The United States wasn’t designed as a two party system. The Founders generally eschewed the notion of factionalism and parties.
Committee chairman, majority and minority leader and other such party-oriented positions within the Congress are not in the Constitution, and never have been. And as much of an unmitigated, undemocratic disaster as the Electoral College has been from Day One, not even it specifies party affiliation.
Also not in the Constitution: smart phones, freeways and online streaming services. Would anyone care to argue that none of these are now baked into our society? Anyone want to claim we could be forever rid of any of these in a matter of days or weeks, even if they are harmful?
The two party system is just like that, only far more significant. The vastness of interstellar space could sooner be processed by the finite human mind than the amount of organized, disciplined, consistent action it would require to give a true third (and forth and fifth) political party viability on a national scale.
Which is to say there is exactly one camp that at least superficially will allow some form of democracy to continue in this republic. That camp is known is the Democratic Party. The nominal head of same for the moment is President Joe Biden. The flawed, frustrating, in many ways compromise-candidate Joe Biden.
Progressives and left-leaning moderates both have cause for disappointment with the Administration. Both demographics have been vocal about said frustrations. Yet I wonder if either side has considered the true, lasting, horrifying consequences of not insisting on party unity in the same way the other (increasingly authoritarian) party has done.
Is the oft heard “country over party,” or “my heart over party” really so heroic if by doing so the nation is allowed to collapse in a matter of years? Is temporary strategic retreat from personal preferences until the perimeter is secure truly so unthinkable? Strategic retreat from one place may just save all of the others.
Yet so many on the Left and “center” continue to operate as though stringent debate and demanding a voice at the table will bring about the respective policy changes each believe in. And make no mistake; there are horribly marginalized people by the millions in America. Too many problems have in fact gone ignored for too long.
But folks, we are not in business-as-usual. Vocal division for sake of principles and a seat at the table within a party cannot change the game. There is no longer a table. And if we continue to propose such things as running a Progressive against Biden for his own nomination next time, or chastise him on MSNBC for weeks for being less efficient than we would prefer on Issue X, it is not only the man that will pay the price. It is the party, and by extension in our current climate, democracy itself that will die a death of a thousand small cuts.
And the Neo-Authoritarians love it.
There may be some local fights to be fought in this manner, here and there. But a third party candidate will not, and I repeat will not ever be elected president of the United States as it is currently constructed. The elite interest in maintaining the system as is will not be blown apart by the scrappy third party candidate. That fallacy got us Donald Trump in many ways five years ago, and if we don’t jettison it soon, it will get us Trump again, or someone far worse.
It’s not for love of Joe Biden. He’s got me perturbed as well lately. He isn’t owed a personal allegiance because he is Joe Biden, or even because he is president. No, it is support for him or oblivion. Not piecemeal support, but full-throated, daily, public support. Even when he is not especially inspirational, lovable or admirable. You know, the approach the other side continues to utilize? (And continues to win with…)
If we can’t see that, and continue to insist our own preferences in every single last issue must guide our actions in the political sphere, we might as well print “Oblivion 2024” bumper stickers now.