The Binary Fallacy and the End of Two Parties

The results of eight years of Bush-Cheney at the helm make the demise of the Republican Party an easy call. Our financial system is on life support. The major banks are insolvent, according to banking and legal authority William K. Black. If they’re not, they’re in intensive care. No matter how many trillions of dollars worth of infusions they receive, they’re not making loans. The economy is in a free fall with growth down 6% a quarter and job losses running at nearly 600,000 a month. We’re stuck in two catastrophic wars. Despite President Obama’s election, we’re viewed with suspicion and disregard throughout the world.

The public knows which party bears the primary blame for all of this and they’re not about to forget any time soon. The Republican Party is headed for the political graveyard.

They’re not going to rely on past achievements though. Through their self-proclaimed national leader, the odious Rush Limbaugh, they’ve chosen to attack the first Latino nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, for being a “racist.” Former Oxycontin addict Limbaugh said, “She brings a form of bigotry and racism to the court.” He went on to say that nominating her was like nominating Klansman and Aryan Nation advocate David Duke for the highest court.

These charges are quite literally bizarre, particularly with Limbaugh calling anyone else a racist. Newt Gingrich has joined Limbaugh in a duet of stupidity. This is appropriate since Gingrich is the architect of the power and policies used by Republicans to drive the nation into its current crisis.

The political impact for Republicans will be devastating. Sotomayor is the first Latino nominated to the Supreme Court. Latinos represent the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States.

They’re the fastest group ever to assimilate to U.S. culture and achieve middle class status. Latinos went for Obama 67% to McCain’s 33%, and comprised 9% of the electorate in 2008. Among Latino youth, the fastest growing segment of the Latino population, the choice was 76% Obama compared to 19% McCain.

Sotomayor is also a woman nominee. Women comprised 53% of the electorate in 2008 and they went for Obama 56% to 43% for McCain. Many of those women are working and struggle with fools like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich on a regular basis.

The Republicans are like an early adolescent frenetically trying on new identities, each seemingly stranger than the last. Led by the Southern wing, the party began by opposing the bailout for the big three U.S. automakers. Acting as though the nation doesn’t need any heavy industry or a few million people don’t need a job, their mask of fiscal rigor hid the fact that key southern states have the manufacturing base for major foreign automakers.

They then turned to Rush and, at the same time, held a national protest in April. Sparsely attended, this nationwide event acquired the unfortunate name of “Tea bagging.” It failed to produce anything more than some Jerry Springer quality footage for a brief spot on local news. Recently, the national Republican Party, backed by early presidential aspirant Gingrich, tried to rename the Democrats as the “Democratic Socialist Party.” There is no end in sight to this parade of irrelevant, out of touch efforts.

We’re now seeing the final phases of the Republican dance macabre. The Limbaugh-Gingrich anti-Latino campaign is so dangerous that some Republican senators, including right wing Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), are moving away from the slanders against Sotomayor. John McCain (R-AZ) also sees the implications for his party. He’s signed up to attend the National Council of La Raza conference this summer to counter the anti Latino rhetoric spread by other Republican leaders.

Democratic loyalists are acting as though the Republican demise is an accomplishment on their part. It is as though their understated — but very complicit — support of the Republican policies of empire and wealth transfer to the ultra wealthy will go unnoticed.

Congressional Democrats voted in the majority to authorize the Iraq invasion. They voted in the majority to fund the Iraq adventure long after the lies leading to war were well known. A majority of Senate Democrats voted for the Patriot Act. A Democratic controlled Senate allowed further government spying on personal communication (FISA Amendments) in 2008 and a third of Senate Democrats supported the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which gutted habeas corpus, and Democrats voted for the initial Wall Street welfare bill; also know as the bailout.

Right now, the Obama administration is responsible for doubling the Bush administrations cash transfer form the U.S. Treasury to Wall Street and the banks. Democrats failed to pass the only major bill to ease rampant foreclosures. This left 1.7 million families likely to lose their homes. Democrats did pass a credit card reform bill but forgot to cap those 29% interest limits that the banks arbitrarily assign.

There was an announced policy to leave Iraq. To date, all we’ve seen are plans to open up a new phase of the Afghan war with tens of thousands of troops simply switching job assignments from Iraq to an even more treacherous landscape. Ominously, we now have plans for super embassy in Pakistan to rival the fortress constructed in Iraq.

Democrats don’t want people to see pictures of Bush-Cheney torture from the prison at Guantanamo, probably because it occurred with funding that they helped provide. They don’t want to close that facility if it means housing prisoners in the United States. This forced their president into the extraordinary and troubling position of maintaining current prisoners in Cuba. As the Democratic Senators participated in the 90 to 6 vote to refuse President Obama funds to close Guantanamo, they were resolute in failing to mention that only 10 of over 400 prisoners there are charged with a violent crime. To borrow an appropriate response, You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, at long last? Apparently not.

