The Two-Party System and the One-Party State

One common critique of third party activism is that there is no 'viable' third party to be found in the United States. The irony of such criticism is that in most districts across the country there is no viable second party either, no matter which party is in power. In this sense, the two-party system has already effectively devolved into a one-party state for much of the country. At the national level, both the Democrats and Republicans have proven incapable of mounting a viable opposition to the ruling party for almost ten years. Likening the Republicans today to the Democratic Party under the Bush administration, Lew Weinstein calls them out:
We need a viable two party system in America. We need a strong opposition party to keep Democrats in check, just as Democrats should have kept Republicans in check during the Bush/Cheney years. Democrats failed then, Republicans are failing now.
Arguably, the most effective way to ensure political opposition is to oppose the system that has consistently proven incapable of providing such opposition. It may well be the case that a 'viable' two-party system is impossible absent a viable multi-party system.

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