By Andrew Korybko

America’s quasi-democratic election

October 6, 2020 - 10:46

As the theoretically pure form of democracy exists in any major country given their size, we cannot say the U.S. election is a fully democratic election.

It would be impractical for every person aspiring for the highest office of the land to have equal media coverage and voters forced to choose from a potentially countless number of candidates in presidential elections. Equally inefficient would be for people to vote on every single issue of significance from local ones all the way up to national decisions. The U.S. is not a direct democracy but a representative one with republican characteristics (in the sense of the political system, not a political party), as are many countries across the world, both Western and non-Western ones.

Direct democracy, when taken to its extreme, becomes a mobocracy, or rule by the mob (which may or may not represent the majority of the population). That's actually the path that the country is moving along if the Democrats win. This is evidenced by the immense pressure and intimidation tactics that their de-facto political militias of Antifa and Black Lives Matter are imposing upon everyone else. Those who disagree with them are “canceled”, or in the worst-case scenario, even physically attacked. In the contemporary American context, direct democracy is therefore fascist in form because of how totalitarian its vanguard elements are (who are exploited as puppets of the Democrat Party, whether knowingly or not).

The physical and demographic enormity of the U.S. means that the only candidates which stand any credible chance of winning either of the two main parties' primaries are those with the money to purchase the media support for popularizing their platform among the masses. Without money, which in turn leads to media exposure, candidates have serious difficulty connecting with the masses and winning their support during the primaries.

As for power, this might precede media support but is always present afterwards once a candidate rises in the polls and has a chance at becoming the party's frontrunner. The situation is the same with third parties, except they're outside of the two-party power structure and therefore have less of an opportunity to raise funds, purchase media support, and become a relevant force in the elections.

The U.S. is too big of a country geographically and demographically to accept a multitude of equally powerful parties running in major elections. That would accelerate the political fragmentation of the country along partisan lines and potentially make it ungovernable at the representative level (remembering that the U.S. isn't a direct democracy). Many gripe about the legitimate shortcomings of America's two-party system but usually fail to countenance how much worse the alternative of a multiparty one might be. That's not to endorse or condemn either but just to analyze each scenario from a strategic perspective.

It's impossible for any candidate or party to completely align with the majority of the population's views on every single issue. None will ever be perfect because it's simply unrealistic for that to happen. Everyone must accept that their preferred candidate or party won't always support every single thing that they do, which is normal. Those who support third parties are generally motivated by an issue that's very important to them personally. They find a candidate or party that feels the same way as they do about it and subsequently decide to support them. That's their choice, but many oftentimes overlook how difficult it would be for that said candidate or party to implement their platform in the contemporary conditions of the U.S. political system.

It's every American's choice whether or not to vote in any given election, be it local, state, or federal. Many people are either apathetic or disinterested, either feeling that their vote won't change anything or they don't even care about the issues at hand. Both parties want to improve turnout, especially among key demographics, in order to raise their chances of electoral success. Sometimes this works when they promise their target audience something that they can credibly implement upon winning whereas other times this inadvertently succeeds when their opponent says or does something which inflames their rival's base. Nevertheless, turnout shouldn't be used to determine an election's legitimacy since everyone could vote if they truly want to. Sitting out the election doesn't mean that a person has the right to not recognize its results.

Andrew Korybko is a political analyst, journalist and a regular contributor to several online journals, as well as a member of the expert council for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s Friendship University of Russia. He specializes in Russian affairs and geopolitics, specifically the U.S. strategy in Eurasia.

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