By Editor-in-chief
updated 12/20/2006 11:04:31 AM ET 2006-12-20T16:04:31

It’s not just angry voters who wonder whether America’s two-party political system has outlasted its usefulness. Even party-bred politicians like Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, say the binary model is broken.

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“The system has become so polarized it’s paralyzed” in Washington, the Republican told community members via video. “You have parties that essentially don’t work together to solve problem, and I think people in America are not so much looking for an ideological government, they’re looking for a problem-solving government.”

Huckabee is one of five panelists answering this week’s Hot Issue question for the community: Is America’s two-party system broken? “I think it arguably is because it’s not producing for us the kind of resolution of difficult issues that we need,” said former White House press secretary Mike McCurry, a Democrat. “I think what we need is a new politics of the center now, that with the right kind of charismatic candidate, could lead to the development of a third party. I think that may happen as we look ahead to 2008.”

Huckabee and McCurry are hearing little argument from community members at, an issues-based social networking site. A regular at the site who goes by the username “ctbob” said there are a number of alternative parties, but the question is whether they can break the monopoly held by Democrats and Republicans. “I think yes if a party has the better widget. (Ross) Perot almost became president until he fell apart” in the 1992 presidential race. “I am convinced if there was really a better alternative out there, money would not be a problem.”

Some, like “wamoshii,” said the two major parties shouldn’t shoulder the blame. “The system is not the problem. Rather, it is the unengaged electorate that is the problem,” he wrote.

Mary Matalin, a veteran GOP strategist who joined McCurry and Huckabee on the Hot Issue panel, said there are problems with the current system, but it basically works. “Is the two-party system broken? It’s one of those questions posed by people who have never lived or worked in a country that had a multi-party system, which often times collapses into chaos, calamity, and cacophony …,” she said.

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