In a letter to Jonathan Jackson, former President John Adams said, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great Parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our constitution.” He is not the only Founding father who had this perspective about political parties. Former President George Washington also had a similar viewpoint. He believed that having political parties would threaten the unity of the American people. To him, it was important that the country remained unified since it was crucial for a good government.
The original idea to have our two political party system was to unify people who had similar ideas and beliefs on how our country should be operating. And for a certain amount of time, the political parties succeeded in this. The people in office and those who were able to vote shared the same exact beliefs as the political party they aligned themselves with. This is not the case today and it has not been that way for quite a while.
According to a Gallup poll that was conducted in 2017, forty-two percent of American voters consider themselves to be independent. That is higher than both of the political parties where Democratic voters were at twenty-nine percent and Republican voters were at twenty-seven percent. This is a result of the parties becoming weaker over the years and the people wanting someone who is an outsider that prevents American politics from becoming muddled.
One reason for this is that there are more and more people who are becoming skeptical and critical of the political parties. The people that get voted into office do not represent the people in their district on a consistent basis. They care more about their personal interests than the voters who put them in office. If you are going to be voted into office, then you should be following the principles that are supported by the people that put you there instead of advancing your own agenda. Another reason why people are turning away from political parties is that they are becoming more partisan; they care more about the people in their party and doing their best to make sure that their party remains in power instead of doing what the American people voted for them to do.
Now the main reason why having political parties is no longer relevant is that they have switched platforms throughout history. At one point, the Democrats used to be very conservative while the Republicans were once very liberal. An example would be back when abolishing slavery was an issue in our country: The Republicans, who were liberal at the time, supported the abolition of slavery while the conservative Democrats opposed it. The parties have switched their platforms in the past and there is a possibility of it happening again, so why align yourself with a party if their platform is going to change anyway? You should be aligning yourself with someone who represents your interests, not a candidate from a political party who is going to do whatever they want regardless of what you voted for them to do.
This is the year of a presidential election and the candidates are already looking towards college students. We are essential to how this upcoming election goes and the presidential candidates have noticed this. We made a good appearance in 2018 and need to keep that momentum going in 2020. According to the Washington Post, 40.3 percent of the voters in 2018 were college students which is a 21.1 percent increase from 2014. If enough college students like us go out and vote to affect the issues you care about, you can bring this change that you want for our country. But, you cannot fall for the trap of putting party over what is good for the country and what could benefit you in the long run. The politicians are already doing that to us and we need to vote them out of office. Be informed of the platform for each of the candidates. Voting is a civic duty and we have to do our part of being responsible voters.