Political Utopianism and Duopoly Ideology

One indicator of the weakness, if not the political bankruptcy, of the two-party system are the justifications marshaled to support the idea of working within either of the ruling parties. Indeed, the very fact that it is deemed necessary to defend such a decision, which not long ago would have simply been viewed as a matter of course, demonstrates the depth of the public's discontent with the duopoly system of government. This is not to say, however, that these apologia are convincing, at least as intended. Rather, they serve to underscore the debility of Democratic-Republican politics and the corresponding ideology of the duopoly.

One Democratic candidate for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in 2010, Jim Nichols, justifies his membership in the Democratic Party in the following terms:
Its generational . . . I came of age during the Bush years. If you are looking for a short and sweet reason why--in the two party system world--where you have to choice a lesser of two evils--I choose to get involved in Democratic Party politics because Bush Conservatives have done a great deal of damage to our national and economic security.
This rationale reveals not only the negativity but also the invalidity of the lesser-of-two-evils argument. Not only is it a purely negative position, i.e. the Democratic Party is superior because it's not the Republican Party and vice versa, in the above form it is also completely arbitrary: if the perceived problem is that the Republican Party has "done a great deal of damage" to the country, then one could also reason that the appropriate solution is not to oppose the GOP, but rather to join it, and change it from the inside. The latter argument is put forward, for instance, by Jordan at Generation Patriot in a post entitled 'Why I Joined the GOP.' He writes:
I'm not a big fan of our two parties. I think the Democrats are just like they were at the turn of the century. Big money, big power, big ideas with little room for the views for consequences . . . The Republicans are no better though . . . And that's a reason I joined: to fix the GOP.
Though he correctly identifies the form and structure of the duopoly system as a primary cause and elementary part of the many political problems facing the country, he considers the possibility of third party activism only to dismiss it:
Third parties are dead and will be dead for a while due because of GOP/Democrat “bi-partisanship” on campaign finance laws that restrict such parties from ever gaining any power. I joined the GOP because, honestly, I had no other choice . . . I'd rather star the ball rolling with a current party than spend decades working a third party that'll barely get noticed at all.
It is highly ironic that the prospect of third party activism is so often rejected on the basis of the assertion that it would take too long to build up actual opposition parties, while it is implicitly maintained that the Republican and Democratic Parties can somehow be "fixed" over the course of the next election cycle. For some reason though, it's third party activists who are considered utopians! As Jordan himself admits:
For most of the 20th century, Republican presidents and Republican congresses have hardly held to their word on things like entitlements, spending, corruption, cutting down decades of old Progressive/new liberal fat off the Constitution.
Arguably, it would take much longer to reverse such a long-standing historical trend than it would to build a new organizational network that is already moving in the right direction, and is neither burdened by the monstrous apparatus of the mass parties nor subject to the dictates of their apparatchiks. As James Hogan points out at Average Noone, the Republican and Democratic Parties represent their own interests first, and those of their constituents second, if at all. The Educated Imagination supplies an apropos quote from Northrop Frye:
It will be too bad, I think, if democracy suffers from a sense of fixation about its own political machinery. It is possible that voting on grossly oversimplified issues for candidates who are controlled by political machines rather than by electors may be something that in time to come we shall decide is a bit expendable.

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