Political Impotence and Duopoly Strategy

The implosion and fragmentation of the Republican Party coalition following its electoral defeats in 2008 continue to worry advocates of the two-party state. An opinion piece at the Harvard Crimson wonders why the party of Lincoln has proven incapable of mounting an adequate opposition to the Obama administration and the Democrats' congressional majorities.
Ever since its early division between Federalists and anti-Federalists, the United States has prided itself on possessing a two-party system. Lately, however, this model has begun to seem outdated—while the Democrats enjoy their new place in office, a serious challenge from the GOP is nowhere to be found.
At the Examiner, Boye' A. Coker explains that the roots of the GOP's political impotence stretch back into the second half of the twentieth century:
The crux of the GOP's mantra on personal responsibility - a "small government" built on enduring and fiscally responsible policies, as well as a "strong defense", has always appealed to me. The problem though is that the GOP, Reagan included, has left the nation in debilitating debt each time they have been in power, thus betraying their own ideals and in the process eroding the confidence many had reposed in them . . . That the usurpers of the party of Lincoln see nothing wrong in America spearheading torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay while forcefully defending the same tactics used by the Nazi and imperialistic Japanese soldiers shows just how much the GOP, as presently constituted, is not the party to lead this nation . . . I am not one of those that wants the GOP to die away, on the contrary, like the true democrats that I and most Americans are, I very much want a vibrant two-party system like we've always had as I believe it is healthy for our democracy. The GOP as it currently stands, however makes that increasingly less likely.
However, the two-party system and the corresponding ideology of the duopoly, which buttresses and helps to reproduce it, ensures that even the most discredited politicians and policy positions retain their relative positions of power. As Thomas Frank notes in the Wall Street Journal:
the current round of folly does not necessarily mean that the Republican Party is finished. The GOP has bounced back before and it will assuredly do so again. After all, it is one half of a political duopoly. The two-party system guarantees it a good chance of getting back into the White House in 2012 regardless of what kind of bloodletting it engages in today.

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