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The Democrats dominated national politics for the next 20 years.Roosevelt's New Deal was followed by Harry Truman's Fair Deal; Republican Dwight Eisenhower (1952–1960) found it impossible to dismantle the New Deal agencies that had become an integral part of American society. Young radicals turned away from liberalism in response to the Vietnam War, while moderate Democrats increasingly blamed their party for the rise of lawlessness that had accompanied liberal social change during the decade — especially the explosion of urban rioting that devastated American cities starting in 1964. The existence of only two dominant parties stems largely from election rules that provide for single-member districts and winner-take-all elections.
The Civil War split the political parties in several ways.
The Republican party's strength lay in the North; Abraham Lincoln did not receive a single electoral vote from a Southern state in 1860.
African-American voters, who had traditionally supported the Republicans since Reconstruction, now joined the unemployed, the immigrants and their descendants, the liberal intellectuals, and the South in backing Franklin Roosevelt.
The Democratic party's New Deal coalition redefined the role of the federal government as an active agent in promoting the general welfare.
Not until 1994 were Republicans able to consolidate their power by capturing control of Congress, the first time they had held both the House and the Senate in almost half a century.
The Republicans continued to dominate Congress, albeit often with slim majorities, until 2006; opposition to the war in Iraq and Bush's declining popularity returned the Democrats to power in the midterm elections.If a party wins 10 percent of the vote in an election where 100 seats are at stake, it gets to have 10 of the seats.In a multiparty system, parties may form a The Electoral College is also a factor in sustaining the two-party system.So no matter how popular a third party, it will not win a single seat in any legislature until it becomes powerful enough in a single district to take an election.By contrast, many democracies have proportional representation, in which officials are elected based on the percentage of votes their parties receive, and more than two dominant parties.In the 1992 presidential election, Ross Perot captured almost 20 percent of the popular vote across the country but did not receive a single electoral vote.Although the Constitution does not provide for political parties, two factions quickly emerged.This period saw important changes in how political parties operate.In the presidential election of 1832, candidates were chosen through a national convention of representatives from the states' parties, and a party platform, a statement of the party's beliefs and goals, was issued.Even if the popular vote in a state is very close, the winner gets all of the state's electoral votes.This arrangement makes it extremely difficult for a third party to win.