Conservatives’ frustration over mainstream Republican response to expanded government surveillance, immigration reform, and financial and administrative bloat leaves them with few options for effecting fundamental changes via the traditional political process — at least as long as that process is dominated by two political parties that are, especially on the national level, often indistinguishable.
Sarah Palin intimated Saturday on FOX News that the time may be near when conservatives disenfranchised by elected leaders who represent their interests less poorly than a more liberal opponent, but still not well, may wake up and realize that the modern American political landscape is a product of citizens’ own making and that it should be changed.
Palin reminded viewers that Republican and Democrat are appellations affixed to private political parties, that they don’t entwine with any founding document or Constitutional charter, and that nothing prevents Americans from organizing new parties and movements if they’re fed up with how far the collective ideology of the ruling class has strayed from its primary role of enacting the will of the people.
“Remember, these are private parties, and no one’s forcing us to be enlisted in either party,” she said. “If the GOP continues to back away from the planks in our platform, then, yeah, more and more of us are gonna start saying, ‘You know, what’s wrong with being an independent?’ — kind of that libertarian streak that much of us have.
“In other words, we want government to back off and not infringe upon our rights. I think there will be a lot of us who start saying, ‘GOP, if you abandon us, we have nowhere else to go except to become more independent and not enlisted in one or the other of the private majority parties that rule in our Nation — either Democrat or Republican.’”
Palin pointed to the Senate’s hasty passage of a bipartisan immigration bill, which lawmakers passed without having read through it, as a prime example of both parties’ summary disregard for the electors who placed them in Washington, D.C.
“I think that Republicans who caved, along with Democrats who caved in to [President Barack] Obama’s wishes to legalize illegal aliens, is a matter of a lack of principle and respect for the rule of law. This was an absolute betrayal of working-class Americans who do respect the rule of law and [of] legal immigrant who have come here, stood in line and paid their dues — that’s some of the hypocrisy of our permanent political class in Washington, D.C., which is such an indication of such a problem about abandonment of what we, the people, expect from our representatives and those whom we elect to fulfill the will of the people.”
The stranglehold the two-party system has had on the quadrennial popularity contest known as the Presidential election showed brief signs of weakening in 2008 and in subsequent midterm elections. But even though the Tea Party movement drove a wedge between some RINO politicians and their conservative constituents, it often meant different things (Is the Tea Party about small government only, or does it embrace social conservatism across the board?) to people in different States.
Going forward, can conservatives’ frustrations galvanize future leaders — and their electors — in a more organized fashion? And, if so, will the idealism of a conservative party’s constituents get in the way of the necessary bureaucratic operational mechanics required for a modern political party to function on a national scale? Or will conservatives, as Palin suggests, be content with a grass-roots approach, backing independent candidates and winning small political victories here and there, biding their time until there’s finally sufficient will among our elected leaders to reform the underpinnings of America’s morally bankrupt two-party system?