Direct Democracy: America Needs Help

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Jefferson Uwoghiren

Background

American’s global leadership credentials and rights to intervene in other countries internal democratic initiatives, including the hosting to tea parties for detainees, is hinged on its assumed democratic openness, transparency, access to justice and universal suffrage. Like a colossus, America has bestrode the global stage, pointing directions and dictations to other nations, and in many instances punished, militarily, economically and politically, obstinate countries like a school teacher instilling discipline. American demands are simple. Seamless transition of power, independent electoral umpires and corrupt-free campaign financing. To give philip to this desire, they started the intrusive election monitoring processes, requiring countries to open their electoral processes to transparent investigation and interrogation. Non-compliance or cooperation, have resulted in denial of recognitions, and sanctions. They derived enormous joy in being referred to as the leader of democracy and global policeman of democracy.

Crashed Silvery Image

This silvery image is crashing now or has crashed now, with the nerve-wrecking and belligerent acts of President Donald Trump and his small clique of desperate despots. In less than two hours, the hidden contradictions in the American Electoral System has destroyed what America had used for two centuries to hide from the world, resulting in a serious reputational, moral and legal challenge. The ambivalent duality of contradictory popular and electoral votes, with the electoral votes taking preeminence over popular votes, has exposed the innards of American electoral failings. Thus, a candidate with the highest popular votes, can easily lose to an opponent with less votes (as Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump).

Instructively, the United States Government is founded and derives its legitimacy from the principle of the consent of the governed majority. A country born in protest at the recklessness of killing George III, and found succour in the ancient Roman method of expressing the consent of the governed, has turned a laughing stock and the butt of acerbic jokes.

Joseph Schumpeter defines representative democracy as that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions, in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the peoples’ vote. This is what America proclaims in theory, but derogates from in practice!

Electoral College System

Democratic elections are about choice between competing candidates, and the issues they intend to follow if elected. But, American political frames believed, in their narrow wisdom that, political issues are complex and arcane for majority of Americans to understand, and provided for a Delegate system, to either form an electoral college or electoral voter, the result is the subversion of popular mandate. In the course of American political development, the subverting of the electoral process to favour the narrow interests of few persons, has taken many forms. Jim Crow Laws designed to prevent African American representation; malapportioned districts that favour rural representative over urban; the adoption of restrictive ballot access laws; and others. The ballot access law designed to prevent minor-party access to elections – suggests that in certain circumstances, the two dominant political parties would continually form a bipartisan cartel. The recent election, is a veritable evidence of a decadent electoral process.

Today, America, in fact, the world, is being held hostage by obsolete political processes that dilute popular votes, whereas, in all advanced democracies, winners and losers in general elections are declared within 48 hours. Any system that derogates popular votes in favour of any other means of selection or election, will sooner hit a social and political brick wall. The continuing responsiveness of the government to the preferences of majority and largest numbers of citizens, is a key characteristics of democracy. Popular election of public officials and relative short terms of office, is intended to give the electorate the opportunity to hold their representatives to account for their behaviour in office. Those whose behaviour is found wanting, could be punished by popular votes.

Conclusion

Majority of Americans have found President Donald Trump irresponsible and ill-suited for the office of President, by popular votes and electoral votes, yet one week after the election, no official announcement of a clear winner. America needs to urgently review its electoral law, and practice what it demands of others; popular votes and direct democracy.