Is the US really a democracy?

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barney
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Is the US really a democracy?

Post by barney » Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:25 pm

This Guardian article expresses really well what I have been trying to say in several posts. I don't think the electoral college system is as good as the electoral system in Britain or Australia, where it is still possible to lose an election despite having more votes, but much less likely. But, far more important, in Australia we have an independent electoral commission which sets electoral boundaries and the like, removing the possibility of the gerrymander and voter suppression such as the entirely despicable Republicans have used since emancipation but are now stepping up.

Why this election calls into question whether America is a democracy

At the beginning of the Fight to Vote project, we asked this question. After a year of election battles, voting restrictions and partisan conflicts, we revisit the idea

Is America a democracy? If so, why does it deny millions the vote?
Sam Levine

Sat 31 Oct 2020

Anecdotes of long voting lines and voter suppression attempts calls into question the strength of America’s democracy
Anecdotes of long voting lines and voter suppression attempts calls into question the strength of America’s democracy Illustration: Michelle Thompson/The Guardian
America has long held itself up as the world’s leading democracy, but it has an equally long history of denying people the right to vote.

To understand how voter suppression is shaping the 2020 election, just look at Texas. While many states do not require voters to have a reason to vote by mail, Texas only allows voters to do so if they are 65 or older or meet other conditions. The state does not allow people to register to vote online.

Even with a flood of Covid cases, Texas has successfully fought tooth and nail in federal and state courts to uphold those restrictions. Last month, Texas’s governor, Greg Abbott, a Republican, abruptly issued an order that limited each county in the state to offer one ballot drop box. The move meant that Democratic-friendly Harris county, which covers more than 1,700 square miles and is home to 2.4 million registered voters, could only offer one place for voters to return their ballots. The state of Rhode Island, which is smaller than Harris county, will have more drop-off locations this year.

The battle playing across America is in some ways a continuation of a centuries-long fight over access to the franchise. African Americans were formally denied the right to vote at the nation’s founding, and even when granted access in the 19th century, states responded by implementing devices such as poll taxes, literacy tests and felon disenfranchisement laws designed to keep African Americans from the polls.

The 1965 Voting Rights Act, a crown jewel of the civil rights movement, blunted many of these racist tools, in part by requiring places with a history of voting discrimination, like Texas, to get voting changes pre-cleared before they went into effect. But in 2013, the US supreme court gutted that provision, saying it was no longer necessary. States, freed from federal oversight, unleashed a wave of new voting restrictions, including new voter ID laws and efforts to close polling places.

“The forces that were fine with poll taxes and literacy tests are the same kinds of forces that are equally comfortable in the 21st century with ‘targeting African Americans with almost surgical precision’ in voter IDs and requiring extra hurdles to cast an absentee ballot in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Carol Anderson, a professor at Emory University in Atlanta who has written extensively about voter suppression, in an email.


Underneath it all, many see a cynical attempt by the Republican party to try to preserve power while making it deliberately harder for people less likely to support them – groups like minorities, young people and the poor – to vote. In many places, Republicans have been able to get away with this because of an unprecedented effort in 2010 and 2011 to draw electoral districts that cemented their control of state legislatures, which shape election laws in the US. This effort succeeded across the country, including in key states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The pandemic has exposed how deeply entrenched this strategy is in the Republican party. Even as Americans face an unprecedented health risk, people have waited in hours-long lines across the country to cast their ballots in person. Republicans in several states have fought efforts to make it easier to vote by mail, like eliminating requirements that voters have to have an excuse to vote by mail or that they get a witness for their ballot. They have also fought efforts to automatically mail absentee ballot applications to voters.


Many states require voters to return their ballots to election officials by election day to have them counted. After widespread mail delays earlier this summer, many local election officials encouraged voters to return their absentee ballots in person to physically secure drop boxes. But Republicans in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Texas have all moved to try to limit their use, making it unnecessarily harder for voters to return their ballots.

