Institute of political parties in the United States is not provided by written documents. However, at the same time, it is one of the main elements of the American political structure. As in majority of countries, political parties in the United States represent groups of citizens organized on the basis of specific views. Efforts of each party are intended to achieve the election of candidates to senior government posts. Currently, in the United States, there are two major political parties. The Democratic Party is formed from the party organization, which was founded in 1828 by Thomas Jefferson and his associates. The Republican Party emerged in 1854, mainly in the western and northern states. People of those states actively demanded that the Government limit the penetration of slavery into new states entering the union. Nowadays, these political parties remain the most influential in the process of country governance.
Differences between the Democratic and Republican Parties
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Before considering the difference between the political parties of the United States, it is necessary to mention their general characteristics and similarities. The United States was born as a country seeking independence in religious, political and financial spheres. Ideals of individual freedom and democratic society were shared by the immigrants coming from different tribes and peoples. Both Democratic and Republican parties sincerely believe in the independence of the Unites States, and their members are patriots of their country (Wilson, 2008). However, according to Bibby and Schaffner (2007), It should not be inferred that there are no significant differences in the policy orientation of the Republican and Democratic parties (p. 79).
The Democratic Party believes that the central and federal government is the single institution that is able to fulfill the requirements of people. In its turn, the Republican Party believes that people and the local government can care for the society. According to the Republicans, only the principal issues, such as foreign policy, trade or national defense, should be in the hands of the federal government. The Democrats believe that to lower the unemployment rate, it is necessary to create more government programs that will help people find work or keep work that they have. Their main idea is to make the federal government an arbiter of the national economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, believe that America is a country of opportunities, where the federal government should not intervene. Nevertheless, it has a responsibility to encourage the job growth and business expansion, as well as the growth of capital turnover. The Republicans believe that tax cuts, the development of the international market and the development of legislation encouraging investment will help the American economy grow (Sabato & Howard, 2009).
Causes of Bipartisanship in the US
The absence of evident consolidating beginning should have logically led to the formation of more parties than just two in the United States. However, it did not happen. There are several reasons for this. First of all, the great commitment of Americans to traditionalism should be noted. It is expressed in the presence of a psychological barrier that does not seem to disappear from the time when the Constitution was discussed and the country was divided into two camps. Facets of this division were almost erased with time. Nevertheless, they still unconsciously exist in the minds of Americans.
The second reason is directly related to the electoral system adopted in the United States. For example, small parties have virtually no opportunities to include their candidates in the ballot. For example, in 1968, George Wallace from the Independence Party had to collect 400,000 signatures in only one state of Ohio, which is extremely difficult. In addition, the majority system assumes that a victory, regardless of the gap, is awarded to the person who attains the highest number of votes. It is unlike the proportional system, when a loser does not receive anything.
A two-party system is largely due to pragmatism and flexibility of the existing parties. If a multi-party system developed in the country, then surely there would be parties, which would rely only on some specific groups of society workers, entrepreneurs and farmers, Catholics and Protestants. However, in the two-party system, no party can claim victory in the elections if it relies only on some group of people. It is necessary to obtain 50 percent of the votes of those who came to the polls. This necessity has historically determined the broad coverage of the Democratic and Republican parties of the diversity of professional, ethnic and religious groups. In its turn, this fact deprived them of a position of radicalism or even certain extremism peculiar to parties, which was guided only by some groups in society (Maisel & Berry, 2010).
The Campaign Process
Parties do not have fixed membership, but they have a branched party apparatus in every state and in the capital. The activities of parties and their party apparatus are mobilized as the election approaches. It is virtually impossible to become a member of the House of Representatives, senator, governor of the state, or the President of the United States without being a candidate of the corresponding organizational structure. During the primaries, there is a struggle within each party for the right to become its official candidate. Finally, party members decide the question about the candidate by voting. When each party is determined with the only candidate for public office, candidates from the Democratic and the Republican Party are engaged in the process (Maisel & Brewer, 2011).
The most important feature of the US political system is a two-party system that has developed in the course of historical development. Under this system, two of the most influential political parties - the Republican Party and the Democratic Party alternately come to power. The role of many small national parties is not significant. Two parties have both similarities and differences in questions of governance of the country.