The Limitations of the Two Party System

It often seems as though the Republican and Democratic Parties are the only option when it comes to Presidential Elections. Alternative parties are rarely mentioned in the mainstream media and people who vote for them are often chastised for “throwing their vote away.” Perhaps the most recent example comes from the 2000 election, when many Democrats accused those who voted for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader of throwing the Presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. Democrats asserted that if Nader’s majority left-leaning supporters had been more reasonable, they would have voted for the Democratic ticket and Gore would have easily won Florida and thus the Presidency.

While it may be true that alternative parties have little chance of winning within the framework of the current system, I believe that a fundamental aspect of citizenship is voting for what you believe, even if that means voting for a candidate who is not a Democrat or Republican. As we learned in class, Democracy only works when a broad spectrum of interests are considered. I believe that an essential element of government and policymaking is lost if only two sides of a multifaceted argument are heard. It is my opinion that by voting for an alternative party, an individual is not “throwing their vote away” but is instead demonstrating displeasure with the limited two party system and voicing their opinion that the country deserves better.

While I realize that Obama and Romney are the only candidates with a realistic chance of winning the Presidency, I refuse to vote for anyone other than whom I believe is most fit to be President. For this reason, I plan cast my vote in the 2012 Presidential Election for the Green Party Ticket consisting of Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala.

For those who don’t know much about the Green Party, their platform centers around the beliefs that environmental issues must be addressed swiftly and that corporations should be excluded from Politics. To accomplish these goals, they promise to push legislation that would limit corporate influence and propose a “Green New Deal” designed to drastically increase investment in the renewable energy sector. A video summarizing the Stein-Honkala platform can be watched here:!

Evan Tolley


About rowlanda12

This is a blog about the 2012 presidential election. Content is generated by students in Professor Heldman's Politics 101 class. She does not necessarily endorse the views expressed here.
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One Response to The Limitations of the Two Party System

  1. Rev. Ed Bolella says:

    The problem is our arcane system of voting and the process for getting candidates on the ballot or ballot positioning laws done state by state, even county by county. This is combined with the failure to have any substantive campaign finance reform. The argument to keep third parties out of the debate is they do not garnish enough votes. Open the debates, standardize candidate media access, and you will see the change that allows other voices to garnish more of the vote. As far as voting for other parties, why not vote your conscience?

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