We have, during the recent mid-term Congressional elections just completed, been wondering about America’s two-party system. We note that in most places, there are more than two parties or there is as in China, only one. This anomaly seemed deserving of thought, so we did. Your thoughts will be a welcome addition to ours.
First, we noted that the two parties have made it difficult approaching impossibility to put any new party’s candidates on the ballots. In many instances, the steep requirements for this are not imposed upon the Democrats or Republicans; they apply to new parties. The procedure for adding a new party’s candidates to the California ballot is not the most difficult, but it provides a picture. The cost and effort required to meet these reasonable-sounding requirements in the specified time limits are, at the scale required, out of reach for most new groups. A possible joker is added in the need to depend upon the Secretary of State for some mandated services and supplies. The conclusive evidence of a fix though, is the absence of new parties in the U.S.
Let’s shift our view a bit: Imagine that you live in an isolated, small town served by two mom-and-pop groceries and too far from the city for super market shopping by residents. What would you expect of grocery prices in town, compared say, to WalMart? How would the two compare to each other? Would they compete fiercely, forcing each other’s prices (and profits) to the bare minimum? Or would they tacitly or secretly agree to get along by matching prices at a higher lever that made things easier for both?
We suppose that sooner or later, the two would work out a rapprochement. That is of course, illegal these days — for business. So is dishonest advertising. But we note that those laws don’t operate in the political sphere. That seems telling, at least to us.
So we are left with our conclusion: The U.S. two party system is a put-up job, a confidence game perpetrated upon the (deserving) voters by the governing elite that America has developed. It’s a play off the good-cop, bad-cop interrogation method. And it explains perfectly why the U.S. government’s policies so seldom shift much as the parties trade places from time to time, regardless of preceding rhetoric.
We then conclude that the U.S. has an effectively one-party system, disguised to avoid the instability inherent in such. The two parties are the real government and so far, they have not been so exclusive that they have disregarded the views of the population. Indeed, the present internecine warfare between Establishment and Tea Party Republicans illustrates the GOP’s evolution to match the changing views of the electorate. However, as with any human organism, sometimes the popular view goes astray and leadership is needed to recall it to reality. Whether the two contending parties are up to that, appears unproven, but seems increasingly necessary.
The electorate has shifted from Christian morality toward secular relativism, two divergent views simultaneously untenable. Rather than one party representing one and the other party standing for the other view, both parties are trying to hold both outlooks together as they shift from one to the other. That’s a challenge that has often been handled historically by revolutions. Whether America’s nearly unique political system can manage such a transition, remains to be seen.
While we see both parties as unworthy of the cost of the gunpowder needed to blow them up, they’re still better by far than a revolution. We hope for the best.