“What has been troubling to me this year, as it relates to election administration, is that commonsense, practical services for voters have been politicized and weaponized as possible partisan activities,” Tammy Patrick, a senior adviser at the Democracy Fund who works closely with election administrators across the US, said in an email. “Election officials at the state and local level, in red/blue/purple states, have advocated offering services like this to all voters in a pandemic. Some were able to do so, others were prevented from serving their voters well.”


Concerned about mail delays, Democrats and voting rights groups sued in courts across the country, asking election officials to count ballots as long as they are postmarked by election day and arrive in the days after. While the Pennsylvania supreme court, over the loud objection of Republicans, ordered a three-day extension, courts have upheld the election day deadline in Michigan and Wisconsin, two key states that will probably shape the outcome of the 2020 race. Those decisions mean that thousands of ballots will probably be rejected simply because they arrive late, regardless of when the voter puts them in the mail (Trump carried Michigan in 2016 by about 10,000 votes and Wisconsin by just under 23,000).

For all of the Republican attacks on the right to vote, their most powerful ally has been the United States supreme court as well as the lower federal appeals courts to which Trump has appointed an unprecedented number of judges. The supreme court has taken a brazenly anti-voter stance, refusing to ease the ballot receipt deadline in Wisconsin, witness requirements in South Carolina or even permit counties in Alabama to offer curbside voting. The supreme court’s conservative majority has simply said that federal courts shouldn’t interfere with voting rules on the eve of an election and shouldn’t second-guess state lawmakers, who have the constitutional authority to set election rules.

The supreme court also refused to block a Republican-written Florida law that required people with felony convictions to pay financial debts before they can vote again. Writing in dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the move would block people from voting “simply because they are poor”. An estimated 774,000 people in Florida, one of the closest swing states in the country, can’t vote because they owe money.

The supreme court’s actions are all the more alarming because Donald Trump is unlikely to concede the election (he has falsely said the election is “rigged” and will be stolen from him). With the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump now has a firm 6-3 majority on the court and there’s little question he will try to use the federal courts to try to overcome a close margin in the race if Trump is behind. There are expected to be legal fights to try to get ballots disqualified on technicalities. While experts caution there is a long road before the supreme court would be asked to decide an election, the court’s swath of anti-voter rulings do not bode well.

“The supreme court has an outsized role because it has become politicized. I do think the president is looking to the court to expect a certain outcome, but I don’t think that outcome is guaranteed,” said Franita Tolson, a constitutional law professor at the University of Southern California.

Despite all of this, there’s some evidence Americans are fighting back. There’s been a tidal wave of turnout in the weeks leading up to the election. A staggering 73 million people have already voted early, far more than cast early ballots in 2016, according to data collected by Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida. In Texas, a state with a history of abysmal voter turnout, the youth vote is surging and the state is fast approaching the 2016 total turnout. Experts expect the highest overall turnout in a presidential race since 1908.

After the election, Republicans are likely to point to these numbers as evidence that claims of voter suppression are exaggerated. But that’s not true – even if we have record turnout this year, we will never know the number of people who were deterred from voting because they didn’t want to risk their health or get a witness or have proper ID.

Instead, America is seeing a flood of Americans continuing to chip away at the infrastructure of voter suppression that is supporting Republican power. The structure is creaking under new weight – America is getting closer to its democratic promise.

maestrob
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:57 am

An excellent summary of what's happening here, Barney. Thanks!

Some details are missing, however. While it's true that the late votes have been allowed so far in Pennsylvania, that was because the Supremes voted 4-4 with ACB abstaining because she didn't have enough time to review the case, as the decision was reached on her first day on the court. Republicans have vowed to bring up their case again after Tuesday's election day, and guess which way ACB will vote then??? Pennsylvania's election commission has already decided to separate any votes that arrive after Tuesday just in case the Supremes re-visit their earlier decision. OUCH!

It should also be noted that ALL of these voter-suppression tactics are happening in states controlled by Republican legislatures. Why? Because Trump has been encouraging Republican voters to vote in person, rather than trust the mail (which he has sabotaged!). Thus, Republicans are anticipating a vast turnout on their side on election day.

