Don't Fall for the Two-Party Scam
At the leadership level, Republicans and Democrats work for the same bosses.
Let me juxtapose two images.
The first is a CNN headline from today (January 19, 2022).
The second is an unsolicited text message I received yesterday (January 18, 2022).
Nancy Pelosi’s net worth is estimated to be as high as $100 million. She’s been credibly accused of insider trading, and is currently resisting constraints on stock trading by members of Congress. Yet within the same 24-hour period that Democrats are fighting to defend Trump’s abusive border policies, Pelosi is asking people to send the Democratic Party $40, when millions can’t afford food and medicine.
Pelosi’s defenders will argue that there’s nothing wrong with fundraising. But what they refuse to see is that she helps preside over a system that funnels unimaginable wealth to the biggest Republican and Democratic donors, and that $40 from a working class contributor reinforces that oppressive system.
Most Americans are conditioned to think inside a red-blue binary, so that you either back one “team” or the other. And the two party monopoly (or duopoly) wants it that way. As long as people are stuck inside their system, the ultra-rich and ultra-powerful get richer and more powerful, and party leaders keep their cushy positions.
Ruling party leaders see their supporters as unwitting dupes. They keep them in line with sophisticated propaganda, convincing the public that political leaders are noble fighters for justice, and that if only people would vote harder and donate more, things will get better. Yet mysteriously, decade after decade — no matter which party is in the majority — the poor remain poor, the homeless remain homeless, millions lack healthcare, gun violence ravages the nation, immigrants are abused, systemic racism maintains its ugly grip, police brutality continues, trillions go to a bloated military budget, Wall Street gets bailed out, and the climate emergency goes largely unaddressed.
All this is by design. Which is why leftists equate (and attack) the Republican and Democratic parties alike, not because they naively believe there’s no difference between individual Democrats and Republicans, but because they know that at the highest levels of government, the overarching mission is to preserve the status quo.
Harsh leftist critiques of the Democratic Party are not meant to denigrate every single elected Democrat, but to draw attention to systemic obstacles to progress. Cori Bush and Marjorie Taylor Greene are not remotely similar. They occupy two completely different universes. There are principled candidates who run as Democrats, believing they can “push the leadership left” and bring about meaningful change once elected.
I’ve been there. I was an anti-Bush activist who started out as a Democratic liaison to the progressive community and ended up in the party’s upper ranks, thinking I could bring my ideals and values with me. But I learned the hard way that no matter how good my intentions, the system itself was structured to absorb and disempower me. While I worked behind the scenes and never held office, I see how that process is playing out for elected progressives I’ve admired. They are used as mouthpieces for the establishment then blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong.
Democratic and Republican politicians are not all the same, but at the leadership level, they work for the same bosses. Status quo stalwarts like McConnell, Pelosi, Biden, Pence, McCarthy, Romney, Manchin, Schumer, etc. keep their jobs for decades and are well-rewarded precisely because they preserve and protect the power and wealth of the ruling elites. The obscene inequality and injustice tearing our society apart is a feature of the two-party system, not a bug.
If you’re waiting for real progress from a system that cages children, bails out billionaires, causes hundreds of thousands to die in a pandemic, and leaves people homeless, hungry, and without healthcare … you’ll be waiting forever. The entire structure needs to be dismantled and replaced. And that is the sharp dividing line between leftists and just about every other political faction in America. Leftists refuse to suck up to politicians in the futile hope that electing a few more will magically end centuries of entrenched plutocratic power.
The saying goes: If you don’t know who the mark is, you’re the mark. Isn’t it interesting that both parties claim “democracy is at stake” if voters don’t pick them? Or that as Joe Manchin supposedly single-handedly blocks the Biden agenda, Democratic leaders do nothing to diminish his power? Or when Trump was in office and being called “an existential threat to democracy,” Pelosi was pushing to give him more surveillance powers? That doesn’t add up unless someone is getting scammed. Unfortunately, far too many citizens buy into the charade.
One of the most common liberal retorts to leftist critiques of the Democratic Party is “stop criticizing Democrats, you’re helping Republicans!” Another one is “voting third party is voting Republican.” Both of these arguments are pure propaganda — anyone perpetuating them is being manipulated by the duopoly to quell dissent.
Think about it: Are leftists the ones helping Republicans or is it Democratic leaders who warmly embrace the likes of Bush, Cheney, Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, and the Lincoln Project? After all, it’s not leftists calling for a stronger GOP.
“You’re a man of word and a man of honor. Thank you for being my friend.” — Joe Biden to Mitch McConnell, February 2022
“This country needs a strong Republican Party. They've made great contributions to our country.” — Nancy Pelosi, February 2022
“You’re the grand old party of America, you’ve done wonderful things for our country.” — Nancy Pelosi, September 2021
“I think our country needs a strong Republican party. It's very important." — Nancy Pelosi, February 2021
"We need a Republican Party.” — Joe Biden, January 2021
“The country needs a strong Republican Party that’s done so much for our country.” — Nancy Pelosi, September 2021
Worried that the GOP might get “clobbered” in 2020. “I’m really worried that no party should have too much power.” — Joe Biden, December 2019
“In my view, we need a strong Republican Party. We need a Republican Party that’s united.” — Joe Biden, November 2011
I’ll leave you with this photo: