America’s toxic two party system

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America’s toxic two party system

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Forced to choose sides in a battle between evil and horrible, American voter options are limited in the voting booth. The easiest approach to most voters in this situation is to pick an option that we don’t like or to not vote at all.

We are a nation divided. To fix this divide, we need to begin addressing the problems that have cut America in half. Enough of the two party system, give us more options.

Intertwined with our culture forever, America’s favored two party system allows the Democrats and Republicans to take the stage, leaving other parties that are less extreme out of the limelight. These two major parties hogged the previous presidential election popular vote, Democrats taking 48.25 percent and  Republicans 46.15 percent according to Pew Research.

Both parties will be the first to say that we have a multitude of political parties, which isn’t a lie. However, our system doesn’t allow these parties to succeed. Our electoral system simply blocks the chance. America established a winner take all kind of electing system, with origins from British colonialism. Voting for someone from a party different than the two major parties just wastes a vote, leaving Americans dissatisfied with the lesser of two evils.

Take Howard Shultz, former CEO of Starbuck’s, as a prime example. Democrats crushed him for a speculated 2020 run, suggesting he would steal independent voters.

Interestingly, the Pew Research Center found in early 2014 that about half of the younger generation did not identify with Democrats or Republicans.

Half of an uprising voting group can either throw their vote away or pick someone who does not represent them at all. Most voters probably could not cite a party’s candidate that is not from the two major parties. This is not an international issue, either. Other nation’s political leaders have already thought of the voters first.

Germany is an example.

The German system allows other parties to flourish, while also making sure that neo-fascist parties are put at a disadvantage. Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, are chosen by German citizens in a process of two votes. The first vote, similar to America’s, is casted for an official to represent a specific electoral district. The second vote holds the power.

Members of the Bundestag are chosen through a process in which each German citizen has two votes. The first vote, as in the U.S., is cast for an individual person to represent a specific electoral district. The second—and ultimately more influential—vote is cast directly for a political party and determines the overall party composition of government. If a party gets less than 5 percent it is excluded from being represented in parliament.

Even though it’s easy to point fingers at our politicians, the blame is partially on the voters themselves. Americans are lazy about researching opposing political views or politicians. We also have a hard time deciphering real news from fake.

According to Forbes, 75 percent of people believed that fake headlines were “somewhat” or “very” accurate.

This misinformation means that voters get information from one source, and then head straight to the polls. According to Pew Research Center, 57 percent of Americans get their news from the television. When it comes to television, it is a big money game.

For politicians to advertise and campaign, they need money. While most political parties have money, there are some parties that can’t get government funding. The nominee for the party “must raise more than $5,000 in each of at least 20 states,” according to the Federal Election Commision. That number is puny to Republicans and Democrats, who have been major parties for years. However, when it comes to the smaller groups who want to show the country their views, they are shut out of political funding from the public.

We, the upcoming voters, can begin to solve this problem.

Before you make the vote, research your candidates.  Check out the other parties where the views and policies aren’t as radical or picked more to your benefit. Plenty of online sources allow you to figure out your alignment on the political compass, and sites, like, that let you see candidates policies on issues that are important.

The first step to making a change is to be the change you want to see. Once America’s youth accomplishes that, the toxic two party system will be a problem of the past.