Political scientist Sam Rosenfeld on the construction of America’s two-party system.

America’s Two-Party System Didn’t Evolve Naturally. It Was Built.

America’s Two-Party System Didn’t Evolve Naturally. It Was Built.

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
May 22 2018 9:03 AM

Two-Party Problems

Republicans and Democrats dominate political life in the U.S., and that bipartisan division didn’t evolve naturally. It was engineered.

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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Sen. Chuck Schumer talk outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington in 2016.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

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In the interview, our two-party system may seem inevitable, but political scientist Sam Rosenfeld digs into its engineered history, including the 1950 government report that pushed the country “Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System.” Before then, what you thought about health care, guns, or abortion had little to do with where your vote went. Rosenfeld is the author of The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era.

In the Spiel, the latest school shooter didn’t raise any red flags or wield an AR-15. But gun control is still what we need.

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Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.