One of the biggest downfalls of the two-party system is that you’re almost always going to have people “settling” for particular candidates after their preferred choices either drop out or lose a primary vote. It’s the stark liberal and conservative political scale that we’ve integrated into our government.
The two-party system has been in place even before America’s founding in 1776. With federalists and anti-federalist, similar structures were great when the population was in the low millions, but the U.S. population today is around 330.5 million. The population today is about 132 times the size of 1776 America, yet everyone is supposed to feel represented by a strict values system where if you’re not one, then you’re expected to be the other.
If the U.S. really wanted to have a government “of the people, for the people,” a multi-party system would’ve allowed the most voices to be heard. While they’re common in Parliamentary as well as European systems, we should not rule out the option purely because of that — like we do with so many other systems.
Independent voters hold a particular status in the U.S., too. They’re more malleable when it comes to elections. They primarily sit separate from Democrats and Republicans, choosing not to align themselves with a particular political party. Independent voters don’t align their political values based on the ideologies of the party. Instead, it’s on a case-by-case basis. In countries where there’s an established third party that actually has a realistic possibility in winning, it would be referred to as a true third-party system, but that is not the case for the U.S.
The two-party system in the U.S. currently drowns out any other voices, and this election is no different. We’ve seen lots of “settle for Biden” as well as third-party votes, whether it be for Kanye West or Jo Jorgensen. If we embraced a multi-party system, voters wouldn’t have to settle for other candidates as much as they do currently.
New Zealand recently held their general election Oct. 17, 2020, which utilized the multi-party system and allowed for a landslide victory to still occur. Jacinda Ardern, the newly reelected New Zealand prime minister, won with record-breaking numbers. Just because the population is smaller than the U.S. doesn’t mean it’s unattainable for us.
Jack Hiltner is a sophomore studying strategic communications at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Jack? Tweet him @JackHiltner.