Political parties play a very important role in a country, especially in a democracy, where elections are proven to constitute true competition between two or more candidates who are supported by such groups or are running independently. In the US, there is what we call the 2-party system, which means that there are 2 major parties dominating the government and the elections. Though this political system has many benefits in promoting good for the country, it does not come without any criticism. Here are the pros and cons of having political parties:
List of Pros of Political Parties
1. They provide balance in accommodating of various opinions and interests.
Political parties are organized groups that have different political views, which make it important for them to make decisions that will favor all opinions and interests to maintain loyalty among their supporters.
2. They can present political information to the voting population in a readily understandable manner.
This means that there will be order as the broad political philosophy of the groups will be represented. This results to the voting population becoming aware of both parties’ stance on certain issues that are to be brought out by their respective candidates.
3. They can prevent unexpected shifts in political trends threatening government stability.
As for the US, the 2-party system has helped promote government stability, as there are only be 2 parties sharing power, which can change coalitions or dissolve immediately. Now, if voters disagreeing on a certain political issue would generally understand which candidate represent more important issues that need more attention, discouraging them from giving up their support. Moreover, elected officials would have time to focus on long-term policies that provides benefits to the public.
List of Cons of Political Parties
1. They could encourage corruption.
In a 2-party system, there will be a tendency that parties would distribute money to the electorate in order to secure votes for their candidates, who would also make promises only to persuade voters into electing them. Elected candidates might also place people who supported them in a higher position in exchange for their votes.
2. They might create factionalism.
A country with political parties could render politics artificial, where there exists animosity between the groups, making it possible for occasional riots and insurrection to occur. As a result, citizens would also be forced to form factions as they could not agree on certain aspects. There may also be parties that force people to support and share their views blindly, without having their own individual opinions on the matter because they are expected to follow what they are told by their respective parties.
3. They can have a selfish propaganda that has the potential to hurt national interest.
When political parties carry personal interests and propagandas that would benefit only a few, it can destroy the political environment of the country. And when they care more for their members, rather than the entire country, it can also disturb peace and order.
When properly managed, political parties can encourage citizens into participating during elections, ensuring that appointed officials would serve the majority, and not only the few. However, there are also disadvantages to consider, that is why it is important to look into the pros and cons of this system.