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Agree or disagree with the following statement and give a reasoned support for your...

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cllawrence | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:07 PM via web

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Agree or disagree with the following statement and give a reasoned support for your opinion: “The U.S. suffers from a lack of diversity because there are only two major political parties. A greater number of parties is needed to reflect a wider spectrum of political ideology.”

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:20 PM (Answer #1)

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While I agree with this statement to some degree, on balance I do not agree with it.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Let us look at the two most important of these.

First, it is not clear that we suffer from a lack of ideological diversity because of the two-party system.  It is just as likely that we have two parties because we do not have much in the way of extreme ideologies.  America has generally been a rather centrist country.  We do not have as many of the sorts of fringe ideologies that are found in European countries with their longer histories and their aristocratic pasts.  It is not clear, for example, that the ideology of the “Tea Party” is sufficiently different from that of the Republican Party to make enough “space” to accommodate both of them.

Second, this statement implies that having more political parties would be a good thing for our country.  This does not seem likely to be true.  I would argue that our country is splintered enough as it is.  If we had more parties, we would have less of a reason to come together and to seek compromise.  Smaller parties would likely arise around single issues like abortion or gun control or the environment and these parties would have less reason to compromise with one another.

If we want ideological purity, perhaps more parties would be good (if there truly is enough ideological diversity in the US).  However, I would argue that ideological purity is bad for the country.

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