Party of one or party of none
Here is a post that discusses the notion of political parties in the USA and it takes the position that their creation is a good thing. I will consider the opposing view.
Let’s say that the Founding Fathers first notions are correct, political parties cause more trouble than they are worth.
The source story describes the role of political parties as:
“Role of Political Parties
Political parties serve four key functions in the American political system
Political parties (1) select candidates, (2) mobilize voters, (3) facilitate governance, and (4) monitor the opposing party when it's in power”
Under the Constitution, U.S. Representatives and Senators are elected to Congress and we elect one President.
1. Do voters need parties to “select candidates?”
2. Do they need parties to “mobilize voters?”
3. Are political parties necessary to “facilitate governance”?
4. Without an “opposing party,” is there a need for organized opposition?
Since all politics is local, beginning in your community, if there were no political parties, would you not be able to identify individuals who volunteer to run for office and to evaluate their resumes? I can imagine that groups of voters might organize around their associations related to work or community affiliation or other areas of common interest to discuss political candidates. The nature of such organization would likely reflect the demographics of the community and that would be direct representation and reflection without any additional label. I suggest that such organizations exist naturally and that creating a political umbrella is unnecessary. Therefore, parties are not needed for voters to select candidates.
When emphasis is given to the direct communication between citizens and their individual representatives, and when government is responsive to their needs, citizens become self-motivated. There is no better incentive in a democratic republic than citizens being active participants in the process and their community. Emphasizing recognition, respect, and reward for active citizenship is a way to shift the balance of consequences as part of changing and improving the national economy from the bottom up.
Political parties may facilitate governance just as they may undermine it. In an ideally performing government, the American System is by design a functioning and complete operation balanced by diverse representation by “Districts” and “States,” and that diversity is multiplied by the profiles of individuals elected by the people. Parties are unnecessary to facilitate governance in the American government system.
Opposing views and diverse ideas are healthy and productive when the system values collaboration and consensus skills to resolve differences toward better solutions. Perpetual opposition to the extreme produces a bipolar government that is dysfunctional and entropic.
The Founding Fathers’ first notions about political parties were correct in my belief. We don’t need them.
“The Founding Fathers & Political Parties
Founding Fathers did not anticipate or desire the existence of political parties, viewing them as "factions" dangerous to the public interest
Founders' republican ideology called for subordination of narrow interests to the general welfare of the community
Under republican ideology, politics was supposed to be rational and collaborative, not competitive
But the first American political parties began to form while George Washington was still president
The Founding Fathers got this one wrong. They were pretty smart guys—they got the whole separation of powers and checks and balances things right—but they completely missed the boat on political parties. They were convinced that political parties (or factions, as they called them) would only destroy representative government and that there should be no place for parties in American democracy. But we have since become dependent on political parties. For the past two centuries, they have played a critical role in both the political and governing processes.
So why were the Founding Fathers, in this case, so far off the mark? And why exactly did parties prove so essential to our system of government?
The Founders were republicans. No, not George Bush or John McCain Republicans; they were philosophical republicans (with a small "r"). This meant they believed that successful representative governments required the subordination of individual personal interests to the welfare of the community. They believed that the political process was all about identifying the common good. It was not about competition and disagreement; politics was a process in which rational voters and officials calmly sorted out what best served the entire community. The end result was not one camp of winners and another of losers, but the entire electorate united behind a common vision.
As good republicans, the founders believed that parties (or factions) threatened this rational, collaborative process. If the political community broke into small groups committed to their own narrow interests, the search for the common good would be compromised. Politics would disintegrate into battles between conflicting visions, and elections would generate division rather than consensus.
But within a decade of the Constitution's ratification, political parties had emerged. Some of the Founding Fathers originally most concerned about these "factions" had actually helped to bring them about. George Washington lamented that political party wrangling "agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another."3 And Thomas Jefferson, always good for a pithy line, swore "if I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all."4 But as president, Washington pursued economic and foreign policies that alienated a huge part of the electorate. And in 1793, Thomas Jefferson resigned his seat in Washington's cabinet to lead the opposition to the administration—a move that led directly to the formation of the first American political parties.
As the Founders discovered, to their dismay, the simple fact was that consensus was impossible to maintain. People simply disagreed about things. Reasonable people held conflicting visions of the common good. Politics wasabout conflict and division; and elections did produce winners and losers. And as politicians moved toward a more realistic understanding of politics, they discovered that some sort of political organization would facilitate—not destroy—the political process.”
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Chicago, Illinois, United States