We'll just have to wait and see.

barney
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by barney » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:50 am

The Democrats should learn from the Republicans and phone in bomb threats to polling booths on Tuesday, so that they have to close for a while and not all the Republicans can vote.*
*PS, not serious. Everyone should be allowed to vote.

CharmNewton
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by CharmNewton » Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:58 pm

The United States is a constitutional republic, not a democracy. It was designed that way to preserve the stake of smaller states in the nation as a whole and larger states cannot impose their will by sheer large numbers. For change to be peacefully embraced by a nation, there has to be substantial agreement across the entire nation.

Up until 1920, senators were chosen by the state legislatures and thus were only indirectly chosen by the voters (who chose their legislators). From the period 1860-1912, only one Democrat served as President--Grover Cleveland (1884-88, 1892-96), but as a party they were able at times to control the both the House and Senate. In 1920, the Constitution was modified to allow for the direct election of senators. Given the high bar necessary to amend the Constitution, it was a change that the people wanted.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The framers were people of good judgement and the system they forged after three months (!) of discussion and debate has served us well over its 231 years of existence.

BTW, how many here are aware that President Trump has received four nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize within a period of a few weeks? No one in the history of the award has received more than one nomination within the same year.

Given how much President Trump has endured and how much he has achieved in his first term, he already ranks as one of the most accomplished of Presidents in our history.

John

maestrob
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 01, 2020 1:34 pm

According to the Nobel Prize website, simply being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize is “not an endorsement or extended honour to imply affiliation with the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Indeed, some of history’s most vilified figures have been nominated for the prize. Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was nominated twice: in 1945 for his effort to end World War II and again in 1948 by a professor from the Czech Republic. And fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was nominated in 1935 by two law professors, one from Germany and the other from France. (Adolf Hitler was nominated in 1939 — the nomination was later withdrawn — by “an anti-fascist member of the Swedish parliament who never intended his submission to be taken seriously,” according to Nobel archives.)

This is not the first time Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Tybring-Gjedde, who nominated Trump this month, and another far-right politician, Per-Willy Amundsen, said in June 2018 they had nominated Trump for the honor following Trump’s nuclear weapons summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/09/trump ... -nonsense/

I have no further comment. :mrgreen:

barney
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by barney » Sun Nov 01, 2020 5:36 pm

CharmNewton wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:58 pm
The United States is a constitutional republic, not a democracy. It was designed that way to preserve the stake of smaller states in the nation as a whole and larger states cannot impose their will by sheer large numbers. For change to be peacefully embraced by a nation, there has to be substantial agreement across the entire nation.

Up until 1920, senators were chosen by the state legislatures and thus were only indirectly chosen by the voters (who chose their legislators). From the period 1860-1912, only one Democrat served as President--Grover Cleveland (1884-88, 1892-96), but as a party they were able at times to control the both the House and Senate. In 1920, the Constitution was modified to allow for the direct election of senators. Given the high bar necessary to amend the Constitution, it was a change that the people wanted.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The framers were people of good judgement and the system they forged after three months (!) of discussion and debate has served us well over its 231 years of existence.

BTW, how many here are aware that President Trump has received four nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize within a period of a few weeks? No one in the history of the award has received more than one nomination within the same year.

Given how much President Trump has endured and how much he has achieved in his first term, he already ranks as one of the most accomplished of Presidents in our history.

John
Good on you, John, for having the courage/confidence to post in support of Trump here. Most of the regular posters, including me, disagree with you strongly, but we are much better for hearing other points of view.

