The Two-Party System
The system in America of two parties dominating the political world.
Terms in this set (8)
What is a two-party system?
A party system in which two major parties regularly win the vast majority of votes in general elections, regularly capture nearly all of the seats in the legislature, and alternately control the executive branch of government.
Does the USA have a two-party system?
That the USA does have a two-party system is almost indisputable, but it could be argued that the USA does not have a two-party system, or that at least the picture is rather more complex than the statistics would lead us to believe.
What evidence is there to support this assertion?
1) Every president since 1856 has been either a Democrat or a Republican.
2) In every presidential election since 1916, the combined Democrat and Republican vote has exceeded 80% of the total votes cast.
3) In 21 of those last 25 presidential elections, the combined Democrat and Republican vote has exceeded 90% of the total votes cast, reaching 99% in both 1984 and 1988.
4) In January 2011, every member of the US Senate belonged to one of the two major parties, except Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent) of Vermont, and Senator Joe Lieberman (Independent Democrat) of Connecticut.
5) At the same time, all of the 435 members of the House of Representatives are either Democrats or Republicans.
6) Of the 50 state governors, 49 were either Democrats or Republicans and the one Independent governor - Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island - is a former Republican senator.
Why has this happened?
There are two main reasons why the USA has a two-party system:
1) The first-past-the-post, winner-takes-all electoral system.
2) The all-embracing nature of the two major parties, which allows little room for third parties.
What arguments are there that there is not a two-party system?
There are three main arguments that there is no longer a two-party system:
1) There is a 50-party system.
2) There is a one-party system.
3) There is a no-party system.
What is the 50-party system theory?
Some commentators have suggested that the USA does not have two-party system but a 50-party system. Each individual state has its own party system.
What is the one-party system theory?
Another analysis suggests that some states appear to have a one-party system. In such states, one party dominates to such an extent that the other seems hardly to exist. For example, the Democratic Party dominates Massachusetts. The Republicans have won the state in only one presidential election in the last 50 years, Reagan winning it by just 3,000 votes out of 2.5 million in 1980. In Wyoming, it is the Republicans who, in that same period, have won all bar one presidential election (1964) and dominate the state at all levels.
What is the no-party system theory?
Yet another analysis suggests that, because of the decline in the importance of political parties, the USA might be said to have a no-party system.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...
Poly Sci 1100
Poly Sci 202 Final Study Guide
AP Gov Chapter 8 Test
AP Gov Chapter 8
OTHER SETS BY THIS CREATOR
Personal injury legal glossary (definitions)
Personal injury legal glossary (abbreviations)
Mens Rea: Recklessness
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
Third Parties: Obstacles Facing Third Parties
Presidential Elections: Voting Behaviour
Pressure Groups: Political Significance of Pressure Groups
The Constitution: Principles of the Constitution.