Dismantle the Duopoly

Duopoly ideology allows Republicans and Democrats to disagree on virtually everything, except, that is, for the necessity of maintaining the two-party system at all costs. In 'the ideological looking glass,' I pointed out the irony of the fact that, with the appropriate substitutions, the conservative Republican's critique of the GOP and the progressive Democrat's critique of the Democratic Party are virtually identical. Recognition of this similarity is the first step toward recognizing their shared interest in the dismantling of the two-party state. This common interest is underscored all the more by comparison of conservative and progressive critiques of the duopoly charade. Examples abound. At The Examiner, Scott Gibbs rails against the naivety of liberals and progressives who continue to believe that the Democratic Party is not fundamentally opposed to their interests and values:
I'm not talking about Democrats, screw Democrats. I'm talking about real liberals and progressives, the ones who would rather die than declare allegiance to one of the Big Two. I'm talking about the people who realized a long time ago that the two-party system is a sham. Who decided that the two parties have become so bloated and corrupt that whoever they toss into the national spotlight, whoever is crowned the “new rising star,” has already been bought and sold a hundred times over. Check inside the pants of the “new kid on the block” and I'll show you fresh castration scars.
Silent Majority is equally critical of conservatives' faith in the Republican Party to deliver on its pandering promises:
Where conservatives have failed is in identifying themselves with the festering pustule that is the Republican Party. They have failed in conveying why conservatism is different, at a fundamental level, than liberalism. They have failed because they have allowed liberals to define conservatism. Conservatives have allowed themselves to be cast as the party of the rich; the party of prejudice; the party of corporate corruption . . . We have allowed the Republican Party to wither and die on the vine. It has become nothing more than a convenient symbol for liberals to rally against. The current incarnation of the Republican Party is worthy only of reproach. The stereotypes attributed to conservatives are mostly true of the Republican Party; they are absolutely true of the Democratic Party.
Despite their radical differences of opinion on both foreign and domestic policy, principled conservatives and progressives agree that the two-party system is inimical to the interests of the people of the United States. The question, however, is whether and to what extent this common interest can be mobilized to dismantle the duopoly.


Samuel Wilson said...

The major parties frustrate ideologues because both aspire to be "big tents" and compromise their platform ideologies accordingly. They need to be "big tents" to win national elections. If ideological independent parties want to challenge the Bipolarchy, they face a choice of strategies. They could try to become national-scale ideological parties, but unless a critical mass of such parties emerges simultaneously, the big tents will beat them consistently. The other option is regionalism, concentrating on seizing power in a state or small number of states with a goal of forcing presidential elections to the House of Representatives, where small parties that control state delegations would have some kingmaking power. The second option would require everyone to get over an aversion to the Constitutional process designed to resolve multi-candidate elections and their simplistic equation of democracy with majority rule -- a habit of mind that favors the Bipolarchy.

d.eris said...

In the next few years, I think we'll see examples of both strategies at work. The Modern Whig and Constitution Parties are both waging national campaigns, while a number of states are witnessing the growth of local and state level Independent efforts.