Declarations of Independence

One meme which has begun gaining discursive traction over the last week or so among apologists for the duopoly is that the United States 'needs a two-party system, not a one-and-a-half party system.' Popularized by those who get their talking points from right-wing radio (in this case, Mark Steyn sitting in for Rush Limbaugh), it has become something of a slogan among Republicans seeking to consolidate their party's activist base while pushing back against arguments in favor of moderation. In addition, it likely also constitutes a rearguard action aimed at stemming the loss of support among conservatives who have disabused themselves of the notion that the GOP represents a reliable, functional and conservative opposition to the Democratic Party. At the present juncture, the latter appears to be no small task.

J.D. Longstreet, writing at Small Gov Times, takes the long view and calls on conservatives to seek out alternatives to the duopoly machine:
we can remain in the Republican Party and hope for change within the GOP, (that option, I’m afraid is the same as sitting on the sidelines and watching!) or, we can try to create a third party, a “rescue” party, if you will.
Such an outlook is strictly opposed to the so-called realist position (that is, defeatism in the guise of pragmatism) which cannot conceive politics outside of the frame established by the ideology of the duopoly. Jay Henderson at Annuit Coeptis provides us with an example of the latter:
Here is the unavoidable reality of modern American politics: the electoral system has been monopolized by the two major parties . . . Just as ambitious, capable liberals moved into the Democratic Party, ambitious, capable conservatives will move into the Republican Party, if only because there is no better place to go.
There is, however, ample evidence that many among the US electorate do not desire to follow the orders of the political directorate wherever they may lead. The rise of an independent majority may, of itself, raise a new consciousness of political power among those who are disenfranchised by the two-party system. Coloranter Raver makes the case:
As a staunch Independent, I believe the time has come for us to assert some of our power despite the fact that we technically have no representation in our government under a Congress beholden to a two party system.
What are the conditions (at local, state and national levels) under which independents are likely to break with the two-party system?

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