Should Political Parties Exist

As the title suggests, the question here is about whether political parties should exist. And by no political parties, I don’t mean a dictatorship. I mean everybody runs as an independent.

Pros of having political parties
[li]You can easily group people into ideologies[/li][li]It is easier to decide who to vote for[/li][li]Parties are necessary for a parliamentary system[/li][/ul]

Cons of having political parties
[li]People will often vote by party rather than examining each candidate’s positions[/li][li]It is easier for a large corporation give money to a party than it is to pay every individual candidate[/li][li]People don’t need to belong to a major party to get elected[/li][/ul]

Do you think that there should be political parties?

How do you eliminate parties without curtailing the individual’s right to free speech/assembly?
Can I no longer join an organization that shares my political views? Or say which candidate is most in line with that organization’s views?
At most you could strip the party name from the ballot. Which, depending on what impact that has on requirements to be on the ballot, may actually make it easier for rich people/organizations to put more people who share their views on the ballot since they have more time/money to jump through hoops.

No, but then neither should shingles or halitosis.

These links give examples to think about:


I like the idea of not putting party labels on ballots, as as way of expressing the idea that excessive partisanship should be avoided. Also, I don’t see why party primaries should be conducted at taxpayer expense. However, in a country with freedom of association, I doubt it makes an overwheming difference.

There ya go.

If all the judges and proscutors in this country weren’t political hacks the major parties could be prosecuted under RICO statutes. They sound they like they were written for just that purpose.

Political parties are pretty much inevitable. Just keep in mind that there’s nothing requiring candidates to belong to a party - people can run as independents. But we see the results; party candidates are the ones who win almost all elections. A politician with an organization will almost always beat a politician without one. And that reality is why political parties emerge in the first place.

Political parties shouldn’t exist, but the 1st amendment guarantees their right to exist. I think Washington’s feelings on the issue were that voters should reject candidates from political parties in favor of independents. I’d like to see more independents get elected as well.

But given that people like to vote for political party members, and the 1st amendment, I think the primary battleground for people who would like to reduce party influence on our electoral system is to fight against efforts to pass laws or amend our Constitution in such a way as to formalize the political party system, or informally enhance the power of parties. Campaign finance reform tends to increase the power of parties.

Another thing that can be done, and it was done in a North Carolina county until the administration stepped in under its power to enforce the Civil Rights act, is to remove political party designations from ballots. There is no guarantee in our electoral system for political parties to be on ballots. They should be removed. It should be up to candidates to inform their supporters what party they represent. And if voters don’t know who is who, they will be less likely to cast an uninformed vote.

You do realize, don’t you, that the founders of the U.S. didn’t like the idea of political parties when they were writing the Constitution, and they made no mention of them in it? Some of them even spoke out against the idea of political parties. Despite that, the political system in the U.S. began almost immediately after the founding to organize itself to be dominated by parties. I don’t see any way to stop them from being created:

Would (major) parties still have ballot access, or would all candidates need to qualify by potion like independents do now? Since the primaries would effectively be combined with the general election we’d need to hold runoff elections if nobody gets a majority of the vote. That or just have instant-runoff voting; it’d be cheaper.

They probably should cease to exist because people are gonna vote for the candidate themselves, if they really believe in what they are selling as opposed to the Political party they belong to. But this is not always the case however.

All parties should be treated the same, but that’s a tough nut to crack. Simply getting party affiliation off the ballot is much easier, although still pretty hard given that almost no political party supports it.

I see this from time to time, and I suspect there is a (tacit or explicit) belief underlying the question that parties are teams, and once a voter affiliates in some way with a party he or she is no longer capable of voting his or her conscience. If “democrat” and “republican” were simply nicknames for certain constellations of beliefs I doubt my behavior at the polls would be all that different, except to reflect the different options that would be available to me.

That said, I don’t love the fact that parties are a formal part of the political process, that they’re entrenched the way they are. Their existence may be inevitable, but we don’t have to embrace it.

[quote=“Orcris, post:1, topic:658104”]

[li]It is easier for a large corporation give money to a party than it is to pay every individual candidate[/ul][/li][/QUOTE]

In practice, in the U.S., that does not appear to relieve individual candidates of the burden of fundraising, nor of being indebted to donors.

Political parties not only should exist, they must exist. It is fundamental to human society for people to coalesce together around shared ideas.

How political parties are integrated into government and the electoral process are entirely separate questions.

The simplest solution is to take the vote away from legislators and turn them into policy advocates. Decisions on legislation would be returned by a citizen grand jury selected by random choice (citizens would have choose to put their name in the pool). The legislative advocates would first have to convince a jury panel to address an issue (e.g., do we need a law on this?), then wrangle with a panel (perhaps a different one) on that issue, with some limitations on what the legislators and jurors can do to amend the result. The relevance and authority of parties and lobbyists would be duly mitigated by such a system.

Soft money limits were imposed as part of McCain-Feingold and those limits have not been overturned by any courts.

I’m not a fan of political parties, but I really don’t see any reasonable way that they could be prevented short of a lot of new laws and possibly a constitutional amendment limiting our political freedom. And even if we did get rid of them, we’d end up in a similar situation anyway.

Consider, to be part of a party now, one generally has to support the broader aspects of the party’s platform, and the candidate needs the party to help raise funds and get votes from party loyalists. But if we had no party, we’d just have a series of lobbyist organizations. Imagine instead that politicians, in order to get enough organization and funds to run a campaign at any decent sized level, would have to seek out the support of political groups. We have this already, groups like the NRA, ACLU, PETA, etc., and various corporations, giving money to various parties and certain candidates. Really, it wouldn’t be all that different from what it is now, perhaps a little more variation, but now it’s way more complicated for a voter to learn about a candidate. Sure, I think for the informed voter, the one who researches all the candidates, it is probably a benefit, because they’re not so much forced to follow party lines, but a lot of voters out there just vote for the D or the R, at least represent some amount of a consistent platform across their various candidates, but without parties, we’d see a lot of voters just pick a random organization they support and vote for those people instead, and we could end up with a whole random group of congressmen and senators. And, then, with no majority, to pass legislation, we’d end up with all sorts of strange bedfellows. So, in short, we’d still end up the same sort of effect of political parties, but the results would be far more volatile and unpredictible.

Sure, I’d love it politicians would run on what they believed and got support based on that rather than on political interests, and that voters would research and vote for who among those they really thought was best, and then in their jobs those politicians would be writing and voting for legislation based on what is best for everyone. But short of that utopia, which despite it seeming to be what the founders hoped for and is against human nature, it seems like we’re stuck with parties.

I don’t see a way to avoid it. Even if you got rid of parties during the electoral process, the legislators will still have to form quid pro quo voting “teams” in order to get any bills passed. In practice, these would look a lot like the parties we have today.

Quite. I understand that the framers of the US constitution went to some lengths, ultimately fruitless, to avoid having political parties. The thing is, back here in the UK our political parties have almost no constitutional status. They are are just groups of vaguely like-minded people who organise into groups for reasons of efficiency and economy of scale. Members of these parties trade a little sincerity in their politics for the larger benefit of having the backing of a party machine.

Yes, but in the UK can’t party members be compelled to vote with their party? And can’t they also be booted from the party? In the US, parties have no such power.