Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC) (chemoelectric) wrote,
Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC)
chemoelectric

The non-linearity of the decline of American democracy

I think it important to understand that the decline of American democracy will not happen linearly, where by linearity I mean the accumulation of "pieces" of decline, which can be dealt with individually.  Here's an example of how it actually happens.  Elected officials, their appointed underlings, wicked private companies, etc., do things like miscalibrate voting machines to make John Kerry votes show up for Bush, maybe hack the central tabulators, distribute voting machines so Bushist districts get many more machines than Democratic districts, etc.  These maneuvers throw the "election" to Bush.  Outraged citizens take these things to court, but courts are reluctant to provide a remedy, even if they acknowledge the problems; for instance, a court recently rejected some "misplaced" ballots in a Washington state election, saying it was simply "too late" to include these ballots.  What do we do next?  When courts make such decisions, our normal recourse is to vote out the people whose actions in office so offend us; but how do you vote out the people who are stuffing the ballots, if they control the pinnacles of government?  You can't get them out.  They can cheat more and more boldly, while our ability to do anything about it simultaneously declines.

I would like to recommend the article "We've Been Had" by Edgar J. Steele, a right winger.  It's at http://www.serendipity.li/jsmill/bushwon.htm.  I'll note a caution, though, that the last minute swing from nice Walter Mondale to nasty Norm Coleman is not to me implausible.  There was a televised debate at the last minute, and Fritz Mondale looked and sounded old.  Moreover, Mondale was condescending in his particular way, talking to Coleman as if to a child.  I felt sick inside after watching this debate, sick as in frightened of losing.
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