The Corrupt Two Party System

James Bryce, who later became the British ambassador to the U.S., had an interesting take on the corrupt two party system in the U.S.

Bryce, James. 1895. The American Commonwealth (London: Macmillan).

II, p. 21: “The great parties are the Republicans and the Democrats. What are their principles, their distinctive tendencies? …. This is what a European is always asking of intelligent Republicans and intelligent Democrats. He is always asking because he never gets and answer. The replies leave him in deeper perplexity. After some months the truth begins to dawn upon him. Neither party has anything definite to say on these issues; neither party has any principles, any distinctive tenets. Both have traditions. Both claim to have tendencies. Both have certainly war cries, organizations, interests enlisted in their support. But those interests are in the main interests of getting or keeping the patronage of the government …. All has been lost, except office or the hope of it.”


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