On June 22, 2018, longtime conservative columnist George Will made headlines by telling his fellow conservatives to vote against the GOP in the upcoming November midterms. Will went on to criticize President Trump, his staff, and other members of the GOP including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. However, Will did not endorse the Democratic Party either. In fact, he said that “a Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables.” If voters should vote neither Republican nor Democrat, then which party should they ultimately show their support for? This dilemma begs the question: is it time for a third political party in the United States?
Yes, the United States has the Green Party and the Libertarian Party as minor parties in the background of the 2 major parties—the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. However, neither have been able to make much of an impact on U.S. politics as neither have any members in Congress. And, in the 2016 election, they both struggled to gain supporters. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party have been the two major political parties in the United States for the last 150 years. As lifetime conservatives try to distance themselves from President Trump and the GOP, and the Democratic Party continually shifts further left on the political spectrum, a third major political party will be a necessity in the near future.
The Disappearance of Core Conservatives and Solid Liberals
In addition, it seems as if we are past the days where people strictly define themselves as either conservative or liberal. For example, in a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2017, it was found that the American people identify themselves within one of nine categories of political ideology. These range from core conservatives who will devoutly vote red every election season to disaffected Democrats who are anti-Trump yet are disgruntled with the Democrats currently in office to political bystanders who are uninterested in politics, to say the least. Further, since President Trump has taken office the “Republican coalition has been deeply divided on major issues such as immigration,” and the numbers have shown that the percentage of core conservatives has dropped during this time period. These numbers show that a 3rd political party is necessary in this country as the number of “core conservatives” and “solid liberals” has dropped considerably over the years as some Republican voters no longer see eye to eye with the party on social issues, whereas some Democratic voters no longer like the Democratic party’s stance on economic issues.
Lack of Bi-partisanship
As we have seen the last few years there has been a lack of bi-partisanship in Congress, yet another reason for the addition of more political parties. During the 2016 election, President Trump repeatedly promised his followers a wall that would run alongside the southern U.S. border with Mexico. In late February and early March, President Trump did his best to follow through on his campaign promise and made the Democratic leaders in Congress several deals in order to get funding for his wall. Much to the dismay of many Republicans, Trump even offered to extend protection to the DREAMER immigrants in exchange for $25 billion in funding for his wall. The Democrats did not budge. This lack of bi-partisanship is nothing new. When the Republicans controlled Congress from 2010-2016 during Obama’s presidency, hardly any legislation was passed and Republicans even refused to consider the nomination of federal Judge Merrick B. Garland to the United States Supreme Court. The 2-party system has become so polarized we now see “party over country” more than ever. Not only is this lack of bi-partisanship a waste of tax-payer money, it is an inherent threat to our democracy.
The New Face of The Democratic Party
About three weeks ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked the country when she upset incumbent Joseph Crowley (D) in the primary for New York’s 14th congressional district. At first, it seemed like a big blow to the Democratic Party as Crowley was seen as a candidate for Speaker of the House (should the Democrats take back the House in November). However, since the primary, Cortez has risen to superstardom in the political sphere. In fact, her popularity has garnered the attention of both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its Chairman, as Tom Perez called her “the future of the party.” A self-proclaimed socialist, Cortez is symbolic of the Democrat’s strong shift towards socialist policies as the party continues to shift even more to the political left. According to a Gallup poll, the Democratic Party has grown more economically liberal and on the flip side, the Republican party has grown more economically conservative. With both parties becoming increasingly polarized and moving away from the political center, is it time for a third major political party to rise?