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The Tyranny of the Two-Party System (Power, Conflict, and Democracy


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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Tyranny of the Two-Party System The Politics of Electoral Fusion 1994-1997 The Politics of the Two-Party System The Two-Party System: A Genealogy of a Catchphrase The Teleological Temporality of the Two-Party System Oppositional Democracy and the Promise of Electoral Fusion Beyond the Tyranny of the Two-Party System

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Is the two-party system an immutable and indispensable aspect of our democracy? Disch maintains that it is not, arguing that the two-party system wastes the votes and silences the voices of dissenters. Disch argues in favor of reviving a once popular nineteenth century democratic strategy called "fusion" in which a dominant-party candidate typically ran on the ballots of both the established party and a third party in a general election. She concludes with an analysis of the 2000 presidential election as an object lesson in the tyranny of the two-party system and with suggestions for reform.

About the Author

Lisa Jane Disch is associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota and author of Hannah Arendt and the Limits of Philosophy.


Disch's book is strong and unique as it strays from many of the traps that plague third-party literature. Her book does not focus solely on a single party in an attempt to generalize from a unique example, nor does it fall prey to the "easy answer" syndrome: telling the reader why a third party erupted and why it could no longer retain its electoral viability. Disch presents a refreshingly unconventional take on American party history that is unique within this genre of party literature. -- Spencer Jones Congress and the Presidency Disch argues for the legal acceptibility of 'fusion' tickets in which candidates can appear on ballots as nominees of more than one party. Choice Fascinating and colorful -- Brian Doherty Reason [T]his book is a critique of the current partisan organization of American politics, its legal and institutional underpinnings, and a celebration of 'third party' alternatives to the political status quo... Disch provides both an interesting story of one reform effort and an enlightening analysis of how the status quo came to be. -- Keith E. Whittington Perspectives on Politics

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