America’s two party problem

As division in America increases, it’s clear our two party system isn’t working.

American political parties of the modern era are what was feared at the very beginnings of this country. It was thought at the constitutional convention by George Washington that political parties, were they to emerge, would be subject to corruption and would swing the balance of power.
There was a time, several decades ago, when America’s two-party system was praised for its moderation. Unlike European parliamentary democracies where “dogmatic ideological parties” of Europe thrived, America’s winner-take-all electoral system seemed to reward and therefore encourage parties and candidates with a much broader, more national-level appeal. No party, it was argued, could simply give up on half of the possible voting population.
Unfortunately, this argument and the subsequent time period no longer applies to the current political landscape.
The nation faces all sorts of serious problems, from growing inequality movements and protests to international terrorism, but the bitter fight between Democrats and Republicans has largely brought the government to a halt. Partisans on both sides are so angry with each other they can barely speak with the other party, much less work together in any sort of meaningful capacity. The most extreme are convinced that members of the other party are treasonous and purposefully harming the nation.
This is not just a perception problem, either. A Pew Research survey found that 36 percent of Republicans thought that liberal policies are “a threat to the nation’s well-being,” while 27 percent of Democrats feel the same way about conservatives. They do not just think they have better ideas or their opponents are misguided; this is an entire sect of people who honestly believe that the other side is more interested in partisan gain than the well-being of the nation.
These two parties cannot be challenged realistically, not without some random coalition of people from both sides, which as already stated, not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do.
The amount of power and influence these parties have almost completely invalidates any third-party or minor party candidates running for office; they would and are overshadowed by larger candidates with a larger base.
Obviously this is an issue that does not really have one correct answer. There are a lot of things that could happen to shift this sort of political landscape, but the likelihood of such a thing is very low. It is very important to democracy to keep those smaller candidates in mind; it is one of the fundamental things democracy is about, giving everyone a voice.