Political Parties and Groups in the United States By J. Wesley Fox At Isnare.com Ezine Articles

The United States has a unique two-party system, which can give power to one party or the other entirely. In other countries, there are numerous parties often requiring them to share power in a “ruling coalition”. It is difficult for a single party to dominate in these governments. Having only two parties gives the people a very limited choice. Young Americans in particular do not like to label themselves republican or democrat – and many feel that both are just as corrupt and incompetent. Without identifying with either party, many Young Americans become disengaged from politics – becoming cynical and apathetic. However, in the U.S. system each party operates more as a “coalition” of factions rather than two unified political forces. There are more than two political groups in the United States. When offered more choices Young Americans will become better engaged and begin to look at politics as more than just republican, democrat, independent.

The American two-party system began with the historic rivalry between the first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, and the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. President George Washington tried to mediate the rivalry between the two men but found it extremely difficult. Both men began working toward forming official political parties. During President Washington’s farewell address in 1797, he warned against the divisiveness of political parties. However, that did not stop Jefferson and Hamilton continuing their feud and forming the first two political parties in U.S. history: the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.

In the mid-20th century the two parties aligned themselves to where they are today. The Democratic Party is descended from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal in the 1930s. The Republican Party went through a recent evolution in the 1980s under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan.

Despite the fact there are only two parties, American politics is not a battle between two giant opposing political forces. Each party more resembles a “coalition” of sub-groups rather than a single force. The various sub-groups better represents the diversity in political beliefs, interests, and policy preferences. These smaller groups may choose to align themselves with a party, remain independent, or cross over and join the other party depending on which best serves their interests.

On the other side, parties attempt to build coalitions of groups that will get them over 50% of the vote in elections. Parties try to find large, well-mobilized, well-funded, and reliable groups to join their coalition. The party promises to promote their interests in government as well as giving them influence in national policy in general. For example, Christian evangelicals most often seek to promote their positions on social issues but may also seek to influence foreign policy such as our relationship with Israel (the holy land).

American politics involves the shuffle of political groups, moving from one party to the other or staying independent. Young Americans should seek out and become involved in one or more of these political groups that best represents their beliefs and their interests. It is more likely they will find a smaller group that best reflects their beliefs and interests than an entire political party.

The largest groups that are aligned with the Republican Party include Christian conservatives, evangelicals, fiscal conservatives, foreign policy hawks, and individual rights advocates. The largest groups that are aligned with the Democratic Party include social progressives, secular groups, fiscal liberals, socialists, labor unions, government workers, and foreign policy doves.

In the middle are a number of groups that do not support one party or the other exclusively. They are pragmatic, promoting certain policies and interests among Congress and the President without choosing sides. These groups include trade groups, business advocates, large corporations, single-issue advocates, individual rights advocates, libertarians, and many others.

Every American has there own beliefs, their own interests, and their own ways of expressing themselves. The diverse American Society cannot be simplified into three simple groups (Republican, Democrat, Independent). It is important that young Americans be aware that there are a number of choices. Once you have made a choice, it is much easier to look at politics through that new perspective and make political decisions accordingly.

A political party is merely a vehicle used to promote the interests of the people in government. One’s political affiliation is not permanent and should never define that person. When a person becomes unsatisfied with their party, the party’s platform changes, or the person changes their beliefs – it may be time to change affiliation. Although we support a large number of Republican candidates, Restore America’s Legacy is NOT a Republican organization. Restore America’s Legacy wants to support like-minded candidates and get as many of them elected as possible, regardless of party. With greater representation within the Party and the Congress as a whole, Young Americans will finally have a voice in Washington and see their interests protected for the first time.

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