Pardon the coinage. It's merely a succinct way of saying that the Democratic and Republican parties have used legal means to prevent any new party from seriously threatening their shared control of the political system. In consequence, their power brokers are relatively well insulated from the displeasure of the electorate, since each can point to the other and say, "Oh yeah? Well, if you don't stick by me, look at what you'll get instead!"
For a freedom lover, the most galling thing about this arrangement is that each party, when in power, applies far more energy to advancing the anti-freedom parts of its agenda than it does to the pro-freedom parts. When the party in power is deposed and its adversary takes the helm, rather than undoing its predecessor's crimes against individual liberty, it adds its own.
In The God Of The Machine, Isabel Paterson made reference to the political ratchet effect:
Further, political power has a ratchet action; it works only one way, to augment itself. A transfer occurs by which the power cannot be retracted, once it is bestowed.
Paterson's major example, the persistence of the Prohibition enforcement agencies even after the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, suggests that her focus was on "issue" usurpations, independent of party involvement. I wonder what she would have thought of today's "ping-pong ratchet," wherein citizens are encouraged to look to the Democrats to undo the excesses of the Republicans, and vice-versa, but are almost always disappointed and worse.
We who consider the global anti-terrorism campaign to be the most important issue of our time have been strongly encouraged to return Republican officeholders to power, despite their excessive federal spending and their repeated trouser-dropping for various interest groups. Come November, quite a lot of Americans will pull the Republican levers with distaste, for those very reasons. Similarly, a lot of left-of-center types will pull the Democratic levers with a grimace, because of Democrats' clear unwillingness to fight the War Against Islamic Aggression without the French alongside them. But if history is a guide, whichever party should have hegemony after the fall elections will do further damage to freedom through its domestic policies.
Given the stability of the duopoly, what alternatives does the freedom lover have? Is there any way to discipline the G.O.P. out of its profligacy? Is there any way to turn the party of Jefferson and Jackson away from special-interest statism and back toward Constitutional liberty?
I've long been a fan of "None Of The Above" -- the only "candidate" that never, ever lies or abuses his powers -- but that choice has been forbidden to nearly all of us as well. Apart from a massive tax rebellion or an armed uprising, what other avenues remain?
November draws ever nearer. We should give the matter some thought.