America's two-party system is "archaic, ubiquitous and immovable," say Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch in The Wall Street Journal. Republicans and Democrats have teamed up to create the "the longest-lived duopoly in American history" — but it may not last. Great duopolies in the business world have cratered many times before. The craft beer revolution shook up MillerCoors' and Anheuser-Busch's suds stronghold, and a wave of tech entrepreneurs brought former browser champs Netscape and Internet Explorer to their knees. Now, with the number of independent voters on the rise, we're seeing the same pattern playing out with out political parties. Here, an excerpt:
There is nothing inherently stable about two organizations dominating a particular market in the hurly-burly of modern American life. In fact, there are many reasons to suspect that such arrangements are unstable—particularly when technology allows captive consumers to flee....
The future — even the present — belongs not to the central re-election committee, but to the decentralized single-issue swarm. Wherever both parties have colluded in erecting a roadblock to the desires of American voters, there are citizen groups creating angry and effective coalitions to confront the status quo.
The decentralized and effectively leaderless Tea Party is the most potent example of this permanent non-governing minority. The movement has focused like a laser beam on what all but a few Washington politicians won't dare to touch: Actually cutting spending and debt....
Such new configurations do not mean that the Democrats and Republicans will disappear anytime soon. Unlike Kodak and Fujifilm, they have a guaranteed revenue stream, and they get to write their own rules for survival. But the demonstrated ability of disgruntled voters to create whole new ways of doing things has made our political duopolists less secure and complacent.
Read the entire article in The Wall Street Journal.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is why you can't trust the NSA. Ever.
- Innocent before proven guilty? The bizarre bipartisan rush to clear Rick Perry
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 10 things you need to know today: August 22, 2014
- Don't listen to Paul Ryan: The GOP is still the party of makers and takers
- ISIS and the echoes of the West's religious terror
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- The single best way to help your kid succeed at school
- What's wrong with Europe’s economy?
- 7 of the scariest spiders in existence
Subscribe to the Week