At one point in time, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison all wrote about the dangers of factions (political parties) in American politics. That was before President Washington's farewell address. As a final statement, after promising to only serve two terms, he reiterated the importance of keeping America’s government non-partisan -- but that didn't last. Hamilton and Jefferson got into a feud and ended up starting the two-party system that they argued against in previous writings.
So that's how it started and ever since 1792, factions have existed in American politics. Although we have gone through four different party systems, the same general idea of the Democratic and Republican parties have existed for centuries. So, is this a good thing?
Although it is nearly impossible to get elected without belonging to one of the parties, it would be better if we had more independent figures in our government. Every representative or senator, who is representing the Democratic or Republican, Party – who is representing us -- is also representing their political party. If they want to gain more power in government, they also need to listen to their party. Political representatives can't spread independent stances on issues and need to stay obedient to higher leadership.
Let's take healthcare for example. This is an example of two party politics. Paul Ryan is the leader of the Republican Party, telling Republicans to vote “yes” on the new healthcare bill that is coming through the House of Representatives. On the other hand, Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democratic Party in the House, is telling Democrats to vote “no” on the proposed bill. If members of the parties decide not to vote on party lines, they can lose their chance at gaining leadership, as well as funding for their next campaign. So, in this situation, is your candidate really voting in your best interest?
At the same time, the political parties are not getting anything done. Each party is fighting instead of trying to work together and get issues solved in our government. As I'm writing, Speaker Ryan is arguing with President Trump over getting the health care repeal passed. Instead of all politicians working together to get good legislation passed, they heavily push their side on issues and don't leave room for compromise.
Although money and power can sway candidates to act more in their own interest than yours, voting can help put more accountable people into government – those who are fighting to help you rather than themselves. This is an issue that affects members of both parties and doesn’t get the news coverage that it should. If we don’t get more accountability for party control in government, we will never be able to move past the system that only allows two agendas to fight one another.
By electing more officials who don’t take large donations and run independent or with a third party, we can diversify Congress and the executive while creating more room for compromise.