On the Contradictory and Reactionary Character of Lesser-Evilism, Primary Ideological Support for the Reproduction of the Failed Two-Party State

Via Memeorandum, Allahpundit at Hotair relays poll findings from Gallup and Rasmussen showing that the GOP is leading the Democratic Party on the so-called "generic ballot" by historic margins. Rasmussen reports:
Republican candidates have jumped out to a record-setting 12-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot . . . A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Likely Voters would vote for their district's Republican congressional candidate, while 36% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.
Allahpundit notes, however, that the most astonishing facet of this disparity is that Republicans are actually less popular than Democrats. He writes:
When Democrats tell people that voters hate the GOP as much as they hate them, they’re not blowing smoke. That’s basically true. In fact, in many polls, the Republican Party’s favorables are still lower than the Democrats’. And even so: Biggest generic ballot lead … in history. That’s how popular Hopenchange is.
This contradiction has left numerous Democratic Party ideologues, such as Ezra Klein, "bemused and confused," and unable to account for the apparent mixed messages emanating from the electorate. Republican Party ideologues, on the other hand, are of course less interested in accounting for the contradiction than they are in capitalizing upon it. Arguably, however, Republicans and Democrats are simply incapable of understanding the problem because they are the problem; and their inability to understand the problem is symptomatic of the problem. Democrats and Republicans cannot relate to the two-party system and state in a critical register because it is the primary condition for the reproduction of their joint misrule.

The contradiction at work here is a function of duopoly ideology. How can it be that a majority of the electorate prefer the less favorable option between the Democrats and Republicans? In other words, how can the less popular faction of the two-party state be the more popular faction of the two-party state? The WSJ/NBC poll released last week may provide at least a partial answer. When asked if they would prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress or a Republican-controlled Congress to result from this year's elections, 42% of respondents opted in favor of the Republicans while 43% favored Democrats and 15% were unsure. But the follow-up question is key in the current context. The survey then asked those who favored a Democrat-controlled Congress if they did so because they actually support the policies of the president and his party or because they oppose the policies of the GOP and its candidates. Similarly, those who favored a Republican-controlled Congress were asked if they did so because they support the policies and candidates of the Republican Party or because they oppose the policies of the Democratic Party and its candidates. Significantly, the poll did not ask whether respondents supported the idea of a Congress which was not controlled by either of the major parties, say, if enough third party and independent candidates were elected to ensure that neither Democrats nor Republicans could hijack the legislative process.

Nevertheless, of those who favored a Democrat-controlled Congress, 48% stated that they actually support Democratic candidates and policies, while 47% said they really just oppose the Republican Party and its candidates. On the other hand, of those who preferred a Republican-controlled Congress, only 35% said they support the Republican Party and its candidates, while a whopping 59% said they actually only oppose Democratic policies and candidates.

In other words, a majority of those who support a Democrat or Republican controlled Congress do not actually support a Democrat or Republican controlled Congress, rather they oppose a Republican or Democrat controlled Congress. Simply put, the two-party system produces a literally reactionary majority, which is willing to support the major party it favors less because it opposes the other major party more. This is the contradictory and paradoxical ideology of lesser evilism as articulated via public opinion polling.

As I've written before on the reactionary character of Democrat-Republican party politics, political independence begins with the recognition that we are not free insofar as we are subjugated by the politics of the two-party state and the duopoly system of government. Political autonomy requires affirmation of a tertium quid.

Update: Sam responds at The Think 3 Institute, asking: "Fear Drives the Two-Party System. Does Complacency Threaten the Republic?"

1 comment:

Samuel Wilson said...

This attitude is not only reactionary but defeatist. The perpetual capitulation of anti-Democrat voters to the Republican party is based not just on the assumption that the Republicans are the only force that can stop the Democrats, but on the implicit assumption that no one on the "right" or the broader anti-Democratic camp can beat the Republicans. So long as it's conceded that the GOP can't be annihilated in a single campaign, its mere existence inhibits the rise of strong independent candidates or the formation of strong independent parties. Lesser-evilism only reduces independents' willingness to take a chance on change.