Political Parties are groups of like minded individuals who band together under their common ideals to raise obscene amounts of money and argue endlessly with each other.
The Modern Democratic Party was started due to a split in the Democratic-Republican party over who should succed President James Monroe. Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren managed to form a lasting coalition. Van Buren appealed to everyone's love of big fluffy side burns, and Jackson appealed to everyone's love of not being shot by Andrew Jackson.
The Democratic Party fractured during the civil war, some joined the emerging Republican Party, while southern Democrats stayed home and sat on their porch swings, slowly fanning themselves while sipping mint juleps and repeatedly exclaiming "It sho' is hot today.". Democrats managed to retain power in the south by appealing to resentment to reconstruction and making really strong mint juleps.
The shift in the Democratic Party to more left leaning social policies began with the election of Woodrow Wilson and continued by Franklin Roosevelt. Opponent's of Roosevelt's New Deal called themselves Conservatives and immediatly began telling anyone that would listen that (insert Democratic Policy Here) was going to destroy America, a tradition that continues to this day.
The unofficial mascot of the Democratic Party is a donkey. Andrew Jackson was referred to as a jackass during the election of 1828 and a political cartoonist of the time drew him riding on a donkey. Jackson shot the cartoonist six times, tied his corpse to a donkey, and then shot the donkey. Andrew Jackson also enjoyed illegal donkey shows. If you don't know what I'm talking about consider yourself lucky.
The Republican Party was started in 1854 by a combination of anti slavery activists and people who wern't cool enough to hang out with the Democrats. The young party achieved sucsess right out of the gate with the 1860 election of... oh, hell... what was his name? It doesn't matter, I guess. I'm sure he didn't do anything important.
Republicans then turned on the cruise control. Basically taking credit for the post cival war economic boom, and gaining sympathy following the assasination of... whats-his-name. They became the party of big buisness, except for Teddy Roosevelt, who was a trust buster, conservationalist, and basically a paragon of awsomeness.
The Republicans experienced a reemergence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Five of our past eight presidents have been Republicans. They include a paranoid lunatic, a bumbling buffoon, a grandfatherly ex B-movie actor, a wimp, and the wimp's drooling moron of a son. That's a legacy to be proud of.
The mascot of the Republican Party is an elephant, a refrence to the Republican tradition of crushing anything that gets in their way.
America has a long tradition of rugged individualists who refuse to bow to the established parties and heroicly set out on their own to change this nation for the better. The established parties respond by ignoring them and crushing them so hard in national elections, all that remains is a viscous red goo. Only three such parties currently have over 100,000 registered voters. Let's point at them and laugh.
The Constitution Party: A hardcore, right wing, anti-immigration, anti-abortion, anti-income tax party. I assume their membership emerges from their bomb shelters every four years to dutifully vote for whoever they dug up to run for president.
The Green Party: Basically, the polar opposite of the Constitution Party. Peace, love, and mother earth. Try not to gag on the foul stink of pachouli.
The Libertarian Party: They believe the goverment should have minimal interferance in a person's life. Sounds good until you're washing down that salmonela tainted chicken with tap water full of mercury.
And ther are so many others! The America First Party! The First America Party! The Bachelor Party! The House Party! The House Party 2!(a.k.a The Pajama-Jammy-Jam) The list goes on and on, but since most people probably stopped reading this by the second paragraph I'm going to stop here, and let the angry comments roll in.
Democrats and Republicans are veiwed by some as two sides of the same coin. Using the passions of the electorate* to garner votes while remaining beholden to the massive corporations that fill their coffers every election cycle. These people are just being paranoid.
Just look at the last presidential election. One of the biggest issues was the need for financial reform. Is there anything suspicious about both presidential canadates accepting campaign money from the very financal giants this legisltion would effect? Is it odd that five such companies (Goldman sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan, UBS, and Morgan Stanley) wound up among the largest contributors to both canidates? Are campaign contributions little more than legal bribes? Of course not. Again, these people are being paranoid. These people really need to get out more.
*Passions of the Electorate is also the name of a romance novel co-written by Danielle Steel and Glenn Beck. It's release has been delayed due to it being, according to one Simon & Schuster editor, "bad enough to cause cancer".
Will the future be a corruption free utopia, where members of both political parties put aside their petty diffrences to enact the will of the people? Or will politicians eventually be so beholden to corporate intrests that they start wearing various product logos on their suits, like NASCAR drivers? Or will oil reserves run out, leaving the country a barren wasteland, where elections are decided in The Thunderdome?
Ha Ha! It's fun to wildly speculate! Let's face it though, things will probably remain the same. Even the most pure intentioned, good hearted politicians are eventually seduced by the twin whores of money and power. Third parties never gain momentum due to thier extreme ideologies and their lack of funding and exposure. So enjoy our two party system and remember, the system isn't perfect but things could be a lot worse.