Internal Exclusion

There is no lack of evidence to support the proposition that the duopoly parties systematically exclude third party interests from everyday political discourse and activity, while framing this disenfranchisement as a triumph of democracy and non-partisan law-making. As Douglas Schoen recently wrote in a piece on the potential for third party activism on the conservative right: "the two major parties, who appear to disagree on virtually everything, agree on the need to keep any alternatives off of the ballot." However, it should also be noted that such exclusionary policies and practices are not confined to eliminating external threats to the order of the duopoly. Two-party discipline also necessitates what we may call internal exclusions, which maintain the 'integrity' (and I use this term loosely) of the established structure of power.

This is especially clear in the case of Massachusetts. The stated goal of the Patriot Initiative blog, for instance, is "to restore a two party system in Massachusetts and beyond," which, of course, means the resurrection of the Republican Party in liberal New England. Aside from the fact that such endeavors are greeted with opposition from Republicans nationally, who are loath to placate so-called RINOS (i.e. Republicans-in-name-only, see, for instance, the reception of Rockefeller Republican's prescriptions by the folks at RedState), there are in addition entrenched local and state interests which do not appreciate any encroachments onto their own turf. Sam Adams at the Patriot Initiative writes of the MA Republican Party:
The ineptitude of this party's leadership, from the entrenched State Committee members who treat their positions as an exclusive social club designed to keep people OUT, instead on bringing people IN, to the local party Chairs who have seen their active members dwindle to the point of some clubs not even meeting or disbanding, is KILLING any chance for growth in our ranks.
A case in point is supplied by Bobby Constantino at The Dot, who launched a long-shot Republican campaign in MA to unseat an incumbent House Democrat in 2006, and recognizes it now as a dreadful error:
I had no idea what I was getting into. My friends and former colleagues distanced themselves from me. People I didn't know avoided me. Even the people in the State Republican Party treated me like a plague, looking at me like I was from Mars when I talked about the things I had seen in Roxbury. I thought I was being bold and brave and doing something meaningful when I decided to run. Instead, I now know that I put my career on the line for, well, nothing. (Emphasis added.)
The two party system maintains and reproduces itself by means of external exclusions possible only on the basis of the bipartisan front, as well as internal exclusions which consolidate the power of party elites via the discipline of the good old boys and girls clubs.

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