There was an interesting comment on my recent article, “New Voting Systems Can’t Solve the Problems of Democracy” by someone named William Waugh that got me thinking and I decided to write this reply. William said:
In regard to the title, “New Voting Systems Can’t Solve the Problems of Democracy”, well, we can’t know the problems of democracy until we’ve tried some democracy, can we? Perhaps new voting systems can solve the problems of _lack of_ democracy.
So I would like to answer William’s comment in this article. Yes, we’re unlikely to have a chance to know the problems of democracy, because we won’t have a chance to try it. Doesn’t it occur to you that we have been trying for democracy for some time and, for some reason, we’re not getting it?
If you want to try, then I don’t want to seem to be trying to discourage you. Sure, try, and I hope you succeed, But don’t count on it. William was sharing a common refrain when he said: “Perhaps new voting systems can solve the problems of lack of democracy?” But I would say, perhaps a band-aid can cure a decapitation, but I doubt it.
Consider this, if you will: Why should a better voting-system be allowed, unless the people who own the lawmakers want to cede government to the public? And without verifiable vote-counting, it wouldn’t make the slightest difference what voting-system is used.
Even with the best voting-system (whichever one you think that is), Hillary would have “beaten” Bernie, because the real voting-power belongs to him who counts the votes. Any meaningful use of a voting-system pre-supposes a democracy.
So what makes so many think that we’ll have the opportunity to try some democracy? Without democracy, you needn’t worry about what the voting-system should be. It would be like shopping for an ignition-coil when you don’t even have a car.
Maybe you’ll say that it can’t be proven that the vote-counting isn’t honest.
a). In principle, of course that can’t be proved, when no one gets an opportunity to do an honest count. Partly for that reason, it isn’t necessary to prove count-fraud. The mere fact that we’re not allowed a verifiable vote-count is enough to automatically make the count, and the election, illegitimate.
b). In both of George W. Bush’s elections, there were mountains of blatant evidence of count-fraud on a large scale. If the powers-that-be would stoop to that once, do you think they’re above it now?
2. Campaign Promises:
What if a candidate promised that, after being elected, they would do something, or to not do something, and then, upon election, acted oppositely to his promise? It happens all the time. And it isn’t just Republicans. Democrats do it too. We had a Congress candidate who promised to fight NAFTA if elected. When he got to Washington, he voted for NAFTA.
Bill Clinton got elected promising a middle-class tax-cut. In a speech or press-conference soon after he was elected, he said that the middle-class tax-cut wouldn’t be possible after all. He was smiling while saying it, laughing at his suckers who trusted him.
Well, didn’t P..T. Barnum say that there’s a sucker born every minute?
And didn’t W.C. Fields say: “Never give a sucker an even break.”
Those two great social-scientists have the explanation for how societal matters are, and will always be.
I don’t want to seem to be trying to discourage the work of promoting democracy in America, but I’d be a liar if I encouraged it as something that has a chance to work. As I have said before, work for improvement if you want to. Just don’t count on success.