Duopoly Ideology: Unchecked, Imbalanced

It is an axiom of duopoly ideology that the two-party system effectively functions as an extra-constitutional check on the power of government. Indeed, some go so far as to claim that the two-party system itself constitutes a system of checks and balances. This piece of conventional wisdom asserts that the two-party system mediates and moderates ideological extremes: if one party forgoes compromise and "overreaches," as they say, its representatives will simply be voted out of office and the other side will come to power; hence the system necessitates compromise, resulting in centrist policy. However, as even the most careless reader of the US Constitution should know, it takes at least three powers to constitute a system of checks and balances. Perhaps one might object here that the people constitute the third power in the two-party system, functioning as a check and balance against each of the parties if not also against their collusion. Yet, the people are not functionally separate from the parties, and are even functionalized by them as the third term in the dialectic of the duopoly. In a detailed article at Campaign for Liberty on the continuity between the Obama and Bush administrations, at least so far as the expansion of government power is concerned, Anthony Gregory provides us with a picture of this scenario:
The bipartisan warfare-welfare state in America relies upon a very insidious ideological consequence of the two-party system . . . we have a large segment of America convinced that Obama poses a threat in that he wants to expand his power at home while retracting it abroad, while the other large segment is more critical of foreign adventurism but intent on moving toward domestic socialism. This twisted dynamic allows for government to grow in most directions under both parties . . . Given the stark similarities between both political parties . . . it will not do for folks to condemn Obama as Big Brother and a would-be dictator while simultaneously defending torture, more war, and the Bush administration; nor does it make sense to oppose Bush and all he stood for while virulently backing Obama, who's brandishing Bush's executive power grabs, continuing his foreign policy, bailing out the same financial interests and seeking to control more areas of our lives.
In other words, though the US Constitution was specifically composed to limit the powers of government, the two-party system and the ideology that sustains it essentially function as as check on the constitution, resulting in the potentially limitless expansion of government power to the detriment of both the constitution and the people of the United States.

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