Democrats won’t even talk about the deaths of over a million Iraqi civilians due to civil strife caused by the war that they funded. Failing to talk about it means it never happened, they hope.

Despite all of the alleged but obvious crimes of Bush-Cheney against people here and around the world, the Democrats want to “look forward” and bypass prosecutions of any sort against the Bush administration.

The Binary Fallacy

The binary fallacy is the crude dialectic that assumes that the two political parties are the only choices for voters and that what’s bad for one party will always be good for the other. As evidence for this, we have Nixon’s Watergate scandal followed by huge Democratic victories in congressional elections. President Carter’s economically distressed four years begat the Reagan revolution and so forth.

Democrat Party operatives see the collapse of the nation and attendant pain as working against the Republicans since they were in control when the decline was assured by Republican sponsored programs. The situation is so bad, they argue, no one will take the Republicans seriously over the near and midterm. Add the highly favorable demographics among youth, women, and the emerging Latino population and you’ve got the dominant political party of the next few decades.

Republican loyalists speak of the risks that the Obama administration has inherited. When he falters, as he may given the circumstances that Republicans know all too well, his failure will assure a Republican comeback they argue.

Both parties fail to realize two flaws in their embedded fallacy.

First, the fallacy became a manufactured truth over decades due to the rigged game of U.S. politics. Funding and access to major media presume membership in one of the two major parties. Third party candidates need to poll equal or ahead in the public opinion polls, as Ross Perot did in 1992, in order to get any media attention or money. When the system is heavily rigged to exclude third parties, then, of course, there are only two choices.

The second flaw in the binary fallacy is embodied by our current troubles. The fallacy does not take into account successful performance during extreme crises. We’re either in a depression or we’re in the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. Times are desperate for tens of millions. The vast majority lives in fear of entering the world of the unemployed, homeless, and bereft. Iraq is the biggest foreign policy disaster in modern times. Our new plans for an Afghanistan adventure have the potential to equal Iraq in terms of national loss and increased threats of blowback.

One party created the current disaster. The other has embraced the broadest parameters of the policies that created the disasters that voters want fixed — wealth transfers to the ultra rich while the vast majority gets just about nothing plus mindless, counter productive fantasies of empire through war.

The two parties and the elitists who look down their noses on the overwhelming majority of citizens assume that the people will simply tolerate the creation of a catastrophe by one party and the perpetuation of that grave injustice to citizens by the other.

When you’re broke, you know it.

When you’re out of work, you know it.

When there are no jobs, you know it.

And when the country continues to fight overseas but does nothing to protect economic security at home, you know it.

The game is up. The party is over. The people have a fundamental right to survive, at the very least. If both parties continue to promote policies that leave out almost all citizens, as is now the case, there will be alternatives that look nothing like the current two political parties. The binary fallacy and the two parties that fail to address our crises will be no more. Relying solely on the failures of the opposing party while embracing their programs will soon be defunct.

  • Special thanks to Kathyn Stone for her helpful comments.
  • Michael Collins writes for Scoop Independent News and a variety of other web publications on election fraud and other corruptions of the new millennium. He is one of few to report on the ongoing struggles of Susan Lindauer, an activist accused of being a foreign agent, who was the subject of a government request for forced psychiatric medication. This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship, a link to this article, and acknowledgment of images. Read other articles by Michael, or visit Michael's website.

    4 comments on this article so far ...

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    1. Michael Collins said on June 8th, 2009 at 6:28pm #

      Thanks for posting this article! There have been a number of outstanding responses speculating on what will happen in our period of decline. The best is from Numerian at The Agonist. The sequence makes sense as we spin out of control.
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      1) If people are fed up enough with the status quo, they will take their protests to the streets. These won’t be the ludicrous tea-bagging parties, but serious complaints about lack of services or opportunities, and the complaints will be directed at local government.

      2) The heavy cost of government taxation will be another source of protest. The tendency of all governments to gouge the taxpayers with petty fees, or usurious fees (parking fines which double if not paid in 14 days), may lead not just to public protests, but disengagement from the responsibilities of citizenship. People will simply not pay. Voluntary payment of income taxes will decline. Bartering of services is already on the rise and will grow even more, depriving the government of sales tax. Properties are already being abandoned, causing the property tax take to fall. Local and state governments are already under stress trying to find revenues to fund basic services, but a voter and taxpayer revolt will make these problems much worse. Even the federal government will feel the strain, as the bond market begins to extract a heavy price for any new borrowing.

      3) Obama’s coalition of enthusiastic supporters will evaporate in disillusionment. He will increasingly have to rely on corporate donations to fund his campaigns, because voters won’t have the means to make campaign contributions and nothing he has done will justify people making financial sacrifices for him.

      4) Alternatives to the dominant media are arising to challenge the way this country is run. There are a lot of disgusted journalists who have lost their jobs and have been rethinking what has gone wrong with the US. They are slowly finding their voice on the internet or through books that don’t have to be marketed through a corporate publisher. An angry public will no longer trust the traditional media and will find ways of reading and listening to alternative views.

