• Victor C. Bolles

How Not to Improve Democracy


Democrats are tripping over themselves trying to change the Constitution of the United States of America (without going through the messy – and difficult- process of amending the document). Elizabeth Warren and others want to eliminate the Electoral College. Mayor Pete, Beto, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris (and probably many more Democratic presidential candidates) want to change the composition of the Supreme Court either by packing the court with extra justices (nominated by the supposedly Democratic successor to Donald Trump) or eliminate the life appointment, or both. Other Democrats want to follow in the footsteps of President Obama by ignoring the Constitution when inconvenient or issuing executive orders when Congress won’t cooperate with his policies (of course, President Trump is not immune to this either).


The Democrats insist that these changes (and probably others they haven’t thought of yet) will improve American democracy. Don’t believe them. They are mad that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump was elected president by the Electoral College. They are outraged that President Trump has been able to nominate two conservative judges to the Supreme Court. They figure that their proposed changes will insure a Democratic Congress and Presidency for the foreseeable future.


Which is the point. These changes have been done before. Tyrants often use the forms of democracy to gain access to power only to abandon democracy once they are in power. Adolph Hitler used the fragile democracy of the Weimar Republic to worm his way into becoming leader of Germany even though he never got a majority of the vote. And once he was in power he undermined democracy, arrested elected officials of opposition parties and vowed that the Nazi party would rule for a thousand years (that’s the foreseeable future isn’t it?). Benito Mussolini was elected to parliament but used force and intimidation to have the Italian king name him Prime Minister. Once in power he changed election laws and used his black shirts to eliminate the opposition in order to stay power.


More recently, Hugo Chavez rose to power as the democratically elected President of Venezuela in 1998 (this is, of course, after he tried to overthrow the democratically elected President of Venezuela, Carlos Andres Perez, in 1992 which gives you an idea of how he truly viewed democracy). He quickly called a constitutional assembly to alter the Venezuelan constitution and packed the assembly with his supporters. The new constitution was long on positive rights (entitlements) but short on checks and balances. It also gave Chavez special executive powers and brought in the Armed Forces to promote public order (previously forbidden by the old Venezuelan constitution as well as the US Constitution). Hugo Chavez died in office but his chosen successor continues to rule over that poor country (with the help of Cuba).


And then there’s Daniel Ortega. He was the leader of the ruling junta after the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship and was elected president democratically in 1984. But in 1990, Violeta Chamorro defeated him and he remained out of power for 16 years. In 2006 he was re-elected with a plurality of only 38 percent of the vote and set about to make sure he would never lose another election (which he hasn’t). And just in case the courts (which he controls) ever decided that he couldn’t run again for the presidency, his wife, Rosario Murillo who is his Vice President as well as his wife, would likely succeed him. From a communist revolutionary, Daniel Ortega is now reported to be the wealthiest person in Nicaragua.


All of these dictators gained power democratically. But once in power, they corrupted or destroyed the democratic institutions of their country. This is what the leftist progressives want to do to the United States. Once in power, they will work hard to make sure that their socialist revolution can never be overthrown.


The Founders greatly feared the concentration of power in the federal government and set about installing checks and balances to limit the power of government. One of the methods they used was to differentiate the terms of office for the different branches of government. Representative were to be elected every two years. This was intended to make the House of Representatives most closely aligned with the current public sentiment.


Senators were to be the elder statesmen of government with staggered terms of six years. Initially they were not elected directly but were selected by the legislatures of the several states.


The justices of the Supreme Court were supposed to be among the wisest and most knowledgeable people in government and their life appointments were intended to divorce them from the volatility of public opinion and to only follow the law.


The President was to be elected every four years, keeping him in touch with the people but with a longer term so that he (or she) could gain experience in running the country. The president is not elected directly but is elected by Electors based on the number of senators and representatives each state has.


Each of the dictators noted above were wildly popular early in their rule but when public opinion changed the voice of the people was no longer heard. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are both popular in their respective countries but a change in public opinion will not deter their rule. The desire of Democrats to change the Constitution, change how presidents are elected and change, how many Supreme Court justices there should be and how long their terms should be, is based on their intention to gain control of the federal government so that they can institute their socialist ideals permanently.


The Founders feared a concentration of power in the government knowing that it would limit the liberty of the people. But the Democrats want to increase the concentration of power, which is proof that their vision is so very different from the vision of the Founders.

 

And while we’re at it:


Something I saw on television the other day struck me as odd (a not uncommon occurrence these days). But I double checked by going to the website of Real Clear Politics and reviewed their average of recent polling data. Of the Democrats’ five top candidates for the 2020 presidential race four are white men (Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg) with Kamala Harris clocking in as the only woman/person of color.


Not only that, two of these white men are the oldest of all the candidates (Joe at 76 and Bernie at 77) and would be oldest president ever elected if either of them were to win.


Not only that those four white men make 67.3% of the total preference of those polled – more than 2/3’s (and Joe and Bernie alone make up more than 50%).


I thought that the Democrats preferred mandated outcomes that look like their view of America (diverse in race and gender – although Pete the Mayor does represent the LGBTQ community).


How come the Democrats want to impose diversity on the rest of America but when it comes to choosing a leader they stick with old white men (the only difference Joe and Bernie have with the dead white men such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson is that they are still alive).


Maybe difference in outcomes are not due to prejudice and hate. Maybe unequal outcomes or surprising consequences occur for other reasons. Maybe they just happen.

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