With a new President coronated in America, all of corporate media is praising the return of Democracy. And a lot of us who have paid attention to history and not been swept up by the charm of some Democrats are saying “can something return when it wasn’t really there to begin with?” Look saying America was a Democracy is like saying Batman is stable. He’s an elderly rich man taking young children as his ward and teaching them hyper paranoia to avenge the death of his parents. Ain’t nothing stable about that man, and there ain’t anything about America that’s Democratic.
Merriam-Webster defines a Democracy as a government by the people, a rule of majority where common people have the source of political authority. Ok, sorry to get all high school debate club on you guys, but there’s a reason I wanted to start this way. And by the way, I think the dictionary is only form of media where you can’t have an alternate source. There’s no independent dictionary like there’s independent journalists, musicians and comedians. It’s hard to be independent about the English language and expect people to know what you’re talking about.
Anyway, like the dictionary and pretty much any candidate that’s trying to milk votes will tell you that we’re a Democracy governed for and by the people. It’s written in America’s oldest document, the Constitution. And that follows the trend of old things governing everything in America. This is a nation governed by old people and old documents. A true Democracy would be one person, one vote but that’s not exactly how this works in America, because America has the Electoral College.
Sure this sounds like a school you go to to learn about the election and how the government is run, but it’s the least intellectual thing in this country. In fact the University of Phoenix is more of a college than the Electoral College. Though the way they make their decisions would have you thinking everyone that came up with it was at a kegger. The Electoral College was a compromise in the selection process for President.
During the Constitution Convention, there were some that wanted Congress to select the President and there were those that wanted the popular of the people to do so. So a compromise was struck. A group of independent electors would be chosen to meet in DC to vote for a candidate based on the will of the people. The number of electors depends on the state’s population. Each state automatically gets 3 electors and then more gets added based on the population of the state. This was done so that smaller states had some level representation in this process compared to the bigger states. The magic number is 270 electoral votes. And not only that, but when someone wins the majority of electors, they win the whole state not the number of electors that voted for them.
But this system is flawed. It means that all the candidates have to do is appeal to some of the larger states and get the right amount of electoral votes to win. And in America there have been 5 instances where the electoral votes don’t match the popular vote. And this system doesn’t really represent a Democracy when it’s not one person, one vote. In states like California it’s over 200k people per vote. The counter to the popular vote argument is that candidates would then just go to large major cities to win. But in reality the population of even the top 100 largest cities in America wouldn’t get you the majority of the win.
As if that wasn’t enough, its inception is also rooted in racism. When the Electoral College was formed, there was a question of how to account for slaves. Since the Founding Fathers and a good portion of the nation didn’t consider black people as real people, the compromise was to see slaves as 3/5 of person. This still dehumanizes black people! But don’t worry now America just does this for immigrants. Immigrants are often left out of census data that calculates population size to determine Electors. This system was birth in dehumanizing a class of people and is now continuing to do so. The compromise didn’t help black people and this type of view is still rampant in our societies today because we give Creedence to racist systems like the Electoral College.
The Electoral College only works with a two party system. Adding more parties would complicate this already complicated system even further. This is one of the big reasons why alternative parties like the Green Party, Socialist Alternative, the Libertarians and more are kept off the ballots. The claim is the Electoral College creates a Representative Democracy but only represents 2 parties; the Democrats or the Republicans. But the tapestry of human thought and ideologies don’t get boxed into one or the other. They’re diverse and evolving. The duopoly would have us fighting each other over colors, keeping us in a state of arrested development. The Electoral College wants people to be in a state of political drunkardness, the same state that came up with the idea.
Now, even if we had a popular vote system where it was one person, one vote, we’d still have to deal with all the rampant election fraud from Exit Polling data being off by 4-10%, gerrymandering, throwing voters off the roll for address changes, Interstate crosscheck to shutting down polling stations. Democracies don’t stifle the voice of the people with these kinds of frauds. Hell in most nations if the exit poll data is off by 2% it triggers a recount. Not in America though. America is a Capitalist nation, where cheating is a way you ahead in life, so if there’s cheating in its form of Democracy, it’s just business as usual. And if you cheat on your spouse, you’re just living out the American Dream.
America’s political landscape is also dominated by corporate control. A Princeton study a few years ago showed that there’s a direct correlation between legislation that gets passed and the will of billionaires and corporate CEOs. This is also connected to the fact that candidates can receive up to $5800 in individual donations. On average, most working class people don’t even have $5800 in their savings accounts and if they did, it’s unlikely they’re going to give all of it a politician. The only people that can afford that are the rich. So if you’re rich, you can contribute the max amount to various candidates as long as they promise to keep you rich and legislate on your behalf.
Once again we see that what this so called Representative Democracy is all about is the will the few, primarily the few that have boat loads of cash. Literal boat loads. They have so much money, that they not only purchase politicians but also boats to keep their money to continue purchasing politicians and also more boats.
If we had a true Democracy where the majority rules, we’d have Medicare For All since 72% of the people want this; we’d Defund Police departments as we add funding to social & mental health programs, community based policing and see killer cops imprisoned as we saw hundreds of millions of Americans take to the streets and call for this; we’d have a Universal Basic Income, which has become a popular idea during the pandemic; Billionaires would be taxed higher and it would be illegal for them to hide their money in islands people haven’t heard of since Geography class.
Seriously till the release of the Panama Papers, which showed how many rich & power leaders & CEOs were hiding trillions in off shore accounts, did anyone really think of the Cayman Islands? I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again; You know you have a broken economic system when currency sees more beaches than the working class.
This is not a Democracy. This is an oligarchy. It’s just a more compartmentalized oligarchy. In the House & Senate, the majority leader has control about what bills go to the floor to get a vote. The bills are written in language the laymen can’t fully understand and not only do they end in the exploitation of the working class, but also the phrases ‘thee’, ‘thou’ and ‘hereto’! And the bills that do land on the floor to help people always have an addendum attached to give corporations more power.
“You want healthcare? Fine, but the CEOs of any corporation can come into your home and shit on your living room floor at will. Its illegal for you clean that shit for at least 48 hours. Cool? You want healthcare right?”
The office of the President not only controls the military, but also decides on Supreme Court nominees. The Executive Branch controls the appointments of the Judicial. The President can also use executive orders in unlimited capacity to enact laws. These are 3 different levels of oligarchical control.
It’s also a plutocracy or a government by the wealthy. Since politicians are bought and sold by corporate CEO, billionaires and their lobbyists, the laws are really dictated by the rich. They create loopholes to ensure they evade taxes and real punishment for breaking worker laws and violating human rights. At best America is an Oligarchical Plutocracy using Democracy as a form of control instead of a form of governance. And at worst it’s a Corporate CryptoFascistism using Democracy as a form of control instead of a form of governance.
A true Democracy would include various parties and represent a diverse collection of thought. A true Democracy would have citizens vote on the passing of easy to read and understand legislations. A true Democracy would want an educated populace that willing to challenge its leaders when they blatantly lie to them. A true Democracy would have Rank Choice Voting, where multiple parties can run and all the candidates would have to be in touch with all voters, including ones they disagree with. Rank Choice Voting would also lead to less voter disenfranchisement, election fraud and billionaire control. Rank Choice Voting determines a true majority which is a core part of in the definition of a Democracy.
The Founding Fathers were flawed and are now mostly outdated. The Electoral College was an intermediate till a better system came along. And there are better systems. What we need now is the populace that has the will to push back against a Plutocratic system. We all have to have the will to enact a General Strike till all of our demands are met to put forth a true Democracy. Till then we’ll just be a nation of and by the rich with an economy run on boat loads of greed & inequality.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!