the broken two party system.


It can be seen that the current two party systems used in USA is hindering the progress that could be achieved. There are a lot of problems that have risen from this system and little benefits. There is a lot of room for improvement and USA should try to gradually reform their system as it is unbecoming of their nation to have such a broken political system. The political deadlock creates a bad image of the government that has influence all over the world. The party politics is a setback which should be changed.  The voters should also be given more power in the government. All these problems have a solution and require urgent fixing to ensure the prosperity of the US remains for many years to come.



Apr 11, 2011 9:23pm
Interesting insight, not sure I agree but it's nice to read your point of view.
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