Since the mid-1800s, Americans have embraced the two party system. Republicans and Democrats battling for political power every two, four, and six years. But before the time of the two party system, there were decades of various political parties that would split, morph, and disappear. Eventually, these numerous parties would transform into the Republican and Democratic parties we see today, but recent political events could change the party landscape once again.
The Democratic party and the Democratic Socialist party are trying to survive separately, the Republican party and their once fiscally conservative principles no longer matchup – sending more Americans to the Libertarian party, and those that don’t fit in any of those parties consider themselves Independents. Americans that identify as Independents are at all-time highs, while those who identify as Republican and Democrat are at all-time lows.
With seemingly no “unifyer” for either political party, could we be seeing the beginning of another reorganization of America’s political parties?
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), once considered a rising star in the Republican party, said in a tweet that he “regularly” considers leaving the Republican Party, responding to a follower who said she switched parties from Democratic to no party. Asked about his remarks on MSNBC’s Morning Joe after the viral tweet, Sasse said, “I think most people in both parties right now, their main long-term interest in Washington is their own incumbency. And, that’s not really what I’m that interested in. Most of the stuff I care about isn’t right vs. left. It’s past vs. future.”
Before the 2016 election, a GenFoward poll revealed that young Americans don’t feel represented by Republicans or Democrats. Rather, placing causes they believe in over traditional political parties.
At 46, Senator Sasse is slightly older than the millennial generation. But his “past vs. future” comment provides great insight into the reshaping of America’s political landscape as younger generations’ political influence grows. One place where this could have a major impact is our country’s $110 trillion in unfunded liabilities (mainly unpaid for Social Security and Medicare promises). Eventually, the bill will come due, and since the boomer generation has failed to update entitlement programs to make then financially sound, it will be future Americans paying for this generation’s excesses. That could spell trouble for the current left vs right two-party system as it could change to a young vs old two-party system.
Given the lack of great options in this year’s midterm elections, the next Congress will feature much of the same players – no matter which party wins. Leaders of both parties have made it clear that the next generation’s financial future is not a priority. Might the next Congress be the final Congress before younger generations change the political landscape forever?
The current generation in Congress can avoid this political change if they do what previous generations did for them, leave America a better place than they found it. However, if Congress continues the status quo – mortgaging future generations’ prosperity for this generation’s prosperity – young Americans will have no choice but to look out for their own interests. As many have said before, you reap what you sow.