The contemporary political structure of the United States functions as a two-party system dominated by the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. These two parties attract a large majority of votes in all municipal, state, and federal elections and have done so consistently since the era of the American Civil War (1861–1865). A Republican or Democrat has won the presidency in every quadrennial election since 1852, and one party or the other has held a controlling presence in every session of Congress since 1856.
Supporters of the two-party system cite advantages such as the dominance of moderate policy, as it prevents candidates with extreme views from gaining traction among large numbers of voters. The system also usually leads to voter...Read more