JIM CREES: Scary times for democracy
Since we are just a few shorts weeks away from the general election, I thought we might have a quick review of high school level civics.
Take your seats, and let us begin.
The United States of America is nation governed with and by a representative democracy.
A representative democracy is a form of democracy in which elected representatives of “We The People” carry out the will of the majority of the people (not necessarily the desires of ALL the people.)
In an representative democracy, political power is in the hands of a group of people — or a party — elected by a majority of the people for a given period of time.
So... whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, this will be the result of a majority of the people casting ballots in a representative democracy.
But... more and more people are suggesting openly and freely, that if their candidate (specifically Donald Trump) doesn’t win the election, this could well be a time ripe for revolution.
THAT is not democracy.
The truth of a representative democracy is when the candidate not to my liking wins (e.g. George Bush) I have no choice but to accept the will of the people... if I truly want to live in a democratic nation.
Forcing, or threatening to force my minority opinion and will on a majority of the people is not democracy.
So, if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the election, it IS NOT automatically a call for a populist uprising - except if you are not a true supporter of American democracy.
Trump claims there is no way he could possibly lose — I guess because he is so beloved of the American people. If then he does lose, it is obvious proof of corruption, rigging and fixing of the massive election process.
Over the paast weekend alone, Trump raised the specter of election rigging more than 20 times, forcing his Republican colleagues to try again and again to walk back the silliness.
Trump also has hinted he will not concede an election loss because, again, everything and everybody is rigged, fixed and corrupt.
His own running mate, Governor Mike Pence, had to try and calm the inflamed faithful, noting, “We will absolutely accept the results of the election... One of the great, great traditions of America is the peaceful transfer of power ...”
Still Trump cried, “Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”
Well, truth be known THERE IS NO LARGE SCALE VOTER FRAUD.
In an extensive study carried out by Justin Levitt, a professor with Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, it was found there were 31 credible incidents of voter impersonation out of 1 billion votes cast nationwide.
“To be clear, I’m not just talking about prosecutions,” said Levitt. “I track any specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix... To put this in perspective, the 31 incidents below come in the context of general, primary, special and municipal elections from 2000 through 2014. In general and primary elections alone, more than 1 billion ballots were cast in that period.
“Some of these 31 incidents have been thoroughly investigated (including some prosecutions). But many have not. Based on how other claims have turned out, I’d bet that some of the 31 will end up debunked...”
People have known there was no credible voter fraud for years.
Back in 2007, the George W. Bush administration carried out an investigation of allegations of voter fraud and “turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections.”
But some people just don’t get it — folks like Donald Trump.
“It’s one big fix,’’ he said at a rally a couple weeks back. “This whole election is being rigged.’’
Um... no, it’s not. Even Republican Sen. Jeff Flake responded to Trump, saying, “States, backed by tens of thousands of GOP and DEM volunteers, ensure integrity of electoral process. Elections are not rigged.”
The dangerous response to this tone of conversation is people who feel they’ve been duped (or in the case of Trump supporters feel they will soon be duped) trot out the “revolution” talk.
And. That. Is. Very. Very. Dangerous.
Especially in a representative democracy.
Even the worrisome Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr., recently Tweeted “It’s incredible that our institutions of gov, WH, Congress, DOJ, and big media are corrupt & all we do is bitch. Pitchforks and torches time.”
A virulent Trump supporter asked by the Boston Globe about the possibility of a Clinton win responded, “If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it. We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed.”
Pitchforks and torches, bloodshed and a coup d’etat. Wow!!
In a representative democracy - the democracy these same “patriots” say they are out to protect — the majority may not always vote the way YOU want, or select the leaders of whom YOU approve.
Pitchforks, torches and calls for revolution and bloodshed actually diminish and destroy the democracy they claim to love so well.
Scary times. Scary times for our representative democracy.