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The Hawk Eye

Hebron High School News Online

The Hawk Eye

Hebron High School News Online

The Hawk Eye

Opinion: We the people

The two-party political system is ruining America
As+political+parties+sharpen+their+edges%2C+the+two-party+system+is+no+longer+just+a+flaw+in+politics+%E2%80%94+it%E2%80%99s+a+hazardous+issue%2C+slowly+ruining+America.
Krista Fleming
As political parties sharpen their edges, the two-party system is no longer just a flaw in politics — it’s a hazardous issue, slowly ruining America.

“We the people.” 

This, the most essential idea to democracy and the foundation on which the U.S. was built. This, the beginning of the Declaration of Independence — America’s heart, written in ink — and what makes this country the “Land of the Free.” 

This, the phrase most vital to U.S. citizens, yet the one least lived by. 

The percentage of people voting as Independents has soared from 28% in 2004 to 45% this year. Yet, the two major candidates in each election still belong to the Republican and Democrat parties, leaving the majority of voters forced to pick one extreme or the other. As political parties sharpen their edges, the two-party system is no longer just a flaw in politics — it’s a hazardous issue slowly ruining America.

The index of competition between the two parties from 1861–2013. Distance from zero is a tilt toward one party, Republican decades in red and Democratic decades in blue. Purple indicates a difference of less than one. (Graph via the Washington Post.)

Bickering between parties has become more common over the past few decades, and it has destroyed citizens’ trust in the government. The chart to the right shows the scale of which one party is winning, rapidly decreasing since 1960. There is more competition, less compromise. At the exact same time, those who say they trust the government decreased from 77% to 16% between 1960–2023. There is a direct correlation; the middle ground does not vote for its major political candidates and must choose the party they feel is the “lesser of two evils.” If our candidates continue to only appeal to the far side of opposing parties, then any chance at bipartisan compromise is as good as gone.

 

This polarizing system stalls progress, as presidents will spend their entire term in office trying to undo the other party’s previous president. When current United States President Joe Biden took office, he immediately withdrew Donald Trump’s SNAP-Eligibility rules. Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, something President Barack Obama joined and Trump had left. The past few terms have been a cycle of nullifying the previous presidency and passing a few acts that will get repealed when the next administration takes over. Government officials and voters can no longer look past party lines; instead, they are stuck in the toxic mindset that anything from “the other side” is inherently harmful for America.

If we, as a society, vote for a president just to undo the last, we’re not just choosing the lesser of two evils — we’re stalling any and all progress our country needs. 

It is up to us as a newer generation to move past this, to vote for people and not for their party. Instead of watching drastically biased news channels, citizens should own research and form their own opinions. 

In 2022, only 21.5% of young voters cast their ballot. The numbers should be drastically higher — we should swarm to the polls as much as everyone else eligible to vote. We are students in a country that desperately needs to hear our voices, whether that be by voting in this election or reposting political awareness on social media.

Patriotism is dying, warped by those who don’t understand it. If we allow the far sides of both parties to lead this country, all we’re voting for is regression. It is our duty as U.S. citizens and the future of this country to come to a middle ground and see past party lines. If we can’t do that, “We the people” can kiss the chance at helping our nation goodbye. 

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About the Contributor
Krista Fleming, Managing Editor
Junior Krista Fleming is the managing editor and this is her third year on staff. She enjoys reading, teaching preschoolers and volunteering.

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