The United States of America, taken as a whole, isn’t remotely as “divided” as you might like to think. When we poll the American people one issue at a time, we find they overwhelmingly support progressive, fiscally responsible and obviously logical solutions to our problems — including universal, single-payer healthcare, tighter environmental and banking regulations, involvement in fewer world conflicts, funding for the arts and family planning and a variety of other social, political and public programs.
The running narrative is that “rancor” and the “partisan divide” are the rule, rather than the exception. The trouble is, this doesn’t appear to be the case anywhere except on the floors of Congress and its 50 smaller state counterparts. Party politics and party identity exist almost exclusively in Senate chambers — not on the streets of America.
For example: If Evangelicals had all the facts, they’d vote Democrat every time.
In other words, folks increasingly don’t care what you call yourself as long as you’re bringing high-quality ideas to the table — or at the very least, aren’t trying to overturn the table entirely. To that end, it’s worth looking for a moment at the possibility of that long-awaited second American revolution coming down the pipeline: the end of party politics altogether.
The End of Binary, Functionally Identical Choices
The history of the two-party system in America parallels the rise of the nation itself: It has been a race not toward monopoly, exactly, but rather a race to establish two massive controlling interests — called a duopoly — both of which then become increasingly indistinct from one another and increasingly predatory toward their intended customer base. Nevertheless, these duopolies conveniently maintain the illusion of “choice,” “competition” and “progress.”
Behold just a few of America’s pointless binary choices:
- Visa vs. Mastercard
- Marvel vs. D.C.
- Airbus vs. Boeing
- Sprite vs. 7-Up
- Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi
- macOS vs. Windows
- iOS vs. Android
- Democrat vs. Republican.
We’ve made our peace with a lot of these, but it’s that last one that really sticks in our craws. It’s also the most dangerous, because whittling something as huge and important as politics down to two distasteful choices has had a chilling effect on participation in democracy our Founding Fathers couldn’t have foreseen.
The Second American Revolution Is Coming for Fake Government
America has had a fake government for longer than any of us have been alive.
Back in 1804, a delegation of natives and their allies from the newly purchased Louisiana Territory begged Thomas Jefferson to meet with them. They wanted to discuss and protest what they saw as a massive land grab by a conquering, imperialistic force. Jefferson refused to hear them out, saying: “…[O]ur new fellow citizens are yet as incapable of self-government as children.”
Some historians identify this moment as one of the historical events that changed America — the very last chance freedom-minded Americans had of sheltering the Native American people from the cultural genocide that eventually destroyed them. And they’re almost certainly correct. Even in those days, America was an empire by and for consumers and capitalists — and led by folks who wanted to impose order by force, rather than with education, compromise and cooperation.
So, in the coming years, settlers and the still-young government of the United States slowly digested the Louisiana Territory and cut it into neat little fiefdoms — “united states,” if you prefer — nearly the way an amoeba would.
You’ve heard the phrase “divide and conquer.” What you probably haven’t heard is “strength in ever-smaller numbers.” Because the logic doesn’t work. Friction between political parties, compounded again by a bicameral legislature and then again, 50 more times, by the establishment of 50 separate state governments, is good for business.
And, because friction is good for business, war will never cease, and partisanship and so-called “partisan issues” — which are vanishingly rare, as we’ve seen — will never release their duopolistic grip on American politics and, therefore, social progress across the globe.
American Democracy Is About Competition. The Second Revolution Is About Cooperation.
We’ve spent a lot of time assuming competition would “sort things out.” Competition, we’re told, delivers a better product every time. But that can’t be true for the children of Flint, Mich., whose government poisoned them when they chose the lowest bid from among unaccountable, privately owned builders.
Unless I’m missing something, competition hasn’t fixed a single one of the real and serious problems here on Earth. In point of fact, it seems to have only made everything worse. Capitalistic competition has delivered death and ignominy to the people of the world and imperiled even our own ability to practice democracy freely.
So let’s not get too excited about “competition” being some saving grace for American politics. At the present moment, politics is a business just like any other — so “flooding the market” with dozens of competing parties may actually just lead to more confusion.
The second American Revolution coming now could very well be political agnosticism. Not political disinterest. Not apathy. Rather, it’ll be the rejection of labels entirely.
What was the delegation from the Louisiana Territory worried about? What was the American Revolution for? People were concerned even then about the trajectory politics was taking. It was already not a representative democracy, but a republic — an assembly of elites who had just enough to gain from the system that they would place their own supremacy and comfort above the needs of the governed every time they had a choice to make.
It’s still happening. The revolution has arrived, even if the DNC and the GOP don’t seem to want to face it or know how to stop it. Both of these corporations have been playing a long con of doling out token victories while keeping the fundamental, parasitic structure of government and commerce in place. Nothing’s changed.
But it’s changing. Because people are getting wise to the fact that this is all fake and has been from the start. How do we know this? Because:
According to Gallup, Americans who consider themselves “politically unaffiliated” are getting perilously close to outnumbering registered Republicans and Democrats combined.
Whereas the political establishment here and elsewhere has managed to keep its hold on power by dividing the people they rule, it seems now almost like the tables have turned. The people practicing empty self-aggrandizement — the DNC — and blatant cruelty — the GOP — have become the divided party themselves. They stand united and equal in their uselessness, and are now equally ready for disintegration.
Independents — political revolutionaries — know change is coming. A time when we scan ballots not for labels, but for real leaders who trade in honesty, justice, compassion and common sense. America might have a chance after all of turning its politics into a meritocracy of ideas, instead of a revolving cast of rodeo clowns, caricatures and charlatans.