What are some problems with two-party political systems?

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One major issue of two-party political systems is that they can be quite difficult to break out of. A good example of this would be within the United States. The domineering presence of the two major parties drastically decreases the opportunities for smaller parties, such as the Libertarian Party or the Green Party, to gain substantial traction. In a two-party system, voters are essentially throwing their votes away if they support these parties, which creates a cycle in which smaller parties struggle to grow because their growth is seen as so improbable.

Another issue of a two-party political system is that it disadvantages the political opportunities for politicians who identify themselves as independents. Look to a figure such as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Though he may caucus with the Democrats and is recorded to vote with Democrats consistently, his status as an Independent rather than a Democrat has been continually criticized throughout his past and current campaigns to be the Democratic nominee for President. Though many question why an Independent would run to be the Democratic nominee, the answer to that question shows why there is a profound issue with only having two major political parties in any given country.

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One problem with two-party political systems is they tend to polarize the parties to the left or right. Therefore, there is no middle ground party for voters that offer policies which combine the best ideas of the left and right parties. The middle ground party would be an obvious different choice when stacked against the right or left party.

On the other hand, sometimes the two-party system causes both parties to gravitate towards the center in their policies and platforms. Consequently, they become almost indistinguishable from each other and do not leave voters a clear choice based on definite differences in ideology. In this case, there's a need for two or three, or even four more parties to offer abundant choice to voters.

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There are at least two major problems with a two-party system.

First, this sort of a system penalizes people who have views that are outside the middle of the political spectrum.  With only two parties, the two parties tend to try to move to the middle to capture the most possible voters.  This means that the people farther out on the political spectrum don't really get represented.

Second, it becomes very hard to know what people are voting for in a two-party system.  Let's say I vote for a Republican in the United States.  Am I voting that way because I oppose abortion and gay marriage?  Or am I voting that way because I want smaller government and lower taxes?  Or am I voting that way because I want a strong military?  With just two parties, it is hard to know why any given voter votes for a particular party.  This means it is harder to know what the public really wants.

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