Media Bias and Independent Politics

Media bias against third party and independent perspectives unnecessarily limits the sphere of legitimate opinion to fit the ideological frame most conducive to the reproduction of the duopoly system of government. However, calls for consideration of alternatives to the impasse of Democratic-Republican politics just might be having an effect on the nation's duopolized dialogue. At Maine's Kennebec Journal, Kay Rand makes the case for an independent governor and greater consideration of independent candidates for executive office:
If credible candidates for governor choose to run as an independent, let's spend more time debating their positions and approach to solving important matters of public policy than on the question of whether an independent can govern. In fact, there are reasons why it's easier for an independent to govern. First, there isn't an automatic hostile group of partisans . . . Second, to overcome the skepticism on the part of the Legislature -- and all the Mainers they represented -- an independent governor has to do his homework . . . Third, every partisan governor will admit that being the titular head of the party is sometimes a burden that requires balancing a lot of interests and demands -- and a lot of political egos.
Yet, Rand closes by arguing explicitly against a chief executive who represents a third party, on the basis of the supposition that this would weaken the two-party system. Rand sees the independent as non-partisan, floating above the political fray of bipartisan politics, and so a duopolist bias creeps back into the piece:
Extolling the virtues of an independent candidacy does not lead to the call for the creation of a third party. That would eliminate the strengths of an independent chief executive candidacy and bring on burdens even greater than those borne by a Republican or Democrat because . . . A strong two-party system is important for effective legislating, if not governing.
There is thus a tension, if not a contradiction, to be found in the article's respective orientations toward third party and independent executives: on the one hand, the excesses of the two-party system make the prospect of an independent governor attractive or advantageous, while, on the other hand, a third party governor is seen as less desirable because it would undermine the structure of bi-partisan politics. In other words, the two-party system is both the cause of and the solution to the problem of government.


Samuel Wilson said...

Rand's presumption seems to be that the easiest way to majority rule is a two-party system. Her distinction between independents and third-partisans is interesting, and it isn't an unreasonable assumption that a non-partisan independent would have a better chance of getting support from both sides of the metaphorical aisle than a governor presumed to be using the office for party building. Rand seems to be groping toward a restoration of separation of powers, conceding the legislative branch to the bipolarchy while imagining an executive above partisanship. But her assumptions about the necessity of party discipline in legislatures go against the design of the Framers, or at least the design of "Publius," who expected majorities to arise from shifting coalitions of interests rather than from disciplined partisanship. No American should concede any branch of government to the Bipolarchy.

kansas said...

It is interesting this was posted today. Please read the following.Did you see this, I copied and posted it here before they deleted it. Sounds like someone is very pissed at Jason Tolbert

This is Eighteen Foxtrot,

This morning Jason Tolbert of the put out a tweet earlier today “Note to followers if you get some strange RT attributed to me it is from supporters of Trevor Drown spreading lies and misinformation”

Some clarification is due. Here it is from us. We are not supporters of Trevor Drown. We are seekers of the truth, a completely separate group of like-minded people who believe in leadership without party or corporate interest. As to spreading lies and misinformation; coming from a blogger, like Tolbert it is ironic, considering what his whole blog consists of. His site is supported and sponsored by the Arkansas Republican Party. It is full of the above mentioned lies, etc.

In the beginning Tolbert tried to do a hatchet job on Trevor Drown and a poor one at that. He reported inaccurately about Drown and made fun of him. Drown is in the public eye, now, he is a target, just like you. But Tolbert was very harsh and inaccurate towards someone like him for no other reason than he stepped up. You even allowed members of the Arkansas State Republican Party and State Elected Officials to try and Palinize him.

Drown is a Green Beret, he can handle himself pretty much anywhere. In fact, I bet he has no idea any of this is going on and at what level. He is focusing on talking to the people of Arkansas and seeing what they have to say. Tolbert you wouldn’t make it as a pimple on his ass.

Now Jason it’s your turn. We watched and we waited. Bloggers have 1st Amendment rights and so called Journalism Protection. Two things, Jason, you forgot rule 401, you can be held liable for your professional conduct. See if you can find out where that rule is and how it applies to you. Second, we are also bloggers and we will use our 1st Amendment right. So you want to play with the Teams. Enjoy the next few days. Let us know when you have had enough.

keywords to search on twitter: jasontolbert, andrealea, reqandrealea

Thank you

18F out

d.eris said...

Sam, there is definitely more nuance in Rand's position than the usual duopolist commentator, and she makes some persuasive points. It's good to see someone come out for an independent and distinguish this position from that of both duopolists and third party activists. It points toward a position of strength. It also undermines the conventional wisdom that independents are non-partisan.