Accommodation with the Republican and Democratic Parties is the Death of Independent Politics

As the tea party movement began gaining steam in early 2008, both Democratic and Republican partisans of the two-party state sought to tie the movement into the two-party political order as quickly as possible. Democrats aimed to discredit tea party groups by arguing that they were nothing but fronts for the Republican Party while, ironically, Republicans sought to reanimate the GOP by allying themselves with a newly awakened conservative grassroots. The parallels with the anti-war movement during the Bush administration are striking: Republicans aimed to discredit anti-war groups as Democratic Party fronts and Democrats worked to capitalize on the efforts of independent progressive activists. While the anti-war movement was effectively co-opted and then defeated by the Democratic Party, the tea party movement still retains some amount of independence from the order of the duopoly, and thus may not suffer the same fate at the hands of the Republicans as their progressive counterparts did at the hands of the Democrats.

However, Republican partisans of the reigning two-party political status quo continue their assault on independent conservative activism while simultaneously revealing the intellectual bankruptcy of duopoly ideology. At Axis of Right, Sal is incapable of marshaling anything other than the old spoiler argument in his "case against third party politics":
the truth is that a Tea Party as a third-party entity would be a disaster for both Conservatives and the Republicans, and would guarantee that the liberal socialist overlords that currently occupy the seats of power in Washington continue their reign for years to come.
Sal is, of course, not alone in wishing to see the grassroots independent conservative movement defeated in the interests of short term Republican electoral gains. At American Power, Donald Douglas reflects on the divisions within the tea party movement and writes:
my concern is that the tea party movement will essentially become a populist third party movement; and given the historical record of third parties in our structural two-party system, it's possible that the white-hot populism that's driving much of the opposition to the Democrats will go the way of other short-lived third party phenomena, for example, the United We Stand organization of Ross Perot's 1992 presidential campaign . . . My hope is that the tea partiers can come to some accomodation with the most conservative leaders of the Republican Party, especially Sarah Palin. Our movement needs to work within the structural constraints of the single-member, winner-take-all system.
Consider this in the context of Douglas's statements on what he called "the grassroots tea party revolt" earlier this year. In April, he wrote:
Over and over again, on blogs and message boards, I see folks saying "we are not political." Many folks confess that this is the first time they've gotten involved politically. And that has to be the most frightening thing about this for the secular collectivists on the left.
Ironically, Douglas now shares this concern with the reviled "secular collectivists on the left." This is not surprising. More than anything else, supporters of the Democratic-Republican two-party state and the reigning political status quo fear independent and third party grassroots political activism precisely because of the threat it represents to the Democratic-Republican two-party state and the reigning political status quo. Thus, independent activists must constantly defend themselves against infiltration and co-optation by the ruling parties. At the California Independent Voter Network, Chad Peace takes the infiltrators to task (link via Humble Libertarian):
Propelled by the moving mouths on TV and the talking heads of such ironically named organizations such as the “American Family Association” (one must agree that for an admitted adulterer with three ex-wives heading the AFA is ironic, right?), the movement lost its focus. No longer were tea partiers upset with the bipartisan corruption in Washington D.C., they are mad at the socialists communists Hitler-like Democrats. No longer did Constitutionalism mean respecting the rule of law, it meant Obama is not really our president. A movement founded on the principles of independent analysis, it has become a yelling fest for punch-drunk cynics armed with incoherent talking points.

Slowly, I’ve lost some of my unrealistic idealism. As I pull back the blinders, I try to look at the tea party from the eyes of an outsider, the average American. What I see is a bunch of people reciting partisan political sermons, coddling fears, and perpetuating a superficial battle between “left” and “right”; drowning the well intentioned idealists that remain.

The lesson is clear: Republican and Democratic ideologues will stop at nothing to kill any political movement that might upset the duopoly system of government. Accommodation with the Republican or Democratic Parties is the death of political independence.

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