The Third Party and Independent Opposition: Testing Ideas, Questioning Assumptions

In his remarks at a DNC fundraising reception on October 15th, President Obama stated: "I believe in a two-party system where ideas are tested and assumptions are challenged -- because that’s how we can move this country forward." At Notes from a Burning House, Algernon points out the flaws among the president's assumptions:
The problem is, that is not what a two-party system (duopoly) does. It preserves the status quo; it protects the basic assumptions on which that status quo rests. Which might be okay if things were working well. The times, however, require a politics that does allow us to re-examine some of the assumptions on which our social order rests . . .

Our two-party dictatorship does not allow for testing those ideas or challenging any of our unconsidered assumptions about how to order our lives and communities. It can't even deliver some simple and sensible regulations of the private health insurance industry -- the corporations are, in fact, more powerful than our Congress. This is not our government; it is not accountable to us in any meaningful way. Vote out a Democrat, you'll either get a Republican or some other Democrat.

The duopoly is effective at one thing: preserving power for these two parties alone, and keeping other political parties that might test their ideas and challenge their way of conducting business -- the libertarians, the socialists, the greens -- out of power and sidelined in elections.