Two is actually the optimum number of parties. A viable and durable third party would make it far easier to be elected with only minority support; more parties than that would raise the specter of small extremist parties wielding enormous power via their ability to make or break a coalition.
But the dangers of a multiparty system shouldn’t lead us to ignore the wisdom of the voters’ dissatisfaction with the two parties as they currently exist. And it is possible for a third party to remake the two-party system, as the Republicans did in the 1850s.
The observations are part of a larger story that argues that recent polling finds that voters believe that, ironically, the Democratic Party is more in the control of extremists than the Republicans (and their angry, activist Tea Party factions). I recommend the read here.
(h/t to http://twitter.com/#!/J_Kane)
- Who’s the Extremist? (online.wsj.com)
- Voters Want a Third Party (outsidethebeltway.com)
- “Poll: Voters See Dems, Not Republicans, Dominated By Extremists” and related posts (patdollard.com)
- Third Parties-Are They Viable? (via Blacknright’s Weblog) (wilderside.wordpress.com)
- Voters See Democrats As More Extreme Than Republicans (outsidethebeltway.com)