Stepping Aside

Newt Gingrich has sparked a fair amount of chatter with his recent warning that the Republican Party is vulnerable to a third party insurgency in the coming years. The reactions on both sides of the duopoly prove instructive, and expose the difficulty of breaking through the two-party delusion.

Here's one example. At the Huffington Post Dan Sweeney ironically agrees with the former Speaker of the House, and current television talking head. He writes,
Maybe Newt Gingrich is right. Maybe it's time to start thinking outside the two-party-system box. But Gingrich is mistaken about a mere third-party run. I think we need about ten of them, maybe more. Proportional representation, instant run-off voting, all the multi-party system goodies.
Maybe? Despite his suspicions, in the deed Sweeney is unable to wiggle his way out of the two-party strait-jacket, admitting that bringing about such change would be virtually impossible. But the reasoning behind this thought is telling. He continues,
Of course, as both political parties stand to lose from such a system, it would find no one in Washington to get behind it.
In other words: we need a strong multiparty system to counteract the pernicious effects of two-party rule at both federal and state levels. But the Republican and Democratic parties would never go along with it. So it'll never happen. The contradiction here is readily apparent: this is exactly the point of breaking with two party rule! Of course they wouldn't go along with it. It would undermine their hold on power and the influence of their corporate bosses, their special interests, and their party machines. It would reveal the extent to which they instrumentalize the constitution, the law and mechanisms of government in the interest of augmenting their own power and influence, to the detriment of the people they supposedly represent. They will not willingly step aside. They have to be pushed aside.

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