Most of us have probably heard that George Washington warned Americans about the dangers of political parties, and advised people not to form them. But would it really be possible, in a government structured like that of the United States, to not have political parties? Are they just unavoidable?
In my opinion, a representative democracy will always end up using a party system. If you have a group of legislators who share the same general political philosophy, there are many advantages to having them band together and form a party.
Recognition: If you form a party, it makes it easier for people to know where the candidates stand. This comes in extremely handy during elections (think about the millions of Americans who vote along party lines).
Power: It is easier for a well organized party to rally the necessary number of votes to pass a piece of legislation.
Campaigning: The most famous members of a party can help draw attention to other candidates during a campaign. They can also help with fundraising.
Media attention: The major parties can create much larger media events than individual candidates can.
Short of an outright ban on political parties I think they are a foregone conclusion in any democratic system of government for many of the reasons mentioned in the OP. I stipulate democracies because I think that while many other forms fo government may also generate opposing parties they tend to be crushed before they get going (ala communism or fascism).
Even if you put an outright ban on political parties in the US you’d still probably get them anyway. Citizens would band together to push their guy. The candidates just wouldn’t be listed on a ticket one way or another. How you could stop private citizens from doing this and still call yourself a democracy I have no idea.
As a result I think political parties are an inseparable part of any democracy.
This is the whole idea isn’t it? If a group of citizens would band together to push their guy to represent them in Washington, this is the whole idea behind representative democracy.
Today, your average American has only one of two choices of candidates. Each with a pre-set agenda determined by two powerful political parties funded by big business.
You can see why the voter turn out is so low in the US. The two party system in effect means that the politician elected does not so much represent the group of citizens whom elected him/her but rather the politician represents the party who funded and ran his/her election campaign successfully to victory.
Where is the democracy in that? Am I the only one who feels that this is unacceptable? American’s have become so brain washed that they really believe they are living in a real democracy. It’s amazing what some flag waving commercials pumping up patriotic pride does to an individual. It’s like blinders on a horse. Creates some sort of tunnel vision so you can’t see or choose not to see what is so blatantly in front of you.
Before somebody brings up the forefathers bit, believe me, Washington and Jefferson would be turning their stomachs if they could see what has happened to their nation.
But I didn’t know JACK! [list]