Latest Issue

The two-party system is dysfunctional, outdated—but worth hanging on to

The alternatives look shiny and spontaneous but they’re oligarchy in disguise

By Eliane Glaser   July 2019

Photo: Pure populism: Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement inspired Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party

The two-party system, I keep hearing, is no longer fit for purpose. It is dysfunctional and obsolete. “You can’t put jump-leads on a dinosaur,” as the writer John Harris put it recently. 

I don’t love political parties. Their meetings are tedious, they bombard you with emails, and the other members are often objectionable. But to those who want to sweep them away, I say: be careful what you wish for. The alternatives may look shiny…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect