Are political parties a bad idea?
Over here in the UK i am looking at the political parties and realsing one thing: They are all terrible.
The people from the parties are voted in by the people of their constituency yet they do not properly represent them. For example just look at the coalition government, both parties involved have had to vote for things that the people who voted for them did not want eg the lib dems had to vote for higher tuition fees.
I realise that this is how parties work however i am asking the question if they are good or bad. The parties are often corrupt and the people who are elected are often bent to the will of their leader and do what the leader tells them rather than what is better for their community.
This is a problem in the U.S as well were as there are only 2 main parties people have to choose between them rather than pick a party that is in the middle ground between them and then to make it worse the parties instead of simply working together to improve the country will deliberately vote against anything the other party proposes even if it agrees with their views.
Therefore my question is: are parties a bad idea and should all elected officials properly represent the views of the people that elected them than simply doing what the leader says.
- 7 years agoFavourite answer
Initially political parties form out of a basis of convenience. They bring together like minded individuals as it makes delivering their ideological policies much easier whilst giving the voters clear identification to what ideology they align themselves with.
However, political parties become problematic with age. The older and larger a political party gets, the more members of different ideological opinion form. Take the modern Conservative Party and the Labour Party, both are quite old parties that have been around for over 100 years. Initially they would draw support from a narrow path, but after a while, as the grow and they get more successful, people who share 7/10 of their views would join, and so on and so fourth until the party has different wings.
Take the Conservative Party, it has two very notable wings, The New Right (Thatcherism) and the "Modernisers" which David Cameron is the champion of. However, even elements of the Thatcherite wing of the party have splits, some are more libertarian, and others are not.
The Labour Party is similar, it has two distinct wings. The old socialist wing and the Blairite Wing (New Labour). Both wings strongly dislike one another, but they reside under the same party which at an election can give voter a false impression to what their ideological stand point is.
The problem comes with the move to center. Center right voters make up about 35%, center left make up 35%, the majority however make up about maybe 20% of the core voters and these are either left of center or right of center, this is the "swing" voter (the other 10% includes the far right and far left). Parties aim to attract swing voters as they traditionally hold the balance of power. Parties therefore, Labour and Conservative, move towards the center and their policies quickly align with one another, making them very similar parties with only minor differences.
In the end, the political system in a First Past the Post electoral system moves towards the center and forgets about everyone else as politics becomes not about enacting ideological policies, but rather winning and securing the career of a politician.
The Party whips are another key factor in party political systems, they disincentivize parliamentarians of a party to vote with their heart, but rather with the political party.
Then when factions of the party break off and rebel, new parties on the left or right form. They champion the right of center or left of center policies. However, come the election in a First Past the Post system, if a voter votes for the new lets say right of center party as they want a more right wing MP, they will be punished by the voting system as the Conservative Party (lets say they are the current MP in constituency X) will lose votes making it easier for a left wing party to win that seat on a lower percentage of the overall vote, some MP's get in with less than 30% of the constituency vote,
MP's become reluctant to want voting change as it would damage and threaten their own position in power and the two big parties fear that. This creates what people coined as the "two party state", two political parties in power forever, both are centralist parties and both become a closed political elite.
This makes the political party system in a First Past the Post system perhaps the most anti-democratic, supposedly "democratic" form of government.
- Anonymous4 years ago
Unfortunately, that is the way it is and has been since Millard Fillmore who was a part of the Whig party. Kind of sad considering the first president, George Washington, was not a Republican (party didn't exist yet) or a Democrat. He was an Independent. But the two parties which have dominated 98% of presidential elections since the very first president have been either Democrat or Republican. This has trickled to all elections of most every elected official running in a partisan election. It is unfair that other parties get passed up, but the only way to insure a candidate is going to win is to vote for one belonging to a party that is dominate- Democrat or Republican. Some people waste their vote on a third party candidate. But, make no mistake, it is a wasted vote. That has just been the manner by which our elections have been run on- one or the other of the two prominent parties. Personally, I think they should dissolve both parties by decree and allow lesser parties to become the dominate parties. Maybe a less known party would have a better chance of getting something done that would be good for the country. Couldn't get much worse.
- CliveLv 77 years ago
The difficulty with not having parties is the difficulty of getting over to voters what candidates in elections actually stand for. Parties provide a convenient label.
Consider that we had Parliament before we had parties. Parties evolved for precisely that reason, so that groups of MPs who shared similar views could group together. Elections worked without them because before the Reform Act 1832, the few men who owned enough property to be allowed to vote probably knew the candidates personally anyway. But now all adults can vote, that can't possibly work. And how would the Prime Minister be chosen?
Of course parties aren't perfect, but they make elections more practical. And there can only be one government, so if you have a coalition there has to be compromise. I rather prefer coalition, actually - it means you get a government more than half the voters actually voted for some part of, even if the part you voted for can't get everything it wants. At least it can get SOME of what it wants rather than nothing at all. The UK isn't used to coalition yet, and it means the parties have to work together to get things done.
- jotacarLv 77 years ago
Ancient Greek citizens would all meet in the center of town in order to
decide on matters of importance in their city state.
That involved a few hundred men.
Today, counties have populations in the millions. There is no way
for everyone to meet and agree on legislation, and there has to be
a form of representative government, where people choose who will
speak for them.
This can only work with a party system.
Yes, parties can be a pain in the a*s, but they are a necessity.
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- A M FrantzLv 77 years ago
They probably are, but it's hard to see what can be done about them. In a democratic system, there's nothing more natural than for those who are involved in politics and share broad ideas about what policies should be favored to form an alliance to advance their beliefs. That's all really that a party is, but over time it almost always comes to be much more, until you get to something like the modern US Republican party, which now barely even hesitates to adopt policies that deliberately harm the country to score short term political advantages.
- Anonymous7 years ago
it is better than a direct democracy
at least this way we won't fight each other and fall apart, but instead take down the party. we just need to scare them into doing what people want. threatening to simply vote them out in a few years will accomplish nothing.
- Dr RedthumbLv 77 years ago
It's not perfect, but it's the best system anybodies come up with so far, try comparing places which use the model we know as democracy to places which don't, see which ones you think you'd rather live in.
- Anonymous7 years ago
Democracy is a bad idea. It creates a market for evil, power hungry people with 4 year time horizons.
- Anonymous7 years ago
Yes, they depend on competition to control.Source(s): LL
- Common SenseLv 77 years ago
"We must obey God as ruler rather than men." Acts 5:29Source(s): The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.