Campaigns Wikia

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At most levels of government, the United States currently has only two parties that dominate the landscape - Republican and Democratic. Other pages on this wiki will certainly dissect each of these parties separately. This page specifically concerns the impact of having exactly two dominant parties. The Constitution does not dictate the structure, or even the existence of political parties. So what we have today is essentially a de facto system that has undergone significant changes since the first federal elections.

While most discussion of politics centers on specific issues, it is interesting to consider just the mechanics of the system. What adverse effect does the win or lose mentality inherent in this system have?

Some aspects of this binary structure worth discussing:

  • How do those in power benefit?
  • What benefits are there to the citizenry?
  • What does Game Theory predict?
  • Does the Primary system contribute to the limited number of parties?
  • Polarization: cause or effect?

Perception of political tactics[]

Smear tactics and negative campaign ads have been around a long time. If you can cause the one other opponent to lose votes, then you will directly benefit and may also gain some of his lost votes. Because the tactics are so effective, a candidate may feel he has no choice but to "go negative."

Wikipedia articles[]

The first article below provides an excellent background to this discussion.