randombio.com | political commentary
Friday, August 12, 2016

Doesn't anyone believe in democracy anymore?

The time for arguments about Trump's suitability for office was during the primaries.

T he neocons—the ones who believed that democracy was the solution for all the problems in the Middle East—are now losing faith that democracy is a solution for America. Some intellectuals in the Republican party are following them. Democracy sounds great until the people choose the wrong guy.

The voters were unambiguous in their selection of Donald Trump as their preferred candidate. The time for arguments about his suitability for office was during the primaries. They were made, sometimes forcefully, but in the face of voter rebellion it was like pissing in a tsunami.

Now the party intellectuals are being played as useful idiots by supporting the most corrupt, Yuri Andropov-like candidate ever. Some have even resorted to the same slander that was leveled against Barry Goldwater, hinting that Trump's election would cause a nuclear war.

Their opinions carry weight with independents, who reasonably conclude that if the leaders of his own party hate him that much there must indeed be something wrong with him. Instead of the buoyant optimism we all expected, the gloomy prophecies of the never-Trumpsters are giving Hillary a tremendous boost.

Vials of Gloom

If she wins, the establishment will blame the voters for nominating Trump, and the voters will blame the establishment for not supporting the democratically elected nominee. The Republican party would be destroyed: there would be no reason to support a party that ignores the votes of its members, works against its own candidate, and serves up defeat three times in a row.

To some of us trapped out here in the lonely windswept wastelands, it looks almost as if the leaders are willing to see that happen.

Granted, no one, including Trump himself, knows what Trump would do if he's elected. Yet for all the gloomy editorials and special magazine issues, I have yet to hear a coherent, specific, convincing reason for why anyone would choose the alternative.

Hillary has given us specifics: for the two and a half months before her brain seizes up altogether, she will work for single-payer health insurance, unconditional amnesty, virtual elimination of the Bill of Rights, bankruptcy, and a government so corrupt that some will think the unthinkable.

The purpose of democracy is not to elect the person who is the most knowledgeable on foreign affairs, or the person who speaks with the best learned academic diction. The purpose of democracy is to ensure the legitimacy of government by giving the voters a stake in the outcome, much as Buffy's purpose is to ensure the legitimacy of humans by putting a stake in a vampire.

That means we will have demagogues, we will have fools, and we will have incompetents. People vote for people they identify with. This is not a bug. It is a feature. It is the deal we made when we embraced the democratic system.

The goal of our great experiment is to see if it's possible to devise a system whereby a population of the uneducated, the incompetent, the crazy, and the criminal can elect somebody who is none of those things.

Part of that experiment means making tweaks. But as long as we have a two-party system, the nomenklatura cannot leave and form a nonviable third party, so they have to make the party they're in nonviable.

Instead of raging against the unsavory individuals the system produces, they should use those fantastic brains of theirs to think of a way to improve the system so that unsavory individuals don't rise to power.

Maybe work to eliminate the two-party system. Some variant of a parliamentary system might do it, or maybe there is something better. Think outside the box: maybe an elected king and queen, a triumvirate, or a robot overlord.

Maybe our focus on individuals and their character, or lack of it, is a weakness. Maybe there's a way to change the system in such a way that the weaknesses and flaws of whoever's in charge get canceled out. But to find out we must survive.

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