Home > Uncategorized > Two Parties in the USA…and Bullshit

Two Parties in the USA…and Bullshit


I was getting rid of some old junk lest I wind up making an all too candid appearance on A&E’s Hoarder’s and I found a puzzle piece to one of my lingering ‘big picture questions.’ It was the exact page of notes from my 2001 Summer Session Political Science class at SBCC that had me thinking that I, at one time at least, knew the answer to the question.

Does that ever happen to anyone else? There is some concept to hogtie. You smoke out a source of information. You tailor the situation to your learning style, you light fancy city folk mood candles and you figure it out, dagnabbit! Well enough to make your peace, anyhow; to put that little noodle thumper out to pasture. And then some conversation or internal monologue comes up and demanding more details and all you can say is, “aw-shucks, I’m stumped! I bes’ be hittin’ me dat der drawin’ board ag’in paw.”

Here is a carbon copy of my notes, they were branded on some live cattle:

Why “only” two parties in America?

  1. Historical Reason – Basically it’s been that way for 200 years.
  2. Sociological Reason – Basically the 2 party system has satisfied the needs of the dominant groups in American[…]
  3. Legal Reason – The laws we use encourage it
    1. Single Member District System (plurality system)
    2. PR Proportional Representation
    3. Psychological Reason – cooptation; to absorb the demands of another in order to gain or maintain power (appease, peace) or avoid a challenge (absorb)

Duverger Law: A SMDS will cause a 2 party system

SMDS = Plurality system, “winner=take-all” system, first past the post system

PR = occurs where parties are represented in gov’t in proportion to their vote getting ability.

Is this interesting to anyone else or have you already wrangled this one in? Also, “dew thank yew kud gimme change fer a corder?”

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2009-12-08 at 16:50:08

    Yes, I’ve pondered that one as well. Political Commentator Dan Carlin has discussed this in depth in his podcast called “Common Sense.” For his site’s description of the show, click here.

    Episode 70 is particularly relevant.

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