Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Future of the American Party System

Michigan State political scientist Ben Kleinerman wrote last night on his Facebook wall: "The parties are essential to the rational functioning of American government. Van Buren recognized a failure in the founders' system that he sought to correct through the party system. It elected Jackson while also controlling him. The two are not mutually exclusive."

But I say:

1. If parties like the ones we have now are essential (though Monroe, the most successful wielder of executive power between Washington and Lincoln governed without them) how is it that Congress and the executive branch have become more partisan and more dysfunctional?
2. Even if we need parties like the ones we have now that does not mean we need the party cleavage we have now. It has been Democrats and Republicans uninterrupted since 1868. But the Republican brand (and maybe the Democratic one as well, with the rise of Sanders) no longer recruit among the young. If the Republicans win as the Trump party, perhaps a new elite-cored anti-Trump party on the Whig model will arise? And what would be so bad about that?

No comments:

Post a Comment