Explain the similarities and differences between minor and major parties.
Despite major and minor parties being political parties, there is little that is the same about the two, and this is particularly true about their function in the political environment in the United States. The fact that the Republican Party and, for instance, the Green Party parties at all is mostly the make up of their similarities. Both parties come from the political socialization and social movements that are required of what may have been referred to as a “faction” by James Madison, and this is because the American democracy is built in a way that encourages this grouping of interests. Where the Republican Party, and Democratic Party for that matter, differs from the Green, Populist, and any number of other minor parties, is in the way that the two major parties have established themselves as essential to the DNA of the political process in the United States through a broad view of political leanings.
The broadness that exists in the major parties is important in understanding what separates the two major from the minor parties. This broadness gives the major parties access to more media, money, supporters, and ultimately more power (this power is enough power to sway government policy, the end goal of any party or interest group). Minor parties are stricken with a lack of funding, support, and notoriety because of the fact that their messages are typically too narrow to appeal to enough of the constituency. On the other hand, the major parties exist as different enough on most issues, but not radical enough to alienate voters. For instance, while Republicans typically support a strong military budget, Democrats are often concerned with reducing it a reasonable amount. These appeal to the majority of the voters on either side because American traditions lean toward a strong military, Greens, however, seek a vast, and radical reduction to military spending, which serves as too radical for a voter that may be disillusioned by other stances from the main parties. This seeming radicalism is what drives resources away from minor parties and into the major parties. It can be helpful to see the major parties as large coalitions of smaller interest groups or demographics, and minor parties as those groups that do not buy into either major party and are actively resisting them.