Rach3
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by Rach3 » Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:29 pm

CharmNewton wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:58 pm
BTW, how many here are aware that President Trump has received four nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize within a period of a few weeks? No one in the history of the award has received more than one nomination within the same year.Given how much President Trump has endured and how much he has achieved in his first term, he already ranks as one of the most accomplished of Presidents in our history.
The significance of the nominations is unclear.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/202 ... eace-prize

Even Fox Murdoch’s New York Post admits : “ Three of Trump’s four Nobel nominations were filed by politicians from upstart nationalist parties in Norway, Sweden and Finland.” https://nypost.com/2020/10/31/trump-mee ... -wont-win/

The leader of a group of 4 Aussie law professors who also nominated Trump is apparently David Flint, an anti-republican monarchist and a member of Trump buddy Aussie PM Scott Morrison’s rightest Liberal Party .https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/strang ... kot20.html

“Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also recently received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize from a member of the British Parliament.” https://thehill.com/homenews/administra ... eace-prize

Rach3
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by Rach3 » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:50 pm

Trump doesn't think America should be a republic or democracy.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/01/us/trump ... index.html

barney
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by barney » Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:33 am

Rach3 wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:29 pm
CharmNewton wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:58 pm
BTW, how many here are aware that President Trump has received four nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize within a period of a few weeks? No one in the history of the award has received more than one nomination within the same year.Given how much President Trump has endured and how much he has achieved in his first term, he already ranks as one of the most accomplished of Presidents in our history.
The significance of the nominations is unclear.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/202 ... eace-prize

Even Fox Murdoch’s New York Post admits : “ Three of Trump’s four Nobel nominations were filed by politicians from upstart nationalist parties in Norway, Sweden and Finland.” https://nypost.com/2020/10/31/trump-mee ... -wont-win/

The leader of a group of 4 Aussie law professors who also nominated Trump is apparently David Flint, an anti-republican monarchist and a member of Trump buddy Aussie PM Scott Morrison’s rightest Liberal Party .https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/strang ... kot20.html

“Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also recently received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize from a member of the British Parliament.” https://thehill.com/homenews/administra ... eace-prize
David Flint is probably Australia's leading Trump sycophant, an adoring cheer leader and typical culture warrior. I can't get inside his head at all; it seems totally twisted to me. Read this typical example:
https://spectator.com.au/2020/10/dark-f ... out-trump/

maestrob
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:32 am

Barney, I just read that treatise.

Huh :?: :?:

Wow :!:

What utter rot. :shock:

I guess there are strange creatures everywhere.

barney
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by barney » Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:12 pm

Exactly, Brian.
Did you go below the article to the comments section? I posted the first reply to Flint, and immediately got besieged by a personal attack, not arguments. I kept my temper, because it's not good for me to react the same way, but it's interesting to me the way they talk about "us" and want to delegitimise me for thinking differently. Like a lot of cancel culture people on both sides (and contra Belle, they certainly exist on the right) they don't bother with arguments. They just pile on. They think fervent emotion is all you need, because obviously they are correct.
Mind you, re-reading it just now, I could have been more temperate too. :D But at least I was advancing an argument, not immediately starting with insults, other than the Republican Party.

Rach3
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by Rach3 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:42 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:50 pm
Trump doesn't think America should be a republic or democracy.
https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/01/us/trump ... index.html
Trump’s accomplishments:

Constantly lie about everything. Today, as just one example:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/02/politics ... index.html

Undermine democratic processes just like his best buddy Putin , and lie about non-existent voting fraud:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/02/politics ... index.html

Totally mishandle, lie about virus , response, probably criminal manslaughter or reckless homicide:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/02/politics ... index.html

Exaggerates, lies about his influence on economy’s good performance he inherited from Obama while ignoring catastrophic effects on economy of his virus failure, deficit increase from tax cuts to rich, disastrous trade policies,and costly climate destruction from scrapping environmental regs:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/26/brie ... eries.html

Actively promote election interference,intimidation, criminal violations of voting rules by his “stand by” thug army:
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/11/02 ... p-vs-biden?
action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage#the-2020-campaigns-unnerving-endgame-vandalism-acts-of-intimidation-and-riot-prep

File frivolous voter suppression litigation at last minute even a GOP, right-wing Federal judge could not stomach:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/02/politics ... index.html

