Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Party Politics in the United States

By Sam Blumenfeld
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #83, 2008.

Pin It

Sam Blumenfeld


If you want to become politically active or run for office, you will have to join a political party. True, you can run as an Independent, but you will not get many votes unless you have high recognition nationally and in your community. Also, some states place great obstacles to independent candidacies. State legislatures are run by political parties, and they don’t like competition from independents.

The two-party system has been an American political fixture virtually from the very beginning of our political life. Although George Washington tried to discourage the creation of “party spirit” (meaning political factions), it was inevitable that politicians would line up against one another along ideological lines.

Our two dominant parties generally represent the opposing tendencies of our fundamental political philosophy: between those who believe that the government that governs best adheres to the principles of a Constitutional republic by governing least, and those who believe that government should actively do more to advance the welfare of the people, such as in a European-style Social Democracy. In short, the battle is basically between those who want less government in our lives, and those who like government power and want a lot more of it.

The Founding Fathers were so concerned with preserving individual freedom in America that they crafted a form of government with checks and balances to prevent any despot from becoming a dictator. Added to the Constitution was a Bill of Rights to make sure that politicians could not legislate beyond the limits set by our fundamental law.

The result is that we have a Constitution that George Bernard Shaw characterized as a “Charter of Anarchism.” He said in a lecture in 1933 that we had “a political party machinery of legislatures and senates, which was so wonderfully devised that when you sent in one body of men to govern the country, you sent in another body of men along with them to prevent their doing it.”

Today, we call that situation “gridlock.” Gridlock currently is the main recourse the American people have to prevent laws being passed that go beyond what is acceptable to any large segment of our population.

Today, party politics has been intensified by the extensive use of the electronic media. Radio, television, and the Internet have transformed politics into an ongoing debate between candidates and party policies. The media must fill their time with entertainment of all kinds, and politics has become a kind of intellectual entertainment. The Sunday morning talk-shows are supposed to educate the viewers, but they’ve actually become showcases for political personalities and panelists.

Journalists appearing on television are now celebrities with views we all take seriously. Because politics has been transformed into a kind of entertainment, even Hollywood stars have been putting their two cents into the political fray, though their input has been generally pretty superficial.

In any case, an organized political party is the best way to get involved in politics. Every community has its Democratic or Republican town committee. An aspiring homeschooled politician will want to get to know these individuals. You must start locally before you can become known to the state party officials. If they like you, they will back your candidacy.

If you don’t like what the two major parties stand for, there are always the smaller third parties. Some of these third parties can have a strong influence on the major parties. For example, the Socialist Party, which offered the never successful candidate Norman Thomas for many decades, eventually influenced the ideology of the Democratic Party. Today, the Democrat Party espouses many programs originally suggested by the Socialist Party.

Likewise, the Libertarian Party and the U.S. Taxpayer’s Party have had a strong influence on the Republican Party by emphasizing individual rights, low taxes, and smaller government.

Then, there are the spoiler parties, such as Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party and Ross Perot’s Reform Party. In both cases, by dividing the Republican vote they permitted the Democrats to gain the Presidency. Thus, the Bull Moose Party, which in 1912 split the Republican party and prevented Howard Taft from winning a second term, gave us liberal Woodrow Wilson, the Income Tax, and the Federal Reserve System. Ross Perot’s candidacy prevented Republican George H.W. Bush from winning a second term and gave us liberal Democrat Bill Clinton.

The reason why these smaller parties do not succeed in replacing any of the major parties is that they cannot raise the kind of funds that the major parties can. Big donors to political parties give money because they want access to political power in Washington.

So if you want to get involved in politics, you’ll have to make some important choices, and the earlier you start, the better.

Education expert Same Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics reading program is available Here. His latest book, The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection, is about the Shakespeare authorship mystery.


Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

Time4Learning University of Nebraska High School

Articles by Sam Blumenfeld

The Whole-Language Boondoggle

High School for Freedom!

Dyslexia: The Man-Made Disease

Teach Reading to the “Learning Disabled”

Uncle Sam Wants Your Child on his National Database

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Teach Reading to the "Learning Disabled"

Homeschooling and Charter Schools

Homeschoolers and Vouchers

The History of Public Education

College At Home

Learning from The "Old Dead Guys"

The Meaning of Educational Freedom

The Importance of Rote Learning

The Exodus Continues

A World Without Public School

The Benefits of Teaching History at Home

How to Tell Real from Phony Phonics?

Getting Started in Arithmetic

Teaching Arithmetic

Teaching the Alphabet

Teaching the Alphabet Sounds

Teaching Blends

Teaching Long Vowels

The History of Geometry Education

Never Bored Again

Learning Greek

How and Why to Teach Shakespeare

How to Get the Most Out of Homeschool Conventions

Forgotten American History: The Barbary Wars

Forgotten American History: God's Providence in the American Revolution

Forgotten American History: The Spanish-American War

Forgotten American History: The Great Awakening

Forgotten American History: Puritan Education

Colonial Education: The Free Market in Action

America Started with Educational Freedom

How Harvard Became Liberal

The Glory of the Alphabet

19th Century Communists & the Origin of American Public Education

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

It Pays to Know Your Legislator

Intelligent by Design

Teaching Kids to Enjoy Classical Music

Before Compulsory Education: The Private Academies

What Schools Teach: Then and Now

The Real Meaning of Easter

The Truth About Independence Day

The Benefits of Reading Biographies

Why We Celebrate Veterans Day

The Purposes of Education

Why Homeschoolers Should be Book Collectors

How History Was Taught Back Then

The American Almanac: A Great Learning Tool

The Fun of Going to an Antiques Auction

Politics and Homeschoolers: A Primer

A Novel Suggestion

Who Wrote Shakespeare?

Why Homeschoolers Should Learn Public Speaking

The Presidency

Party Politics in the United States

The Road to an American Independent Nation

George Washington: Our First President's First Term

George Washington: Our First President's Second Term

Celebrating Flag Day

Popular Articles

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

Bears in the House

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

Whole-Language Boondoggle

Laptop Homeschool

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

Critical Thinking and Logic

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Who Needs the Prom?

Phonics the Montessori Way

Teach Your Children to Work

University Model Schools

The Charlotte Mason Method

How to Win the Geography Bee

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

AP Courses At Home

Shakespeare Camp

I Was an Accelerated Child

Getting Organized Part 3

The History of Public Education

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

Teaching Blends

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

The Gift of a Mentor

The Charlote Mason Approach to Poetry

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

Montessori Math

A Reason for Reading

Character Matters for Kids

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

Classical Education

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Narration Beats Tests

Combining Work and Homeschool

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

The Benefits of Debate

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

Start a Nature Notebook

Myth of the Teenager