Despite recognizing the failure of the two-party state, the subject is incapable of liberating him- or herself from the behaviors that reproduce it. This mentality is akin to a form of political obsessional neurosis insofar as it reveals a "poor ability to adapt to one's environment, an inability to change one's life patterns, and the inability to develop a richer, more complex, more satisfying [political] personality."
On the other hand, we can distinguish this form of lesser evilism from its primary counterpart, which begins not from a more or less pragmatic and realistic appraisal of the two-party state, but rather from an hysterical and psychotic obsession with the party that represents the greater evil for the subject. A key characteristic of this mentality is the condensation of personal and political anxieties, which are then projected onto a single figure who comes to represent an existential threat for the subject. The removal of this threat becomes the primary goal of all political activity, with the result that the subject perceives any alternative as incomparably preferable, thus leading to the embrace of the lesser evil. We might liken this brand of lesser evilism to a form of obsessional psychosis. Bush Derangement Syndrome and Obama Derangement Syndrome are common examples of the disorder. At Salon, Glenn Greenwald provides us with a concise description of the phenomenon:
Every four years, The Other Side is turned into the evil spawn of Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden. Each and every election cycle, each party claims that -- unlike in the past, when Responsible Moderates ruled and the "crazies" and radicals were relegated to the fringes (the Democrats were once the Party of Truman!; Ronald Reagan was a compromising moderate!) -- the other party has now been taken over by the extremists, making it More Dangerous Than Ever Before. That the Other Side is now ruled by Supreme Evil-Doers means that anything other than full-scale fealty to their defeat is viewed as heresy. Defeat of the Real Enemy is the only acceptable goal. Election-time partisan loyalty becomes the ultimate Litmus Test of whether you're on the side of Good: it's the supreme With-Us-or-With-the-Terrorists test, and few are willing to endure the punishments for failing it. It's an enforcement mechanism for Party loyalty that -- by design -- breeds slavish partisan fealty.
None of this has anything to do with reality. For as long as I can remember, Republicans -- every election cycle -- have insisted that the Democratic Party has "now become more radical than ever," while Democrats insist that the GOP has now -- for the first time ever! -- been taken over by the extremists.Together, the neurotic and psychotic lesser evilist form a binary totality not dissimilar from the relation between the masochist and the sadist, and constitute a threat to representative, democratic, republican government. If you or anyone you know shows signs of neurotic or psychotic lesser evilism, it is most likely an indication of a deeper political imbalance. Contact an independent political psychologist for consultation immediately.