Issue Suppression and the Crisis of the American Party System: The Cost of Two-Party Duopoly
24 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2013 Last revised: 11 May 2013
Date Written: January 4, 2013
Paradoxically, the American party system is both highly polarized and unable to confront issues of vital importance. This paper examines the limitation of debate, and in some cases the complete absence of debate, on four major issues in the 2012 election: economic policy, climate change, international security, and -- paradoxically, given the strength of racial voting in that election -- race. The inability of the two-party system to provide choices on such issues is a serious restriction on popular sovereignty, and one indication that the system is in crisis. This revision of an earlier paper, which did not consider race as an issue, was presented at the 2013 annual conference of the New England Political Science Association, Portland ME, April 25-27, 2013.
Keywords: parties, politics, party system, minor parties, economic policy, climate, international security
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