Kushay's Matter Bank Politics

[AK] Rigged US Two Party System

This note point out several precedence and lines of logic about how the US two party system is designed to keep power within the elites and not the masses.

Disclaimer: This note is referenced on a Jacobin Magazine article and has a strong Socialist nuance, Jacobin believes in a new political party in US)

1. In the past, there used to be a Labor Party in US, that has a platform that is very much more ‘left’ in comparison to Democrats, an although labors in US don’t oppose Labor Party ideologically, they still don’t vote for them because they’re risking to elect a very anti-labor Republican if the Democratic candidate is defeated. The stake is basically too high. This phenomenon continues to this very second where people who have views outside the two party establishment are disincentivised from voting third parties like Green or Libertarian Party out of the fear that a candidate with platform diametrically opposed to theirs (be it Democrat or Republican) will be elected.

2. In the past, there is no government printed ballots. Tickets were owned individually and candidates were determined with party organized caucus-conventions. Everything changes when the state takeover the process.

– Back then, you only need to collect 2 signatures to be validated as a candidate, now 1000 or 1% of local citizens with a tight deadline to collect the signatures! (makes it difficult for smaller parties)

– Even if third parties gets on ballots, their resources would be allocated not to attracting voters but to file lawsuits against voting laws. So experienced politicians will not be attracted to the party but rather activists who are less interested in organizing and winning elections than to shame the repressiveness of the two party system.

3. Some socialists (that is more ‘left’ than the Democratic Party establishment) have won elections while running as a Democrat. And while it is good, Socialists winning elections as democrats has a placebo effect: giving illusions that the party is structured to defend working people’s interest while in reality the establishment is not.

4. Some politicians, such as Bernie Sanders, believe that the Democratic Party can be changed from within; turning its platform into a more mass friendly one. Critics of this lays their case on two premises: One, the likelihood of it succeeding is very low because it’s a few politicians up against tens of years of entrenched establishment supported by corporate lobbyist. Two, ‘working within the Democratic Party cedes agency entirely to politicians and not the society in general.

How does society in general contributes then? Forming informal organizations like ‘Democracy for America’, etc. that monitors potential progressive democrat candidates that needs their support. The weakness of this method? It is the Politician that is recruiting a base, not the other way around. There is no way to make sure that the politician will be accountable to his base.

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