The Real Two-Party System: the Democratic-Republican Ruling Class vs. the Rest of Us

In recent weeks, Alan Keyes has published a series of articles on "America's Real Party System" at his blog Loyal to Liberty. Essentially, it provides a populist framework for conceiving contemporary and historical political antagonisms in the United States. In Part 1, Keyes argues that the Democratic-Republican two-party system obscures the primary political antagonism operative in the United States, that between the elites and the rest of us:
The liberal elite identified as the dog wagging rump of the GOP have their counterparts in the Democratic party. Behind the facade of the Democrat/Republican division, is an elitist division playing both sides to its advantage. Remove the overlay of the existing party labels and what we see at work is the real two party contest, more accurately labeled the elitists and the populists.

The populists are the de facto majority party. In a division of the house between the elitists and the populists, the elitists would lose routinely. In order to gain power, they must win the support of a sufficient number of populists to garner a voting majority. But if they do so frankly and openly, their populist allies would work against the stigma of being associated with elitism.

So the elite camp divides into two squadrons, each one assigned to forge an alliance with enough populists to achieve electoral success. One camp pretends to champion populist principles and values. The other pretends to champion the populist interest when it comes to the distribution of material goods. Meanwhile, in the background, both work to make sure that the elites protect and extend their power and control.
Part 2 deals with the history of the two-party state in the twentieth century and the rise of Barack Obama. Part 3 goes on to consider strategic possibilities for opposition to the ruling political class, specifically addressing the tea party movement:
If, during eras of elite ascendancy, the two most visible parties are tools of elite manipulation, then there is at all times a third party involved in all our political activities. It is the populist party, normally divided against itself by successful elite manipulation. In terms of its potential, it is always the majority party. The notion that “third parties fail” is therefore less an observation of fact than a statement of elite intention. . . .

It’s existence “hides in plain sight” the elite acknowledgment that the third party is not a possibility but an ever-present reality. The Tea Party label signifies the ambiguity of its existential status. It’s the Party that is not a party. It allows acknowledgment of the unified activity of the populist element, but with an irony intended to keep it from achieving, or even effectively aiming to achieve, a political result consonant with its real political strength. Though united in opposition to both the elite contrived parties, it exists in a form intended to prevent it from engendering and rallying around any leadership truly independent of their control.

Though it looks back upon, and forward to betrayal by the GOP, that party is supposed nonetheless to offer the only effective outlet for its unifying revulsion against the subversive elite agenda brought fully to light by the arrogant haste of the Obama faction. Tragically, if the populist element simply accepts the GOP’s plainly treacherous offer, the best it can hope for is to exchange the reality of America’s populist constitution for the virtual reality substitute of playing in a speciously contrived political sandbox. . . .
Keyes has also written a kind of introductory or summary article to the series at World Net Daily.


Calmoderate said...

Although it seems like a nutty conspiracy theory, the Democrats and Republicans do have their ruling elites and they do serve their interests at the expense of the public interests. The problem is what to do about it. Organizing isn't easy and Americans (maybe people in general) are very conservative when it comes to changing political parties. Given the entrenched ideological and special interests that dominate both parties, I just cannot see either of them accepting meaningful reform. Until more people come to see that they are being scammed, not much is likely to change.

What might get more people to see and understand the game? Maybe economic times that are significantly worse than now. I can't think of anything else that might wake people up.

d.eris said...

Thanks CalMod. The "nutty conspiracy theory," as you put it, is all too real. I think another way of putting your question might be: why is such an obvious critique of contemporary politics dismissed as nothing more than a "nutty conspiracy theory"?

I think most people really do see and understand the game though. In the majority of elections the majority of voters simply do not vote, and large portions of those who do vote, cast their ballots not for the candidate of their choice, but rather against the major party candidate they dislike more.

imo, the question is not how to get more people "to see and understand the game," as you put it – most people probably do (I hope) –, but rather how to get people to act in accordance with what they already know to be true.

Calmoderate said...

My "nutty conspiracy theory" was just rhetorical. It isn't nutty at all. That would be how the two parties would dismiss it and trivialize what they do to us.The two parties really have figured out how to effectively manipulate many of us at our expense.

If people do see and understand the game, then why don't they act in accord with what hey know. That is the thing that completely baffles me. I simply do not understand human nature well enough to "get it".

d.eris said...

heh. I wrote on another aspect of that not-so-nutty conspiracy theory at CAIVN a few weeks back.

I wish I knew why people don't act in accord with what they know. The fact that they don't may prove the effectiveness of the ideology that sustains the two-party state: beliefs like, you're wasting your vote unless you vote Republican or Democrat, third parties and independents are only spoilers, the Democratic and Republican parties have always been and will always be the only reasonable choices in any election ever, etc.

The funny thing is, in many elections, if only half the people who don't vote went and cast their ballots for an independent or third party candidate, that person would win in a landslide. Maybe a lot of people who reject Democratic-Republican party politics and government, and want alternatives, think they're alone, in a way, and just don't realize the potential political strength of their bloc.

Maybe we'll reach a tipping point soon if more people continue to declare their independence from the major parties. At this point, anywhere between 33% and 43% of folks regularly tell pollsters they are independents. In some states they are already over 50%. Things may change if or as independents approach the 50% mark nationally.