In the United States, two political parties dominate our government: the democrats and republicans. As each successive election gets more and more tumultuous, and each party succumbs to scandals and corruption, many people call for more than two political parties to have a major voice in the American political scene. Their concerns are valid; we are getting stuck in a stalemate of who’s side is winning rather than pulling from multiple perspectives on how to improve the country. If one party has complete control over all branches of the government, then the views of the other half will never be heard.
However, the concept of multiple political parties with no real majority poses threats to democracy as well. In the Weimar Republic, Germany had a plethora of political parties that stood on a spectrum from the extreme left to the extreme right. No one party had a decisive majority. On the left, the Spartacus League, the USDP, and later the KPD were pushing towards total socialism- Russian revolution style. In the middle, the SDP, DDP, and Catholic Center were committed to a democratic republic but wanted less of a radicalized change. On the right, the DVP, DNVP, and NSDAP were interested in maintaining the status quo, continuing imperialism, and have anti-semitic feelings.
However, even within the left, right, and center, the parties didn’t agree on many things. The SPD abandoned many of its immediate socialist ideals in order to transition from an imperial government to a democratic government. This isolated many of its proletariat supporters, who quickly moved to more radical left parties. The political fragmentation lead to many issues being contested, a constitution that no one quite believed in, and a crumbling republic. This is apparent during the rule of Brüning and Hindenburg. Weitz explains that, “The Reichstag couldn’t decide on any major issue, and Hindenburg kept invoking article 48” (123). The people lost faith in the democratic system and the republic, which provided a perfect opportunity for the Nazi party to take control.
The two party system in America is far from ideal; however, it is also foolish to believe that having multiple parties would solve all the problems that exist within our government.