When one party rule is discussed, it is often in the context of European socialist and communist states or other systems based on Marxist ideology. One party rule is a political system and state where a single political party rules and where opposition political parties are precluded from rule. In the United States we are blessed to have a republic with three co-equal branches of government. We also have two major political parties that give the people a choice as to how they are to be governed. This system has served us well in the past when liberals and conservatives were found in both political parties. There were conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans in various geographical regions. Congressional representatives had to appeal to a diverse electorate in order to win. While electoral districts were not politically divided evenly, no particular point of view could be completely ignored. We currently live in an environment where it is very difficult for an elected member of a political party to side with or support any action promoted by the opposite party. To do so courts a primary challenge. An official who dares do his or her duty can face the wrath of the party. Congresswoman Liz Cheney was first elected in 2016 on a platform of pursuing conservative solutions to help create jobs, cut taxes and regulation, expand America’s energy, mining and ag industries and restoring America’s strength and power in the world. She was a highly respected member of the Republican establishment with a 77% lifetime conservative voting record rated by Heritage Action until she challenged President Donald Trump. From a leadership position of respect and good standing, Congresswoman Cheney has become the most unpopular Republican in the country among GOP voters. While she is still the archconservative she has always been, she has run afoul of strict party adherence required to be a member of the Republican Party. Maybe it doesn’t matter if a political party demands complete loyalty but recent events suggest something different. In a recent editorial by Dana Milbank, using data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, he found that since the ready availability of the COVID vaccine, 14 states with the highest death rates per 100,000 were all run by Republican governors. This included Florida, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wyoming, In many of those states, not only were the governors Republican but they also controlled one or both legislative houses. The states with the lowest death rates from COVID were all run by Democrats. A graphic example of the differences was found in Florida where the death rate among residents was three times higher than California and 212 times higher than New York.
We as a nation need a two party system to promote democracy and sometimes to save our lives. The Founding Fathers knew that power concentrated in the hand of the few leads to tyranny. One party rule is the first step towards ignoring the will of the people. We benefit from having a functioning two party system where checks and balances are intact. No one wins when one party is allowed to call all the shots. Even when the other side wins in an election, it is reassuring that the rule of law will prevail and that in the next election, your side can prevail. In Russia today, the people do not have the opportunity to hear dissenting voices. Putin can say that there is no war in Ukraine and the government there is controlled by Nazis. Most of the Russian people believe him because information is highly restricted. A young Russian man living in Ukraine called his father in Russia and told him Putin was not telling the truth. The father said, “I don’t believe you. What you are telling me is false.” We can see the insidious nature of one-man and one party rule. It was the late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas who quipped, “Without accountability, tyranny thrives,” and he was right.