      5) The secession movement will pick up pace. Calls for secession will be another form of localized protest against enormous government taxation burdens and lousy services.

      6) People like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich will gain more respect and a wider audience. People will really begin paying attention to what they have been saying, which will be seen as more credible than what is coming from either party.

      7) “Extremist” candidates will win some elections on both the Republican and Democratic sides. These will be politicians who have found a way to run low-cost campaigns based on wild ideas like socialism or secession. They will shake up the status quo from within.

      Numerian, The Agonist
      http://agonist.org/michael_collins/20090605/the_binary_fallacy_and_the_end_of_both_parties#comment-189057
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    2. rg the lg said on June 8th, 2009 at 7:25pm #

      So, Numerian, The Agonist, spouts the Collins line and is sanctified?

      Both the original and the footnote have some worthy points to ponder. They are points that have been brought up on this site by all sorts of folks noting that the difference in the parties is that between the tweedle twins: Dee and Dum. There is no reason to regurgitate … besides I truly do dislike the taste of bile.

      We need a revolution. I agree. I just don’t see anyone being fed up enough to actually get off their arse and do something. We do have a more or less mouthy bunch in the anti-war movement, and some folks have actually worked within the system to block really bad political appointees (the chap from TN who was appointed to the federal judiciary and ultimately pulled out … he worked for CCA …) is an example of that sort of activism. But the streets? A real TEA PARTY?

      Not in AmeriKKKa any time soon. We are way to selfish to be really willing to put our cozy lifestyles on the line … whether we style ourselves as left, right or indifferent. Thus the Numerian comments have about the same value as the hickups … you feel better, I suppose …

      A multi-party system would be nice … but we are SO brainwashed into the current system that the malaise is systemic and endemic. I have sarcastically (I do so enjoy sarcasm) suggested that the Senators be selected in a bidding system for the elites, life-time senecures until death or resignation … it would serve as a dandy revenue resource for the states. But I know damned well that stuff like that won’t happen … because you, just like me, are way too cozy.

      Until WE THE PEOPLE decide to really think about our system … and we quit acting as though a bunch of rich land and slave-owning aristocrats coupled with the mercantile interests of New England, got together and undid the Articles of Confederation to protect their property at all costs, that the freeing of the slaves was not a humanitarian action but one of realizing that debt-slavery was far more effective than bondage, that women’s suffrage only helped to calm women, and that the civil rights BS of the 60′s and 70′s was only restating existing law … until we begin to realize that OUR SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT is a fraud that YOU and I support by not resisting …

      … then we can have what amounts to academic masturbation until the end of time … and nothing will change. The fact is that capitalism is so successful because it does buy off opposition … and let us all be honest, we have each and everyone of us been bought off … and co-opts their goals by making meaningless concessions and creating endless committees, authorizing tons of studies, and putting off any action until the masses have quieted. As members of the masses, YOU and I are complicit in the American System … we are the footmen, the willing troopers of empire … and we do so because …

      Well now …

      … aren’t we just oh, so cozy …

      RG the LG

    3. Michael Collins said on June 8th, 2009 at 9:10pm #

      “and we do so because …

      Well now …

      … aren’t we just oh, so cozy …”

      Nice closing. I’m inclined to agree just for aesthetic reasons.

      But, now it’s different. A president was elected in what was a resounding rejection of the Bush lies and hysteria. We don’t get nominees who are even close to earning an affirmative vote. But 2008 was a referendum on the worst of the worst, the Bush-Cheney horror show. The people voted the right way. The only problem was doing that required voting for the challenger.

      Obama wasn’t that hard to figure out. He showed up to help Lieberman defeat a real anti war (not just anti Iraq) candidate for Senate.

      It took less time for Obama to cave than for Tyson to finish off Sphinx.

      That’s the traditional scenari – “movingi to the center.”

      But this is different. We’re in very serious trouble. The 9.5% unemployment rate is not based on the same calculations they used in the Great Depression. With that, it’s more like 18%. Oops, they can tell us one thing but when you and I are forking over good change for a spacious refrigerator box, we’ll know. They know, those unemployed, and tens of millions onw that they’re at risk.

      Hard to be cozy when you lose everything. It’s even harder to tolerate losing everything when you know that it was all based on a pack of lies to benefit the very few. We had anything close to this since the Great Depression.

      Cozy won’t work anymore when the shocks hit.

      You are right. We do need substantial changes in the way we govern ourselves, starting with actually doing that.

      Thanks for the response. For a moment there, I felt cozy.

    4. rg the lg said on June 9th, 2009 at 8:22am #

      Ah, this needs a careful response. So try to send me an email via rgaylor at pvt networks dot net and I will endeavor to make sure we have a dialogue. This dratted site keeps dumping what I write … doesn’t even get around to saying the comments need to be sanctified by the owners (capitalists, perchance) of the site? Talk about restrictions amounting to censorship!

      RG the LG