Most Americans tend to think politically in terms of a “two-party system” in which the Republicans and Democrats are in a permanent face-off over the destiny of the American nation-state. Conventional wisdom (for what little it’s worth) says these two parties represent the only two viable (and supposedly polar opposite) “mainstream” positions on any relevant issue. Anything else is an all-but-irrelevant fringe point of view.
Time after time, voters choose between the two parties, seldom (if ever) asking why there are only two choices, or how much the agenda of either party is even constitutionally lawful, or reflective of the principles (i.e., personal liberty and responsibility, limited government, etc.) on which the national government was established in the first place.
Conventional wisdom suggests that no other parties are needed, that the two parties monopolizing the American political system are all we need for “democracy." (Other parties are supposedly free to try and join the contest, but supposedly none has a sufficiently compelling platform to merit much public consideration.) The government itself, along with mainstream media outlets, reinforce this mentality, further establishing popular belief in the "two-party system” as the presumed “American way”.
Because they are not readily visible to the public naked eye, a number of flaws in the “system” have gone largely unnoticed for many years, leaving most folks deceptively complacent, lulled into an ill-informed acquiesence to what they perceive as an otherwise robust and healthy American institution.
Two Parties—One Fiscal Agenda
It is instructive to observe not only the popularized differences between the two parties that control the “system,” but also the historical patterns and deeds in which they participated with remarkable unity. Throughout the many decades of their shared domination of American politics, with respect to monetary and fiscal policy (and its long-term effect on The People and their property), both parties have:
- increased federal taxation (including the constitutionally questionable direct “income tax”)
- increased the size of the federal budget
- increased the size of the national debt
- rejected fiscal responsiblility for a balanced budget (with one supposed exception)
- played an active role in the increased overall size of the federal government
- created and expanded federal bureaucracies and police agencies to impose innumerable arbitrary regulations and penalties, thereby hindering private commerce and free enterprise
- engaged heavily in the practice of “pork barrel” (tax-and-spend favoritism) politics, including corporate welfare when and where it suited their agendas (i.e., getting or keeping power)
Despite what politicians from either party may say (or have said), neither party, in deed, platform, or policy, has opposed any of the above activities with any compelling measure of consistency or zeal since the late 1800s. At the federal level, both the Democratic and Republican parties have engaged continuously in creating a bloated, power-grabbing “national” government at the direct expense of The People’s liberty and their property (through excessive taxes and confiscatory statutes). For example, both parties either largely supported or acquiesced to:
- the creation of the Federal Reserve system in 1913, in which a private bank cartel was awarded unprecedented (and unconstitutional) control over U.S. monetary and fiscal policy
- the (unconsitutional) outlawing of private ownership and coerced confiscation of gold by president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933
- the (unconsitutional) severing of the U.S. monetary system from the gold standard by president Richard Nixon in 1971
- the plundering of U.S. citizens’ property through government-approved, deliberate and systematic monetary inflation by the central bank (Federal Reserve), in connection the above three acts
- repeatedly used “executive orders” and “emergency powers” to wage costly, unconstitutional, undeclared wars abroad against opponents that posed no direct threat to U.S. security
- given away billions in aid and “loans” to foreign governments, much of which has never benefited the people over whom those governments rule
- incurred ever greater national debt, the liability for which rests only with The People themselves, who, given no say in these actions, were instead “persuaded” to “trust the government”
[By the way, these are historical facts, folks. I know it’s not pretty, but the truth isn’t always a thing of beauty. And remember not to confuse walk with talk: Most politicians will say anything to stay in office (i.e., power). But it’s not their talk that matters as much as their walk (what they’ve actually done).]
CASE-IN-POINT: US Public Debt Ceiling 1981-2010 (Trillions):
CASE-IN-POINT: Total US Federal Debt by Senate Majority Party (1940 to 2009):
Two Parties—One Foreign Policy Agenda
Under the control of one or both parties, U.S. military force was used abroad without a (constitutionally requisite) declaration from Congress well over one hundred times during the past hundred years alone.[ 1 ]
In the vast majority of cases, the goal was not the protection of the lives, liberty, or property of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil against foreign attack, nor their lawful protection abroad. Instead, in almost every case, a presidential administration (largely with congressional complicity) acted outside its lawful authority, to use lethal military force abroad (funded by a combination of fiat [i.e., out-of-thin-air] money and a coercive “income tax” scheme) for achieving a constitutionally unlawful foreign policy goal.
In these and other constitutionally unlawful actions, presidents as far back as Lincoln have arbitrarily suspended the Law of the Land in order to centralize and increase the power of the federal government, often abusing that same power (especially since World War II) to engage in unwarranted military actions abroad.
All their campaign slogans and platforms (the talk) aside, both the Democrats and the Republicans have had various turns controlling the White House and one or both Houses of Congress. Yet at no time did either party actually employ that political edge to reverse any of the above trends in any meaningful or substantial measure. To the contrary, both have “pushed the envelope” in disregarding the legal limitations imposed by the U.S. Constitution, resulting in today’s bloated, power-hungry federal government.
While Democrats and Republicans may both point fingers and make noise about their opponents’ “records,” these aspects of both parties’ actual records don’t afford them much in the way of long-term bragging rights.
Two Parties—One State & Local Agenda
Things don’t get much better when one looks at internal social policies, either. Pick any social or moral cause for which either party claims (or has claimed) to stand, and you can find multiple instances where members of Congress, presidents, and other officials representative of that same party took pragmatic action compromising that very cause.
