All this scheming to overthrow the American Bipolarchy left me disappointed, especially since all the experts acknowledge that the two-party system as a whole is failing the nation. The novelist Kevin Baker describes it, speaking of Republicans in particular, as "this weird inversion of Tammany [Hall, the archetypical big-city political machine]. They don't get you out of jail, they don't give you a turkey at Christmas, they don't do anything for you, and yet somehow they keep winning." But the only solutions proposed involve strengthening the Democratic party, getting more people to vote for it, getting it to adopt new policies or resume old ones. None of them seems to realize that it's the very existence of the Democratic party that keeps the Republican party going. They recognize that the G.O.P. is composed of increasingly incompatible elements, but none of them notes that the biggest thing holding them together is their hatred of "liberals" embodied in the Democratic party. As long as this fear and loathing persists, something like the present-day Republican party will exist in opposition to it. None of them seems willing to make the big gamble on the possibility of destroying the Republicans by destroying the Democrats first. Too many people, I suspect, fear that the G.O.P. would simply claim dictatorial power should the Democrats collapse. But if there are as many as three ideological factions within the Republican party, then there'd probably be as many as three parties in the first post-Democratic election. Similarly, you'd be more likely to see the National Women's Party that some hard-core Clintonites have proposed if the Republicans had already departed from the scene, since the feminist extremists would have nothing left to scare them into staying with the Democrats. The best-case scenario would be for one party to tear itself apart, and for the other to follow suit at the next election.
Let's believe that something like this could happen soon, especially if we help it along, or else we could face the worst-case scenario described by Scott McConnell:
If the next president orders the military to invade or bomb Iran or some other country, I would probably welcome it if some key generals said, "No Mr. President, not this time," and went over the head of the president for congressional and popular support. At that point I'd put as much trust in the judgment and patriotism of a high-ranking military officer as in that of a politician who has spent decades catering to the fabulously rich men who finance both major parties. That's one way the current stasis could be broken -- our version of a Gaullist coup.
To which Kevin Baker responds by recalling that, in the same magazine five years before, he had written, "In the end, we'll beg for the coup."