The Ideological Looking Glass

If cynical opportunism is the dominant form of political activity under the reigning two-party system of duopoly government, then disillusionment is likely its motor. It is not clear to what extent the similarity between the conservative Republican critique of the GOP and the progressive Democrat's critique of the Democratic Party is apparent to the critics themselves. With the appropriate substitutions, their discourses are often virtually indistinguishable. In a post at The Young Turks under the redundant headline 'Democrat Corporatists,' we read:
It has been roughly 5 months since the democrats and Obama have taken control of government. At this point it should be fairly clear to any progressive that the democrats are a corporatist party . . . There needs to be a strategy to pull support from the blue dog and lap dog democrats. They should not be supported just because they have a ‘D’ after their name. I would hate to have an ideological litmus test, but these corporatists have to go. Progressives should be running and supporting candidates to run against these incumbent “DINO’s” in the primaries.
The term 'DINO' is, of course, an acronym for 'Democrats-in-name-only' and its clearly adapted from its ideological counterpart 'RINOS,' a term popular among partisan Republicans, signifying an insufficiently conservative member of the GOP. The irony is that both the progressive Democrat and the conservative Republican equate their own ideological stance with the backbone of their party - that is, a Democrat who is not progressive is not considered a "real" Democrat, and a Republican who is not conservative is not a "real" Republican - yet they will both admit, perhaps in a moment of candor or frustration, that their preferred party is resistant if not outright hostile to many of their core beliefs and policy preferences. Recognition of the latter is surely a cause of disillusionment for many a partisan of the duopoly parties, yet this does not resolve the contradiction. Rather it is sustained, more often than not, by the argument in favor of the lesser-of-two-evils.


Samuel Wilson said...

Don't expect ideological extremists to bolt the major parties to protest the presence of RINOs or DINOs. They'd rather fight for control of the fundraising apparatus of either party, which they believe to be rightfully theirs in either case. The power of money in politics consolidates the power of the American Bipolarchy as fundraising machines. The "lesser of two evils" reasoning helps rationalize their refusal to bolt -- and fuels the fundraising machines.

Anonymous said...

Sam, I think you really hit the nail on the head.

My father in-law were talking about third parties the other day. It is next to impossible for a third party or indy candidate to compete on the national level because of money.

Like you said Sam, the fundraising power built into that (R) or (D) next to a candidates name is strong. It's not that third parties and indys don't bring a lot of good things to the table. Often times they are exactly what voters are looking for and places for "dinos' and "rinos" to fit without compromise.

Without the ability to compete monetarily it's easy for third parties. It's become clear to me finance reform and election reform is absolutely essential to breaking the stranglehold of the duology.

Michael said...

d.eris said,
It's become clear to me finance reform and election reform is absolutely essential to breaking the stranglehold of the duology.

Therein lies the rub. We've got to rely on the duopoly to change the very rules that give them the advantage. That'll be some mountain to climb!

Michael said...

oops sorry... I attributed the quote above incorrectly to d.eris instead of derek

d.eris said...

Exactly. This is one of the reasons why it is important to work toward getting independents and third party candidates into office, to create a crack in the duopoly edifice, and have advocates for such reform on the inside, as it were.