American Democracy Redux

Long before the age of lawfare embodied by trials like those of Hunter Biden and Donald Trump, politicians were supposed to at least pretend to address the concerns of the voters.

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  • alex_the_tired
    June 24, 2024 8:03 AM

    Ted, speaking as a white male cisgendered Atheist coffee drinker who prefers French fries with his cheeseburgers, I am shocked, disgusted, and outraged at how you failed — AGAIN!!!1! — to address the concerns of the white male cisgendered Atheist coffee drinkers who prefer French fries with their cheeseburgers. I certainly can’t agree with anything you’ve said.

    The above is what has gone wrong with the system. Politicians used to confront blocs that represented significant numbers of voters. And their concerns were usually “kitchen table” issues. “Kitchen table” sounding a lot better than “Marxist” but they boiled down to the same thing: the workers didn’t want to be oppressed by the factory owners. And back then, people understood that one Mark Zuckerberg had one vote, and his 10,000 minions had 10,000 votes, and the path to winning was in appeasing the minions.

    But now? The 1% of the 1% of the … have figured out the loophole: Get the 10,000 starving proles arguing about “diversity” issues that have no right or wrong or objective answers. Abortion? What a goldmine that has been. Almost a perfect 50/50 split. You can’t resolve the argument. So it goes on forever while everyone scrimps a little more. Transgender bathrooms and pronouns? Once we figure that out, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are magically going to drop to 1840s levels! And so on.

    Ask a politician: Can you run on the issues and win? The answer? Of course not. Thanks to social media and targeted propaganda by the hyperwealthy, everyone’s forced to “debate” pointless things that are of concern to, tops, about 3% of the general population. There’s no way to build any meaningful coalition because everyone’s screaming about how there aren’t enough cheeseburger options for single women who think Oswald was a time-traveling android.

  • Two other options if you can’t find dirt on them: get them kicked off the ballot by taking your case against them, however flaky, to a judge from your political party (that’s what happened to us Greens here in Tennessee)

    Or, if you can’t find dirt on them, make stuff up and scream it from the rooftops. Petitioning to get Dr. Jill Stein on the ballot here in Tennessee as an “independent” (which takes 275 signatures, while getting the Green Party on the ballot would take around 40,000). I encounter people who say “she’s too close to Putin for me,” due to a widely circulated misleading meme, while nobody knows that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of those allegations found there was no basis for them (but nearly emptied the GP’s treasury due to legal fees).

  • Ranked-choice voting. If we all ranked the candidates regardless of party then the candidates wouldn’t be able to count on the folks who are too afraid to waste their votes on a third-party candidate or on an “unelectable” candidate. The candidates would actually have to appeal to the voters to get ranked highly on a voter’s ballot, because these divisive, niche non-issues won’t give a majority to any one candidate on the first round if there are many candidates.

    • I would love to see ranked-choice voting become the norm in this country. However….when Green Party folks in Memphis passed city-level ranked choice voting by referendum, the city’s Democratic leadership (black) went to the state legislature (overwhelmingly white GOP) and, though they don’t agree on much, they agreed that he state should pass a law banning cities from adopting ranked-choice voting. The duopoly party ain’t gonna go for it. I’m not sure what it would take to institute it in this country. In most democracies, the electoral process is controlled by an independent civil service-type board. Not here in the USA.

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