No other President has accomplished so much in just his first term.

maestrob
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by maestrob » Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:16 am

barney wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:12 pm
Exactly, Brian.
Did you go below the article to the comments section? I posted the first reply to Flint, and immediately got besieged by a personal attack, not arguments. I kept my temper, because it's not good for me to react the same way, but it's interesting to me the way they talk about "us" and want to delegitimise me for thinking differently. Like a lot of cancel culture people on both sides (and contra Belle, they certainly exist on the right) they don't bother with arguments. They just pile on. They think fervent emotion is all you need, because obviously they are correct.
Mind you, re-reading it just now, I could have been more temperate too. :D But at least I was advancing an argument, not immediately starting with insults, other than the Republican Party.
Hah! :lol:

Barney, I wouldn't know how to respond to such claptrap, frankly, so, no, I didn't even think to look for comments.

The lack of reality-based thinking that extreme hard-righters promulgate simply short circuits my thinking, so I run away as fast as I can!

The likes of Bill O'Reilly and Tucker Carlson on Fox, and Rush Limbaugh (who was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Trump at January's State of the Union address just before the pandemic hit, a day after Limbaugh had announced he had serious lung cancer problem) make MY blood boil, as do all reality-twisting bullies.

Your guy sounds just like them to me. They "win" by shouting you down, rather than by logical discourse, which is what Trump tried to do in his first debate with Joe Biden. Didn't work, did it?

I'm horrified by the rise of Right-wing extremists in Western politics since the end of the Cold war, particularly during the past decade. Germany, of course, outlawed the use of the swastika after Hitler was defeated, but that kind of thinking is on the rise again there, particularly in former East Germany states. These nut-jobs are actually represented in the German Parliament. There is a similar party in France, headed by Marine Le Pen, daughter of the founder. Neither group has been able to gain the traction that Trump has achieved here, but then a media such as Fox would be illegal in either European country, wouldn't it?

And let's not mention the mess in Spain right now, or the effect their dysfunctional government is having on the spread of Covid-19 there!

Trump already announced at a rally yesterday that he may just declare victory at the end of today. We'll just have to wait and see.

lennygoran
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by lennygoran » Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:48 am

maestrob wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:16 am
The likes of Bill O'Reilly and Tucker Carlson on Fox, and Rush Limbaugh (who was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Trump at January's State of the Union address just before the pandemic hit, a day after Limbaugh had announced he had serious lung cancer problem) make MY blood boil, as do all reality-twisting bullies.
Brian I'll be watching alot of news starting later in the day-CNN and MSNBC-I'll find out what Fox has to say when those 2 stations show some of Fox's most outrageous material-I never turn to that channel but I've heard it said that their news department is more trustworthy than the Carlson types. I'm cautiously optimistic about the next 24 to 48 hours but of course you never know. We should learn quite alot tonight-NC, Florida, Arizona, Georgia! Regards, Len [fingers crossed]

barney
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by barney » Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:23 am

It's 2.30 in the morning in Melbourne, but I can't sleep. Waiting for exit polling. It may be strange for an Australian to be so obsessed with the US's election, but I think (as many here do) that it is a civilisation-shaping event that will affect vastly more than just America. Of course, it's even more important to the US.
It seems Trump has narrowed the margins in the last two days - I have to admit he is a formidable campaigner - and I am very worried that he wins and the US descends into neo-fascism. Or he loses, and Belle's non-existent Right-wing thugs take to the streets not with baseball bats but guns. A lot to worry about.

maestrob
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by maestrob » Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:38 am

barney wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:23 am
It's 2.30 in the morning in Melbourne, but I can't sleep. Waiting for exit polling. It may be strange for an Australian to be so obsessed with the US's election, but I think (as many here do) that it is a civilisation-shaping event that will affect vastly more than just America. Of course, it's even more important to the US.
It seems Trump has narrowed the margins in the last two days - I have to admit he is a formidable campaigner - and I am very worried that he wins and the US descends into neo-fascism. Or he loses, and Belle's non-existent Right-wing thugs take to the streets not with baseball bats but guns. A lot to worry about.
Barney, do see my post about the Insurrection Act of 1807, which is the authority Trump might invoke if there is massive rioting. I don't expect that today. Note that he MUST get approval from the state governor(s) before he can send in troops, according to what I read there.

