When someone in the U.S. brings up the possibility that there could be more than two major political parties, people get all glassy-eyed and run for the nearest shot of Jägermeister. In America we think that, in the natural world, humans have two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, and two political parties. Of course, we have the Green Party but for most people that is like an eyelash or something.
In general, people look at a multiparty system as if it were some mutant with eight legs, one eye, and five arms. The Fact of the matter is, most countries have many major political parties. The UK has three major parties and Brazil has 21.
But could we be in for a change? In this year's presidential election I really believe that there should have been four parties, each a splinter of the two major parties, each with its own candidate. It didn't work out that way, but maybe we are seeing some ideological/class/social divides that will eventually turn into splinter parties. Here are the four hypothetical parties and their constituencies:
1) The Progressive Party (Barack Obama) - brings together the odd assortment of yuppies, young idealists, educated do-gooders, african americans, hipsters, and hippies.
2) The Labor Party (Hilary Clinton) - "working class" liberals, latina/o laborers, older moderates.
3) The Defense Party (John McCain/Mitt Romney) - fiscal conservatives, older conservatives still wedded to big bombs and Cold War era defense, army veterans, older secular conservatives, young libertarians.
4) The Conservative Party (Mike Huckabee) - social conservatives, religious right.
This may never happen, but what if it did....someday.