The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The Two Party System Is a Joke

Nov 21, 2022

The 2022 elections are now over. Even if some races have yet to be called and Georgia’s Senate race is headed to a run-off, the overall outcome is clear: the Democrats still control the Senate—just barely. And the Republicans now control the House of Representatives—just barely.

Democrats say they have won, because the usual pattern is that the party of the sitting president loses big-time in the midterm elections. Republicans say they have won because they now have a majority in the House. In fact, both parties are probably very happy with the outcome—because now nobody expects anything to get done for the next two years! Commentators are already telling the public to expect two years of partisan gridlock in Congress; Joe Biden is probably thrilled that he will not be obliged to deliver on any of the promises he made two years ago!

This is an important role of the two-party system for society’s rulers: when people get dissatisfied with the way things are going, seats and houses and the presidency change hands … while nothing changes, while politicians bicker between themselves, making a sound and fury, signifying nothing. After two years, the process repeats itself, with the same two parties flipping back and forth. Of course, when it comes to corporate tax breaks, or military contracts, or anything else the wealthy class wants, THOSE decisions get passed right away, with full bipartisan support!

We can see what ordinary people really think about this process when we look at how many don’t vote: in a typical midterm election, less than half of eligible voters actually cast a vote. The 2018 elections were considered a high point—because the voter turnout actually crossed 50%! The 2022 voter turnout was not that high. And the lower the income level, the lower the voter turnout is. Clearly, many working people do not believe that the elections have any effect on their daily lives!

And why should they? In all the campaigns, neither Republicans nor Democrats offered anything approaching actual ideas about how to address the problems facing working people. Republicans may have talked about inflation; Democrats may have mentioned abortion rights … but both filled their ads with nothing but attacks and fear, telling voters to vote for them or else the world would come crashing down.

Well, we have news for them: OUR worlds are already crashing down. And it’s been BOTH parties, in service to their wealthy masters, who have allowed it to happen!