The Monopoly of the Republican and Democratic Parties
October 30, 2014
To further guard the political power from encroachments by the people, the American political system has legalized and entrenched the monopoly of the Republican and Democratic Parties over the selection of candidates. Thus, the elected officials receive their real mandate not from the electorate as a whole, but from the political parties. The parties, in turn, do not represent the general interests of society, but only the special interests of the class forces which stand behind them. In effect, the feudal system, which guaranteed political privileges for the land-owning class, has been replaced by a new system of political privilege that keeps the power in the hands of the two big political parties and the big business interests that back them up. Instead of the political equality of all citizens and a government of the people, we have a system of party privilege and party government.
In fact, in many cities and states there is, in effect, only a one party system (e.g., the Democratic Party machine has held undivided sway over large areas of the South for more than 100 years). The essential issue remains that, in all cases, when the people vote once every two or four years, they do not really have any choice at all. The candidates advertised on TV and listed on the ballot have not been nominated by the people themselves, but were chosen solely by the Republican and Democratic party machines. For example, before the 1992 election, hardly anyone outside of Arkansas or the upper class had even heard of Bill Clinton. Clinton was financed by the rich, promoted by the mass media and nominated by the Democratic Party, which along with the Republicans has a legal monopoly (or near monopoly) over the selection of candidates.
The electoral “reform” laws of the 1970’s further entrenched this two party monopoly by instituting public financing of the two parties and legislating new obstacles to the formation and development of new parties.
A modern definition of democracy must address the need to take the power to select candidates out of the hands of the political parties (which represent special interests) and reserve this right solely to the people themselves. Furthermore, in order for the people to be able to express their will, a democratic system must include a process whereby the people can participate in discussion, debate and formulation of policy, and in which this discussion is directly incorporated into the decision-making process.