Drake: Two-party dominance leaves American politics stagnant, restrictive

The Republican Party is well on its way toward the final decision for a presidential candidate. In just a few months, the entire nation will be the captive audience to the traditional faceoff between republicans and democrats. If only that weren’t the case. The allegedly multiparty political system of America fell into an unofficial two-party system long before now.

Those who believe in the existence of an American multiparty system cite the existence of the Tea Party, Green Party, libertarians, socialists and scores of other small factions as proof. Let’s be honest – how much credence is actually given to any of these parties?

Admittedly, tea partyers have garnered a fairly heavy following since their rise in the political world in 2009. In late 2011, the movement made noise over businessman Herman Cain as a possible candidate they would endorse, but since then they have faded from the radar. Little has been heard from any of the other parties.

Consider the political composition of the Senate and the House of Representatives. How often do you hear of this senator or that representative, clarified immediately as republican or democrat? How often is any third party recognized as such? To the former, I hope most people would agree this happens often – to the latter, rarely if at all.

The American political system has become dependent on our two major parties, while any other third parties are nominal at best.

There is a degree of validity attributed to any politician once declared to be a part of one party or the other. Further, aligning oneself with either party assigns a corresponding belief system that may or may not be true on an individual basis.

Third parties do not possess the same level of intrinsic beliefs, values or authority in their name alone. They are at a distinct disadvantage.

For example, if someone should say they are a republican, most people would have some concept of their ideas on how governmental structure or finances should be. If someone were to say they were a part of the Canary Party – a real political faction – the general population would be hard pressed to recognize what they stands for.

Third parties are slipping off the map of the American political spectrum. They rarely receive media coverage during the presidential races or really during any campaign. The republican and democratic candidates have been elevated to the unwarranted level of the only “real” candidates, the only two that have a chance at winning.

I have heard numerous people over the years say they will only vote for a republican or democratic candidate in elections because to do otherwise is wasting a vote – third party candidates are so negligible, voting for them is the same as not voting at all.

The U.S. political system has become self-confined into what may as well be a two-party system. For a country founded on individual rights and freedom, we are quickly losing our freedom of choice as our options shrink.