The two-party system of the United States — wherein elections are invariably won by one of the two major parties, Republican or Democrat — is largely a result of the winner-takes-all electoral system. Whereas in many other countries, the "runner up" parties in an election will nevertheless be represented in government proportional to the number of votes received, the U.S. offers no such incentive for smaller parties to even enter the race. This system may also be described as a "duopoly."
Even when an independent or third-party candidate is successful in securing votes from the public, this will only count in the Electoral College if they amount to the majority of votes.
As a result, politics in the U.S. is very restricted, with voters liable to apathy in the face of such limited choices. The winner-takes-all system is less democratic than systems of proportional representation, since the interests of those citizens who voted for a non-winning candidate will not be represented in government.
Those in favor of the two-party electoral system in the U.S. point out that it fosters stability in government, and encourages both parties to moderate their views in order to appeal to the middle ground. They also suggest that voters might benefit from the ease of simply selecting between one candidate or the other, which is popularly known as voting for the "lesser of two evils."Learn More
A multi-party system, such as the two-party system of the United States, is believed to do a better job of promoting the public good than a one-party system.Full Answer >
One advantage of the two-party system is that it gives voters a clear and understandable presentation of political information. Voters can quickly determine a political candidate's position on issues because their stance often aligns with the party's beliefs.Full Answer >
Advantages of a two party political system include stability, simplicity and the ability of the ruling party to govern from a majority position. Disadvantages include the lack of dissenting opinions, the apathy of voters due to lack of alternatives and the inability of third parties to gain traction in government.Full Answer >
The number of representatives each state has is determined by the state's population. Larger states usually have more people and so they often have more representatives. However, the United States Constitution guarantees that each state will have at least one representative.Full Answer >