What If America Had Six Political Parties?

Source: In These Times
by Mark Engler & Paul Engler

“In his 1963 book The Deadlock of Democracy, political historian James MacGregor Burns offered a novel suggestion. Then as now, most academics agreed that America’s party system was an unusually stable one. Ever since the Civil War era, when the election of Abraham Lincoln helped to consolidate the dominance of two major political parties, Republicans and Democrats had ruled with relatively little outside contestation. But Burns saw things differently. America did not have two political parties, he argued, but four. In Burns’s formulation, each of the major parties was split into two branches (a ​’congressional wing’ and a ‘presidential wing’) and there could be significant tensions between the two. Today, the specific division that Burns highlighted has been largely forgotten by history. But his approach of surveying American politics by dividing it up into factions more nuanced than ‘Democrat’ and ​’Republican’ has been much more resilient.” (06/09/22)