Why take back the party? There's nothing worth salvaging.

Many conservatives and libertarians today continue to labor under the false assumption that the election of Republicans will result in a representative government that is more representative of conservative and libertarian interests. Clearly, they have not studied the failure of the liberal and progressive strategy of electing more Democrats. Or they believe, for some reason, and against all the evidence, that this time their infiltrationist effort to "take back the party" will succeed in suspending the logic of the duopoly system of government.

Perhaps the greatest paradox of the two-party system is that it continues to exist though it has been dead for quite some time. The Washington Post, for instance, recently bemoaned "Virginia's Electoral Farce," writing:
Competitive elections are a hallmark of democracy. If only Virginia had them. Most Virginians are under the quaint impression that their state has a competitive two-party system. If only. The sad fact is that for the vast majority of legislative races in the state, real competition is a thing of the past. For that, Virginians can thank state lawmakers of both parties, who for decades have drawn lines on the voting maps for no higher purpose than to preserve their own grip on power.
Apparently, the editors of the Washington Post are under the quaint assumption that Virginia is in this way somehow any different from the great majority of polities in the United States. In April, Nate Silver and Andrew Gelman of 538 noted in an oped for the NYT that:
in the past decade, there were 2,175 elections to the United States House of Representatives held on Election Days 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. Among these, there were 41 instances — about 1.9 percent — in which the Democratic and Republican candidates each received 49 percent to 51 percent of the vote (our calculations exclude votes cast for minor parties). In the 1990s, by contrast, there were 65 such close elections. And their number increases the further one goes back in time: 88 examples in the 1950s, 108 in the 1930s, 129 in the 1910s.
The two-party system is like the classic cartoon character that has not yet fallen to its death because it has not yet realized it has run right off the cliff. It's time we looked down to ensure a hard fall. Just what groups are adequately represented by the Democratic-Republican duopoly system of government? Ideologically speaking, "none" is probably the right answer. For progressives and liberals the Democratic Party is too moderate or conservative. For moderates it is too liberal or progressive. On the other side of the divide, for conservatives and libertarians, the Republican Party is too liberal or statist, while for moderates it is too conservative. In other words, the reigning two-party system does not adequately represent conservatives, libertarians, progressives, liberals or moderates. Indeed, it cannot. How could a binary system possibly satisfy the demands and represent the interests of such a wide array of ideological constituencies? To put this in terms comprehensible to partisans of the duopoly parties: the Democratic Party is Democratic-in-name-only and the Republican Party is Republican-in-name-only.

Because the representatives of the Democratic and Republican Parties do not and cannot adequately represent the diversity of interests constitutive of the US electorate, Democratic and Republican Party shills have been forced to develop the purely reactionary ideology of lesser-evilism, which aims first and foremost not at electing the best representatives of one's own interests, but rather at defeating the perceived representatives of an imaginary ideological opponent's best interests. In reality, the Republican Party is the greatest hindrance to the representation of conservative and libertarian interests, just as the Democratic Party is where liberal and progressive politics goes to die.

The response of the Democratic-Republican establishment to criticism of the ideological order that maintains the hegemony of the duopoly system of government is highly instructive. As Jane Hamsher pointed out yesterday at FDL, the "White House contempt for bloggers and the 'left of the left' is a pattern." On the other side of the duopoly divide, angry conservative and libertarian activists confronted Republican Senator Lindsey Graham at a town hall meeting. The establishmentarian responded: "I'm not going to leave the Republican Party . . . If you don't like it, you can leave." They should take his advice. Many already are. At Your Destiny Now, Miguel Diocuore writes: "A few minutes ago, just before writing this, I joined the Constitution Party." Moderate Republicans are confronted with the same choice. At Republicans United, Dennis Sanders writes: "For those of us who are frustrated moderates in the GOP, the same argument applies. If we don’t think either party is a good fit, then maybe we need to create another party. The Whigs seem to be doing well."


Ross said...

Another excellent post. You're one of the best in the third party blogosphere, and you're doing a good job to unite the third party blogosphere a bit. If there's going to be a strong third party movement soon, and it's looking like there might be, we need that.

d.eris said...

Thanks Ross. I wish there were more third party and independent bloggers out there. There are a lot, but they are not organized as transparently as the Democratic and Republican networks are, and it seems like this ends up turning a fair number of people off. I'm surprised IPR's "reader's blogs" section is so short. There should be dozens or even hundreds of blogs there.

Ross said...

I'm mainly the one maintaining that. I just don't know who our readers are! If I know a commenter has a blog, I'll add it. But other than that I'm in the dark. If you know any, let me know.

Liberal Arts Dude said...

Here's an idea inspired by the higher education site bloghighed (http://www.bloghighed.org/about/). The technology is there to aggregate content from many different sources into one website feed. Bloghighed, for example, aggregates content from many blogs in higher education. There's no stopping us in the third-party and independent movements from doing the same with third party and independent blogs and sites.

I can do some research if you are interested in how the Bloghighed folks pull it off -- what types of resources are needed in terms of dedicated technology, hardware, software, manpower, etc.

d.eris said...

That's a cool idea LAD, and would probably be pretty simple to put together if it is only a set of feeds publishing a headline and teaser to a single page. I'd be interested to hear what you find. Send me an email. I'll do some searching around too.