The two parties that have shared control of America’s political landscape for more than a century together have easily exercised tremendous influence over federal, state, and local governments and the national media, “legally” hindering other voices from reaching the ears of the American public.
While giving lip service to the Constitution and parroting phrases like “rule of law” (which carry little meaningful weight amidst a plethora of consistently unlawful actions), proponents and protectors of the bipartisan monopoly (both the deliberate and the unwitting) largely exclude “third party” challenges from serious public consideration.
One of the most effective means of accomplishing this end has been State- and local-level election laws requiring non-monopoly candidates and parties to “prove” they deserve to be on the ballot by gathering an arbitrarily high number of (thousands of) signatures and jumping through other bureaucratic hoops.
If both parties truly have nothing to fear from “third party” candidates, and have genuine confidence in the voice of an informed electorate (i.e., The People, whose interests they pretend to respect and represent), one may reasonably wonder why both Democrats and Republicans have jointly gone to such lengths to hinder the participation of non-Democrats and non-Republicans in the election process at every level.
The Presidential Debates Scam
A highly instructive example of the bipartisan monopoly in action involves the “presidential debates” in which the two parties (and only the two parties[ 1 ]) participate every four years. It’s no secret (though they don’t publicize it themselves) that these carefully staged events are heavily controlled and protected by the two parties, shielding both parties’ candidates from issues for which neither party wants to be held accountable.
Sound like another “conspiracy theory” to you? The whole sordid scam is thoroughly documented at the website of Open Debates[ 2 ], an organization dedicated to exposing this farce and getting the voices of the “third parties” heard. Readers are earnestly urged to take the time to study the topic’s coverage there, and make an informed assessment of the matter.
Candidate | Party | State Ballots | State Write-Ins | Electoral Votes
Bush | Republican | 51 | 0 | 538
Kerry | Democrat | 51 | 0 | 538
Nader | Independent | 35 | 5 | 363
Peroutka | Constitution | 36 | 3 | 407
Badnarik | Libertarian | 49 | 0 | 527
Cobb | Green | 28 | 7 | 396
Details of the 2004 presidential election (and “debates”) provide further insight into the perpetuation of the bipartisan monopoly of what should be an entirely non-partisan event. By mid-October, the “third party” candidates were on the ballots of U.S. states with potential electoral votes as indicated in the table at left.
The number of electoral votes needed to win a presidential election in 2004 was 270, so every candidate shown in the table would have technically been capable of winning the presidency, if it hadn’t been for the fact that all but the first two were virtually ignored by the U.S. government, both major parties, and the media in general. The “other four” viable candidates and their positions on any issues were scarcely mentioned in any form by the media, let alone during what are supposed to be “non-partisan” (read: “strictly bipartisan”) debates.
Suffice it to say that there is something terribly wrong when both public (i.e., your taxes) and private funding are used to give the two most powerful parties additional, unnecessary and free advertising and exposure under the guise of “public debate,” to the deliberate exclusion of four viable, officially registered, and politically competitive platforms. The “news” media ought especially to be ashamed, since they pretend to offer balanced treatment of presidential elections, yet they largely ignored the presence and platforms of those outside the bipartisan cartel.
The evidence will not bear ignoring forever.
Republicans and Democrats have pretended to be arch-enemies for many decades, during which time their real, mutual enemy has been the truth: The truth about the degree to which they share an agenda; the truth about how that agenda has served to centralize ever more power in their hands at the federal level; the truth about the bankruptcy toward which they have steered the U.S. monetary system and fiscal policies; and the truth about how most (if not all) of these endeavors are unmitigated violations of the Constitution, which they pretend to honor and respect.
This agenda has been far from harmless. It has effectively plundered from Americans their property, their liberty, their lawful birthright, and in some cases their very lives. It has carefully conditioned us to think all this was normal, and that the principles and ideals of the founders (individual liberty and responsibility, free markets, and limited government) are somehow no longer fashionable.
Unfortunately, this trend isn’t likely to change until Americans in sufficient numbers both recognize this political monopoly for what it is (and what it has done), and stand up against the power-hungry monopolists, alerting their neighbors to the scam, and refusing to go along with the “two-party” charade. While some stirrings of this sort have been visible for some years now, there’s no compelling indication that widespread change can realistically be expected soon.
Some hope might be found in the increasing likelihood that many of those scattered stirrings may soon emerge into local and/or regional pockets of outright concerted revolt against the designs of the bipartisan monopolists. With such telltale signs of the times as Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the “Patriot Act” in its wake—and more of the same sure to come—it should be no surprise if various communities of patriots should start congealing into forces to be reckoned in the face of such a string federal abuses of power.
Only time (and the intestinal fortitude of an undetermined number of Americans) will tell.
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” — Thomas Jefferson
 The only exception to this exclusive practice was in 1992, when both parties consented to allow Ross Perot’s participation, each major party believing the other would be more harmed by his participation. Though he received 18% of the popular vote in 1992 and was entitled to federal election funding in 1996, Perot was excluded from the 1996 debates, as they were arbitrarily returned from being non-partisan to their previous bi-partisan nature — where they have remained ever since. [RETURN TO TEXT]
 Be sure to use the menu links on the left-hand side of the Open Debates page cited here, to more thoroughly examine the many aspects and details of the issue. [RETURN TO TEXT]