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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Attorney
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  Licensed Attorney, Public Speaker, Honors Graduate USMA.
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Why are the Democratic and Republican parties the only two

Resolved Question:

Why are the Democratic and Republican parties the only two major American political parties?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 7 years ago.
HelloCustomerand welcome to JustAnswer.

As a person with libertarian beliefs who would like to see the Libertarian Party achieve greater success, this question is of particular interest to me. I have voted for the Libertarian Party candidate for president four elections in a row now. At which news most people say that I am just wasting my vote.

This opinion is consistent with a theory developed by sociologist Maurice Duverger in the 1950's. He was of the opinion that a winner-take-all electoral system like ours will inevitably devolve into a two party system because a third party vote is almost always going to fail to gain any political power and will therefore be "wasted".

Since the winner takes everything, if you want your vote to have a chance of being for the successful candidate, you have to vote for one of the two major party candidates. And most people want their vote to count for something -- either helping their choice to win or at least blocking a disagreeable choice from doing so.

For a more detailed discussion of Duverger's theory, see this webpage:

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/Columns/?Article=TwoPartiesWhy

Thanks for asking your question here on JustAnswer. If you have any other questions, please let me know.

Edited by RunTam38 on 10/7/2009 at 11:10 AM EST
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