On the Two Party System

Stephen Mauzy at American Thinker presents an argument against the Libertarian Party. It’s kind of an interesting argument, because it highlights the fact that big-L Libertarians are often not willing to compromise on their issues, and because of that, frequently suffer political defeat.

Working within the confines of the two-party system, of course, means not getting all of what you want when you want it. But headway can still be made, especially if one is willing to adopt a reverse-Fabianist tact.
Many libertarians are philosophically opposed to Milton Friedman’s school vouchers for two immediate reasons: One, government is still involved in education, and, two, subsidizing any good is market-distorting and costly. But that hasn’t tinned their ears to political reality. If the only choice is between the status quo of all public education or public and private education funded by vouchers, isn’t it sensible and self-interested to support the latter?
Removing that one brick offers the opportunity to remove another brick.  Perhaps a decade or two down the road, the choice elevates to vouchers or eliminating vouchers and property taxes, with the savings mandated toward education. Fabians embrace the eroding power of gradualism. Libertarians should, too.
What I found interesting is Mauzy’s defense of the two-party system that we currently employ. I often hear people complain about the two-party system, and I’ve been frustrated by it myself at times. Mauzy’s argument, however, makes a lot of sense, and made me think about the two-party system in a way I hadn’t before:
The United States is a two-party political country, and that’s not necessarily bad if we are going to hew the democratically officiated route. The U.S. system is more efficient than the multi-party systems of Western Europe. In the United States, political coalitions are formed before elections; across the Atlantic, they are formed after. Either way, coalitions must be formed, and coalitions demand compromise.
And that’s a view I hadn’t though of. In a European parliamentary system, a huge mess of parties compete and compromise for majority support after elections. In the end run, the extremist parties must compromise their positions to gain support of the majority coalition, which must also offer some concessions. But this happens after the elections, when support has been pledged by the voters for positions that it may not be possible to fulfill.
Here in America, the compromise phase operates during the primary elections and caucuses. So by the time a candidate goes up to be voted on, the people know what concessions and compromises have been made, and can account for that in their votes. When you look at it that way, the two-party system doesn’t sound that bad.
I wonder if it might be plausible to for actual “factions” or “committees” within the two dominant parties, that would function like “mini-parties” and allow for a clearer display of who espouses what positions and is willing to work with others to forge a party platform?

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