Parties, Parties

I doubt whether the results of the recent European election, which were dismal for the socialist and left-leaning parties, have much meaning for politics in the U.S. I don’t think Americans pay much attention to who is being elected to serve in European parliaments, or what those politicans stand for, and I certainly don’t think most Americans look to Europe for political trends and viewpoints. The European election results do, however, provide some support for the American two-party system. If a vote is splintered among many candidates, as is the case in many European systems, fringe parties — such as parties which advocate racist policies that appeal to only a distinct minority of voters, for example — have a better chance to pick up seats, particularly in times of widespread voter dissatisfaction. In the American two-party system, the vote will not be split and the support for fringe parties will be overwhelmed by support for the two mainstream parties. In addition, the competition for nominations is such that politicians of the far left and far right are not likely to be nominated by either the Democrats or the Republicans.

The two-party system may not be perfect, but it is well-suited to weeding out the nuts and preventing electoral embarrassments.