Two Wings of the Same Bird of Prey

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the Republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other.  This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.  John Adams

The Republican and Democrat parties of my father’s generation no longer exist. America needs a two-party system, but we no longer have two parties. We have, in fact, one ruling class, composed of a Democrat wing and a Republican wing.  As Patrick Buchanan so aptly explained, we have “two wing of the same bird of prey.” Both wings preach and implement big, monstrous government.

The same parties whose members decry the excesses of capitalism and the evils of corporations are themselves, corporations.  And those corporations have formed a cartel that prevents competing parties from being anything more than fringe players.

For a party’s candidate to be taken seriously the candidate must have a place in the televised presidential debates but, to get on the stage, the candidate must receive at least 15% support among voters in national polls. But to receive significant support in the polls, a candidate must appear on the debate stage.  It’s a Catch 22 created by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) which, contrary to its name, isn’t a governmental body.  It’s a nonprofit corporation established by the Democrat and Republican Parties.

Collusion among political parties is worse than collusion in the private sector.  In the private sector customers have the option of choosing “none of the above” but when it comes to electing politicians, “none of the above” isn’t an option.  Those who choose not to vote simply have someone else’s preferred candidate forced upon them.  If the two parties adequately served voters this might be a less pressing concern but evidence shows they aren’t serving voters.   

The axiomatic principle in our two party systems was, at one time, first, do the right thing and second, if you can’t do the right thing, at least do no harm.  This principle seems to have been abandoned by the zealots and ideologues who have taken over the two parties; the ruling elite who are determined to destroy our Constitution in favor of some form of socialist/communist utopia. 

Once upon a time in America, voters came together and selected a president for all of us. But at least since Obama, half of us have taken to declaring the winner, “not our President.” Americans no longer act like one people choosing a president – we act like two peoples choosing competing presidents who alternate holding power. We got here because the two major parties have drifted away from the plurality of Americans. More and more Americans don’t identify with either of the major parties, and the major parties won’t allow a third to compete on a level playing field.

In 2004, voters were evenly split among Republicans, Democrats, and independents. By January 2021, the number of voters self-identifying as independents equaled the number identifying as Republicans or Democrats combined. If that trend continues, independents will constitute a supermajority of voters within the next generation.

Independents are a mysterious bloc of voters, a kind of party without a party and with no rules, platforms or policies – just a long list of grievances against the two official major parties. As such, they may well become a deciding force in our elections.  Will they someday forge a third party to challenge the Democrats and GOP?

Or, as Lincoln’s Republican Party replaced Henry Clay’s Whig Party, which replaced Hamilton’s Federalist Party, and as Jackson’s Democratic Party replaced Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party, perhaps they will replace one of today’s major parties.   

A third-party would provide a fresh slate for political newcomers: a chance to create a platform that is not reliant on big money, compromise, and unsustainable ethics, elements that are too deeply entrenched in our current parties to hope for resolution.

Source:  The Third Party by Antony Davies, American Institute for Economic Research

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