Electoral Basis Of The Two-Party System Essay, Research Paper
In the article ?Electoral Basis of the Two Party System? by Maurice Duverger, the political party systems are dissected and looked at from many points of view. Democratic countries can have the political party system range from a two party system, such as the one in the United States, to a many party system, such as the party system in France and Italy. This article also gives the specific views of those few people whom are opposed to the political party systems as well as those few that are for the political party systems.
In speaking of those that are in opposition to the political party system, many views and opinions are expressed. The political party system is called a party oligarchy because of the way the election process occurs. The article says, ?The party oligarchy is widened without ever becoming a democracy, for the election is carried out by the members, who are a minority in comparison with those who give their votes to the party in general elections.? Duverger also states that parties usually tend to create an opinion formed by propaganda and improper procedure, such as the ballot procedure. In conclusion, ?the party system is less a photograph of opinion is a projection of the party system.?
According to this statement, Duverger expresses that ?the general development of parties tries to emphasize their deviation from the democratic regime [which is a mode of system of rule or government].? The electoral processes are gradually losing ground in the appointment of leaders by nomination or co-option. Because of this fact, ?discipline among members is tightened both by these material means and by an even greater effort of propaganda and persuasion which leads them to venerate the Party and its leaders and to believe in their infallibility.?
This statement leads others to believe that a system without political parties would be better for the country as well as for the governmental system of that particular country. Democracy was built on the basis of the eighteenth-century philosophical ideas, which the experts think is true and justifiable. Duverger states that all governments are oligarchic, which means the domination of many by the few. Governments of all types imply discipline, which means ?All discipline is imposed from without: ?self-discipline? is itself the result of education, which implies a prior external discipline, and is always very limited.?
After looking at a few things that are wrong with governments and why the political party system should be non-existent, ?true democracy is something different, more modest but more real. It is defined in the first place as liberty ?for the people and for all sections of the people,? as the 1793 Constituents put it. Not only liberty for those privileged by birth, fortune, position, or education, but real liberty for all, and this implies a certain standard of living, a certain basic education, some kind of social equality, some kind of political equilibrium.? The article then states information about countries, such as Africa, Asia, and South America, where the ?parties are in formal character: rival factions struggle for power, using the voters as a soft dough to be kneaded as they will; corruption develops and the privileged classes take advantage of the situation [referring to the lack of education, fortune, position, and birth status in the lower classes] to prolong their control?The structure of the transitional regime must however be such that it will not destroy their control [of the situation at hand].?
Single-party regimes is the next topic in the Duverger?s agenda. He states in the article that ?the deepest significance of political parties is that they tend to the creation of new elites, and this restores to the notion of representation its true meaning, the only real one. All government is by nature oligarchic [,] but the origins and the training of the oligarchs may be very different [,] and these determine their actions.? A system of government without parties makes certain to the ruling of elites as chosen by birth, wealth, or position; if a man does not have the advantages, he has to ?work his way up the ladder of a middle-class education and lose contact with the class in which he was born.? From a historical point of view, political parties ?were born when the masses of the people really made their entrance into political life; they provided the necessary framework enabling the masses to recruit from among themselves their own elites.?
This article then concludes with the statement that ?democracy is not threatened by the party regime but by the present-day trends in party internal organization: the danger does not lie in the existence of parties but in the military, religious, and totalitarian form they sometimes assume.? Some countries, such as Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and Northern Europe, do not exactly follow this statement because ?the only groups to display this tendency are small and uninfluential. The same is true of the United States, where the development of primaries has had the result of weakening the party organization rather than strengthening it.? Because of Duverger?s diligent study of political parties, he stated some ways to keep the governmental system from going downhill: ?The real way of protecting democracy against the toxins that it secretes within itself in the course of its development does not lie in cutting it off from modern techniques for organizing the masses and recruiting leaders?such an operation would make of it an empty vessel, a vain show?but in diverting these to its use, for they are in the last resort mere tools, capable no doubt of being used for good as well as evil?regrets for the individualist and decentralized cadre parties of the nineteenth century and imprecations against the vast centralized and disciplined parties of today do not alter the fact that the latter alone suit the structure of the contemporary societies.?
The article explains the two party system very well, and Duverger not only includes his perspective of the political party systems but also the perspectives of those who know the systems as well if not better than he does. The article gives the readers a good insight to the different kinds of political parties in the different countries around the world. It allows the readers the opportunity to learn about the single-party, the two-party, and the many-party political systems that make up the various forms of government that control these countries, along with the reaction of the citizens to these governments. Duverger writes in a style that is understandable and informative on these various forms of political party systems that surround us as we live our every day lives and perform our every day duties. Overall, the article is well written in a way that all people, no matter the age or the level of education, could understand and learn from.