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Two’s Company, but Three’s a Crowd

When I was younger, my mom constantly said this to me when I was asking friends to come over. “You don’t want anyone to be left out,” she would say or she would tell me “three, or any odd number really, is not a good number for inclusion”. Needless to say, the saying and the lesson behind it is permanently written on my brain and I am still weary of doing any sort of social thing in odd numbers.

In Paul Frymer’s book, Uneasy Alliances, he would argue against the popular saying “two’s company, but three’s a crowd” when applying it to the American two party system. The two-party system was set up with the hopes of promoting inclusion and democracy, but instead Frymer claims, “in their efforts to win elections, party leaders often resist mobilizing and incorporating blacks into the political system”(6). African Americans have been “electorally captured” by the Democratic party, meaning a majority of the group felt their interests represented best by this party and remained so loyal to it that the Republican party stopped appealing to this group. At this point, they are captured and “will often find its interests neglected by their own party leaders”(Frymer, 8). Due to the fact that African Americans are a minority and a strong majority of the group will undoubtedly vote democratically, party leaders “are likely to ignore the group as they compete for those voters ideologically closer to the majority of the nation’s voters” (Frymer, 8).

Parties have increased their contact with the people, mostly encouraging them to give money or time to a campaign, but party canvasing alone is a powerful tool for mobilization. Yet, African Americans are least likely to be contacted. This could be due to the lower incomes/lower levels of education or the belief that “mobilizing black voters hurts the chances with moderate white voters” therefore losing the majority of the swing voters, (Frymer, 137).

African Americans are not the only ones who have been “electorally captured” and then neglected. We have seen a similar thing happen with the homosexual group and the right wing Christians. All in all, I guess my mom was wrong because two is really a crowd.

Blair • September 27, 2016

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