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How would the United States Congress be different if three or four parties were represented there?

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If there were more parties, it would be harder for any one party to exert control.  Majority would not be a matter of getting a few more seats for your party.  Therefore, I agree with post 5 that alliances and negotiation would be necessary.  There might even be more focus...

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on the issues and lesson on the party line!

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It would force the body to compromise, as now there is always one party in control of Congress.  I like the idea, sort of like a Parliament, in that, with a large society like ours, minority beliefs and interests could still be heard, and not always ruled over by the majority.  I also think Congress would get more done than it does now.

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Multiple political parties in the American Congress would certainly open the door for numerous alliances and coalitions that currently are not workable. For example, the Blue Dog Democrats are conservatives who differ strongly with their party's national leadership. As a result, if they enter into alliances with like-minded Republicans, they are subject to the disapproval of the DNC, which means at election time they become less favored financially.

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This is a great question as it forces us to consider the potential limitations of having a dominant two-party political system. Having more credible parties would, as #2 suggests, encourage working together and alliances, rather than the "trench warfare" between the Republicans and the Democrats. It would also hopefully encourage a healthier political system by giving choice and allowing party lines to be broken down.

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The chief difference between the current two-party system and a multiparty system in Congress would be that the leadership positions in Congress would have to change.  The Speaker of the House, who has significant influence over which bills make it out of committee and on to the House floor for debate and vote, is always a member of the majority party. In the Senate, it is the Senate Majority Leader who controls the flow of legislation from the committees to the Senate floor.

In a multiparty system, the different parties would also have to work harder to come to consensus with each other in order to assemble a majority vote on each bill.  This would probably lead to more dialogue and compromise, but also slow down the legislative process for that dialogue to occur.

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I think that one difference would be that there could exist a greater potential for alliances and coalitions formed between the parties.  In the current system, even though there might not exist a huge practical difference between Democrats and Republicans, there is little chance of bipartisanship because of what it would cost politically.  Both parties end up defining themselves in the most oppositional of terms.  If we had multiple parties in our legislature, there could be a greater chance of collaboration and cooperation present because of simple math.  If each party refused to work with the other, the lack of a sizable majority would play a significant role in stopping all legislation would compel legitimate attempts to reach across the aisles and force cooperation and coalitions to be formed.  I think that this would be a significant difference in our congressional makeup with the legitimate presence of multiple parties.

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How would the United States Congress be different if three or four parties were to be represented there?

The answer to this would depend in large part on how many seats were held by the one or two small parties other than the Republicans and the Democrats.  If those parties held enough seats, the workings of Congress might be somewhat different.

The basic framework of Congress might or might not remain as is.  In our current system, the Speaker of the House, for example, is chosen by a vote of the members that always goes on strict party lines.  If no party held a majority of the seats, this system might be disrupted.  If all the parties simply voted for their own leaders, there would be no change as the party with the most votes would win.  But it might happen differently.

Let's assume the Democrats (as they are now) were in the minority in the House.  They might make a deal with one of the smaller parties in which the smaller party would vote for the Democratic leaders in exchange for certain concessions.  At this point, we would have a coalition government in the House where the Democratic Party had to be attentive to the needs of the other party.

In practice, however, this might not be such a big change.  Right now, there are factions within parties that have to coexist.  The freshmen members of the House Republican Caucus are said to be very ideologically different than the leadership.  This means that the House leadership is already having to be attentive to the needs of a bloc of members whose views are different from their own.  When looked at in this way, the presence of smaller parties might not actually make any difference at all.

All this is to say that it is hard to know if there would be any really important differences if we were to move to a situation in which more parties were represented in Congress.

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