Monday, August 15, 2011

Political Duopoly: Working Partner of the Plutocrats

Definition Of Duopoly.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines a "duopoly" as: "An economic or political condition in which power is concentrated in two persons or groups." (source:
The Problem With Duopolies.  The people who are dependent on a duopoly for necessary goods or services are only slightly better than those subject to a monopoly,  Because the two entities that comprise the duopoly are the only providers, they jointly control all aspects of research, development, production, marketing, pricing, and delivery of their products and services.  In so doing, they exercise an inordinate amount of power and control over their customers, and their customers have little or not control over them.
Our Political Duopoly.  The same problem described above also applies to our political system.  We have a  political duopoly.  The Republicans and Democrats dominate American politics, and minority voices are usually either drowned out, forced out, or made irrelevant. Our elected officials in Washington are supposed to represent their country first, and then the citizens in the areas they represent (regardless of political affiliation).  However, they appear to represent their own personal interests first (doing whatever they think will get them re-elected), their party's bidding second, and their financial backers third. If they listen to the "people back home," it is usually only to those of their own political persuasion, because, after all, they are the ones who are most likely to vote for them again.

Lack of Accountability.  Members of the federal government cannot be recalled by the people. Therefore, elected officials are pretty much free to do whatever they want between elections, and many do not feel that they need to be accountable to the people they were elected to represent. This works to the detriment of a democracy, even a democratic republic.
Presidential Debates.  This are a prime example of an area in which the duopoly dominates.  These debates are administered and controlled by a non-profit organization founded by the duopoly.  They set the rules, and the rules essentially exclude any participants other than Democrats and Republicans.  Ross Perot was allowed to participate in the debates in 1992, and viewership was the highest for any presidential debate at almost 70 million viewers.  However, he was excluded in later years, thereby losing major exposure to the voting public and all but killing his chances for success.a plutocracy governed by a duopoly.

By excluding third-party candidates from the debates, the duopoly is able to deprive the American voter of exposure to the positions and issues of the third-party candidates, and the duopoly is, to a great extent, able to direct the outcome of the elections to one of the members of the duopoly.
Political Appointments.  A particular danger with our political duopoly lies in the fact that the president makes appointments to the Supreme Court.  While such appointees are supposed to be non-partisan, they almost never are, and both the president who nominates them and the Senate who approves them tend to do so purely along their party's ideological lines.  Inasmuch as these are lifetime appointments, they can have very long-lasting effects -- for good or for bad.
Congressional Deadlock.  Another negative effect of our particular duopoly is that it can become highly polarize and rigid along party lines, and the two parties can get locked in disputes that do not serve their constituencies or their country well.  This can drastically slow down the legislative process to the detriment of our country and has resulted in a government shutdown in 1996 and threats of a shutdown and a financial default in 2011.  The people are powerless in these sorts of situations.  They can write to their Congressional representatives, but they seem to get ignored unless they agree with what their representatives wanted to do in the first place.
Coming Up:

Plutocracy to Plutonomy: From Bad to Worse!

Campaign Funding's Impact On Democracy
                     Money Talks, And Politicians Listen!

U.S. Congress: Bought And Paid For

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