The Tyranny of the Two-Party System

Author(s): Lisa Disch

The Tyranny of the Two-Party System


Is the two-party system of Democrats and Republicans an immutable and indispensable aspect of our democracy? In In The Tyranny of the Two-Party System, Lisa Disch maintains that it is not. There is no constitutional warrant for two parties, and winner-take-all elections need not set third parties up to fail. She argues that the two-party system as we know it dates only to the twentieth century and that it thwarts democracy by wasting the votes and silencing the voices of dissenters.   The Tyranny of the Two-Party System reexamines a once popular nineteenth-century strategy called fusion, in which a dominant-party candidate ran on the ballots of both the established party and a third party. In the nineteenth century fusion made possible something that many citizens wish were possible today: to register a protest vote that counts and that will not throw the election to the establishment candidate they least prefer. The book concludes by analyzing the 2000 presidential election as an object lesson in the tyranny of the two-party system and with suggestions for voting experiments to stimulate participation and make American democracy responsive to a broader range of citizens (Columbia University Press).

Publication Information:

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Year of Publication: 2002