In American political rhetoric, one-party dominance refers to one political party wielding too much clout without being challenged by a rival party. One-party dominance is generally considered a bad thing in terms of American democracy–it’s usually associated with political corruption or inequality with regard to political representation. A Republican controlled White House, House of Representatives, and Senate would be considered an example of one-party dominance, and would likely lead to poor political representation of people who don’t agree with Republican political ideals.
One-party dominance also occurs in countries that subscribe to a parliamentary system of government. Even if there are multiple political parties represented in parliament, there are multiple factors that can contribute to the ongoing legislative dominance of a single party.
One modern example to demonstrate what one-party dominance entails would be Zimbabwe. President Mugabe’s political party, ZANU, controls a majority of the seats in parliament despite marked opposition to his rule. His party controls the state-owned media as well as security forces, both of which havebeen used to ensure their maintenance of seats in the parliament. In past elections, Mugabe was accused of deploying security forces to hunt down supporters of opposition parties, and intimidate them into not voting. The state-controlled media has also been used to suppress opposition support by not allowing them to host television advertisements, for example, until a few days before elections were set to take place.
So, in short, one-party dominance means that one political party holds most, if not all, of the political clout in a multiparty state. Just because one party is dominant, however, does not necessarily mean that the majority of the population supports that party; coercive means are sometimes used to maintain the dominance of a single party.
(citation: currently taking a Southern African Politics class)
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