The only time that American troops have fired on our own population during my lifetime was at Kent State University in Ohio in 1970 (Four students were killed and nine wounded.). Of course it was Richard Nixon who sent them in, a Republican.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_Stat ... 2C%201970.

barney
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by barney » Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:55 pm

I've read it, Brian. Most interesting. The thing is, as you well know, Trump is not inclined to worry bout norms or law. If it looks like he is losing, he will flail about like a drunken Morris dancer. Nevertheless, I very much hope he is losing. Only a few more hours and we'll have an idea.

Belle
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by Belle » Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:09 am

I seldom take The Guardian seriously because it's always a glass half empty approach and fuelled by resentment and grievance. America is a democracy even though we might say it's a convoluted, flawed type of system with their electoral college system and now the dodgy postal votes regime. We have similar here with our electorates, the boundaries of which are in a state of flux some of the time. Rolling election days are not satisfactory and that is happening here in Australia too; it becomes Cat Herding 101.

If Biden wins (and it seems highly possible as I write this) the issue of whether it's a democracy will fade into obscurity, replaced by more important issues of State. I hope for those who contribute here that Biden does succeed and the great satan is replaced (where is the landslide, BTW?), ensuring economic prosperity for all and the end of damaging climate change. What's not to love?

Australians are engaged in this process just now. Previous elections have often been so dull but this one has had great interest and appeal, for a variety of reasons. Those with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) will fulminate when I write this:

I have to say that I've always found Trump an embarrassing buffoon who needs manners and etiquette. He's got a big mouth and thinks with it wide open!! But I developed respect for him during these frenetic last 10 days of campaigning. Despite having Covid19 himself only recently this 74 year old man campaigned sometimes until 1am in the freezing cold, telling the people he loved them in response to their similar sentiments. I developed a respect for him I wonder if many of the American people had the same experience. There was something heroic about it and he never demonstrated fear - unlike the Left. Even Australians who wouldn't support Trump have said the same thing.

Trump is tough, old-school, intolerant of woke, trying hard to save his countrymen and women from the wokes' dangerous and nonsensical and idiotic claws, from BLM, from lefty weaklings with zero clue about reality....and getting the country back on a sound economic footing - knowing that the economy can lift all boats if people are giving their best shot. And Kamala Harris with that patronizing baby voice addressing the people; god, pass me the smelling salts.

Trump is being blamed for Covid-19 deaths; 230,000 at last count. Yet not a word about 600,000 abortions annually in the USA.

Whatever the outcome I hope everything turns out well for the American people.

barney
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by barney » Wed Nov 04, 2020 7:17 am

Belle, as you know, we don't agree about much, especially on who it is that is fuelled by resentment.
But I do agree about Trump's apparently inexhaustible energy and his ability to connect with his supporters. I said to my wife yesterday that I had to admire him as a campaigner - I think it is his personality that has wrested his campaign back on track, inconceivable though that is to me.
As I write, it seems Trump is going to win, and the Republicans have held the Senate. As the elegant expression puts it, I am going to have to suck it up. Apart from voter suppression, it has been a free election. We disagree about such a result, which I think catastrophic and you will rejoice in but I acknowledge Trump's last week.

Ricordanza
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by Ricordanza » Wed Nov 04, 2020 7:22 am

maestrob wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:16 am
Trump already announced at a rally yesterday that he may just declare victory at the end of today. We'll just have to wait and see.
That's exactly what he did early Wednesday morning, even though the results for several key states were not complete at the time (and not complete as I'm writing this at 7:15 am Eastern Standard Time). In states where he's ahead, he wants them to stop counting because, he claims, any future counting amounts to "fraud." But in states where Biden's ahead, he wants the counting to continue.

