The Double Negative: the Two-Party System Cannot Not Fail to Serve the Interests of the People of the United States.

When partisans of the two-party political status quo seek to make an especially emphatic point in a political debate, they often resort to the claim that such-and-such an outcome puts into question the sense of the two-party system or threatens its very existence. Consider two recent examples from the health care "debate". Congressman Dennis Kucinich asks Democrats: "will we stand with the people or the insurance companies?" Via The Thirds:
In each and every step of the health care debate, the insurance companies have won . . . If this is the best we can do, then it is time to ask ourselves whether the two-party system is truly capable of representing the American people or whether the system has been so compromised by special interests that we can’t even protect the health of our own people. This is a moment of truth for the Democratic Party.
One wonders if Senator Orin Hatch had this statement in mind when he argued that the "health care reform bills threaten the survival of the two-party system," as The Hill put it. Hatch:
Hatch asserted that the health bills, which he believes represent a "step-by-step approach to socialized medicine," will lead to Americans' dependence on Democrats for their health and other issues. "And if they get there, of course, you're going to have a very rough time having a two-party system in this country, because almost everybody's going to say, 'All we ever were, all we ever are, all we ever hope to be depends on the Democratic Party,' " Hatch said . . . "That's their goal," Hatch added. "That's what keeps Democrats in power."
Thus, the failure to pass health care reform underscores the failure of the two-party system and the passage of health care reform underscores the failure of the two-party system. In other words, the two-party system cannot not fail to serve the interests of the people of the United States. While health care reform may or may not threaten the two-party system, there is no question that the two-party system is one of the greatest threats to the health of the US body politic.


Samuel Wilson said...

Hatch actually seems to be saying that passage of the Democratic legislation would destroy the two-party system, not prove that it had already failed. His fantasy is that citizens conscious of their dependence on Democrats would never dare thereafter vote them out of office. That explains why the Democracy has never lost an election since 1932! But Kucinich seems to hit closer to the target by decrying the Democrats' apparent unwillingness to do what Republicans accuse them of doing. Unfortunately, Kucinich is as compromised a character as Ron Paul because, like Paul, he can't imagine having his bully pulpit without playing ball with the Bipolarchy.

d.eris said...

One might also argue though that if one party's agenda cannot be stopped, or changed, then the "two-party system" has already ceased to exist, if one assumes, as the duopolists do, that the duopoly system is supposed to function as an extra-constitutional "check and balance."

Also Kucinich seems to imply that if health care reform fails, then the duopoly should be dissolved in favor of a system that represents the people, on a charitable reading, one presumes he means the Democratic and Republican parties should be dissolved in favor of organizations that actually represent the interests of the people of the US. Or one could read his statement another way, more in line with Hatch, that is, as diabolical: if health care reform fails, then the two party system must be abolished and a one party dictatorship is necessary to accomplish reform.