Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/11/11/left-and-rule-law
As long as states with low populations like Montana and Wyoming have as many Senators as California and New York, you do not have representative democracy.
You’ve got smoke and mirrors, you’ve got the perpetual ongoing drift to the right, and you’ve got cops coddling right wing racists shooters of 1st Amendment guaranteed protestors.
With extreme privilege and entitlement in politics, why would laws be any different?
Solid essay, but I think to claim that institutionalism demands a defense of a broken electoral structure is a bridge too far. As the author notes, legitimacy is at the heart of rule in even stage-managed democracies like ours. You have an admittedly difficult decision to make as a dissenter–do you help preserve the structure of elections in the vague hope that someday you may leverage them for your own needs or do you rip the heart of that legitimacy out of the system by refusing to participate in the charade at all, thus exposing it as the public farce it is, with the purpose of forcing the state to rely solely on its two favored instruments: coercion and violence?
There is obviously a price to be paid either way, but I think the evidence favoring supporting the structure of elections is impressively thin: we’ve been doing that for years with increasingly less to show for our efforts. But we haven’t even seriously attempted the opposite even once: to organize a massive voter strike in order to force power to some sort of negotiation to open that system up ( a la the original pink tide) or force power to alienate virtually everyone by charging us all with bayonets until morale improved.
this leftist believes that until we try the latter, any attempt at reform of peaceful revolution is doomed to fail–and I think the empirical record overwhelmingly favors this position. we are already at the point where partisan reject the legitimacy of any opponent’s win. Nearly half way there now! We can finish the job by talking even more people out of persisting in the same vain exercise hoping for an unprecedented result.
At least let’s bloody try it! We have little to nothing to lose, for crying out loud.
Decultify America! And break up the media!
WiseOwl, that is a big can of worms to open up. We would have to consider the differences between leftist politics, right-wing politics, the angst over honest reporting, the angst over dishonest reporting, the dealing with purveyors of alternative facts and fake news. Then there is the hatred of the press by the trump’s when they invade us.
Who then spreads the news?
Laws are pointless when one side refuses to follow them . That’s usually a sign that war is imminent .
…and the fight as perpetrated by the status quo will continue whether we fight back or not. What do we have to lose, indeed.
I will suggest that those checks and balances alluded to in the article in the USA do not really exist. They too are “illusion” and this the reason that in a so called Democracy , the people have no power. The 1 percent hold all of the power.
The checks and balances claimed to exist simply serve to keep the population docile.
The reason they do not work is all of the checks and balances are under the control of the very people that need checks on their power. Look no further then the Trump administration today. He MIGHT eventually step down but will simply be replaced by another boss that the same as the old boss .
As another example look at the transition from GW Bush to Obama. A system with proper checks and balances would have seen Bush , Cheney and crew prosecuted for war crimes. Instead Obama claimed we must look forwards not back and those violations of the peace , considered the highest crimes against humanity in the world, went unpunished.
When the Military, the police, the Judiciary, the Congress, the Senate and the President all serve the same 1 percent checks and balances are a figment of the imagination. It might appear the power of a Trump checked with his losing this election but the end result still the same , that being the 1 percent maintain their grip on power as they always have even as Biden takes power.
When the laws are written by the very people who need their power checked then they serve to ensure there never balance in the system. They will always serve the 1 percent.
The “checks and balances” are indeed almost non-existent. The way the Constitution is physically laid out, the branches are not “co-equal”. The actual “power” starts with the House - power of the purse - then to the Senate - advise and consent, and treaties, then to the Executive, and finally, to the Judicial Branch. Congress can tell the Executive and Judicial Branches pretty much what to do. The House rarely uses its’ power, though. Congress has devolved into competing sides, comprised of bitter rivals, instead of being cooperative bodies, acting judiciously. Proper checks would indeed have taken the Bush/Cheney regime to task, and possibly to trial, for war crimes. Perhaps the best check on such violations would be membership in the International Criminal Court, something that would mean surrendering American Exceptionalism. That would never happen.
A massive voter strike - hmmm, well seeing as how there is no law that states that a candidate has to have the votes of at least 50% of the number of eligible voters to win - then all it takes is a few folks who don’t strike - who actually vote, then 50% of them can elect a candidate - 10 people vote, 6 of them for one candidate, then that candidate wins! I suspect that’s pretty much what we have had previous to this - voters have been “striking” in large numbers for years, never invalidated an election.
Is it the “structure of elections” that is the problem or how we have used that structure - we have been using it for ages to elect D/Rs - so of course it is pretty useless as an agent of change. The author speaks of the “limits of a 2 party system” - but we have more than 2 parties - in '16 there were 4 candidates on the Pres ballot, each of whom were on enough state ballots to get enough of both the popular AND the EC vote to win - if we pulled their lever. So we have had other choices for some time - we refuse to make them, is that the “structure’s” fault, or ours …
Then we need to put in better people to write the laws …
the left–we get the rules and they get the law
Not the point. At all. You’re not trying to stop an election: you’re trying to illuminate the folly of one. Which, incidentally, is pretty clear in the original post.
Let’s try this a slightly simpler way: here’s your headline—“Ten People Vote for President!”
Sounds like a legitimate government in a nation of 330 million to you?
Legitimacy. Legitimacy. Legitimacy. Learn it. Know it. Erode it. :))