Even if Biden wins, I will remain distressed that millions of Americans fell for this demagogue in 2016 and continued to fall for him in this election.

And, of course, if Trump wins, "distress" will be too weak a word for my feelings.

lennygoran
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by lennygoran » Wed Nov 04, 2020 7:52 am

Ricordanza wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 7:22 am
Even if Biden wins, I will remain distressed that millions of Americans fell for this demagogue in 2016 and continued to fall for him in this election.

And, of course, if Trump wins, "distress" will be too weak a word for my feelings.
Hank agree with you-right now we need a big surge from those mail in votes around Philly-we need them before trump gets to the Supreme Court! Regards, Len

jserraglio
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by jserraglio » Wed Nov 04, 2020 3:15 pm

Belle wrote:I developed respect for [Trump] during these frenetic last 10 days of campaigning. Despite having Covid19 himself only recently this 74 year old man campaigned sometimes until 1 am in the freezing cold, telling the people he loved them in response to their similar sentiments. I developed a respect for him I wonder if many of the American people had the same experience. There was something heroic about it and he never demonstrated fear
Barney wrote:I do agree about Trump's apparently inexhaustible energy and his ability to connect with his supporters. I said to my wife yesterday that I had to admire him as a campaigner - I think it is his personality that has wrested his campaign back on track
CharmNewton wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:58 pm
Given how much President Trump has endured and how much he has achieved in his first term, he already ranks as one of the most accomplished of Presidents in our history.
You betcha. Manly man, profile in courage. 'Ole blood 'n' guts' reincarnated. His guts, my mother's blood.

barney
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by barney » Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:43 pm

Now, now, Joseph, don't misunderstand me. Stalin had energy too. I still regard Trump as one of the most loathsome human beings on the planet, with absolutely no redeeming moral quality. And I wrote that in reply to Belle before his despicable attempt to subvert the election by claiming victory and massive fraud. Of course with no specific accusation.

My faith in the basic decency of American people has taken a hammer blow in this election. They absolutely knew what they were voting for this time.

Rach3
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by Rach3 » Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:30 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QurCB1lCHp0 "Yes,Minister" , on democracy.

jserraglio
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by jserraglio » Thu Nov 05, 2020 6:37 am

barney wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:43 pm
They absolutely knew what they were voting for this time.
Male display makes bitches cream.

diegobueno
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by diegobueno » Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:35 am

When I saw this thread I was wondering how long it would be before someone would come along with the “America is not a democracy, it’s a constitutional republic” argument. And sure enough, they have.

It strikes me as odd that for most of my 66 years the words “democracy” and “republic” were used pretty much interchangeably. They were both great things and they were what made America great. For generations we’ve read Walt Whitman and never tried to correct him (“For you, O Constitutional Republic!”). But some time around 10 to 15 years ago I began to see people, always on the right end of the political spectrum, making the point that, no, the U.S. is not a democracy and never was. It is a constitutional republic, and somehow it was important to remember that. For a while I would look at this, shrug my shoulders and say “OK, whatever…” But as I saw the Republican Party slip ever farther to the right I began to wonder what was the reason for this distinction.

I hope all of you can access this article by George Thomas in The Atlantic, which concerns the issue of republic vs. democracy and does a better job of saying what I set out to say when I started writing this post. The headline read “ ‘America is a Republic, Not a Democracy’ Is a Dangerous, and Wrong Argument. Enabling sustained minority rule at the national level is not a feature of our constitutional design, but a perversion of it”

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... cy/616949/
Black lives matter.

maestrob
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by maestrob » Thu Nov 05, 2020 10:18 am

High-minded claims that we are not a democracy surreptitiously fuse republic with minority rule rather than popular government. Enabling sustained minority rule at the national level is not a feature of our constitutional design, but a perversion of it. Routine minority rule is neither desirable nor sustainable, and makes it difficult to characterize the country as either a democracy or a republic. We should see this as a constitutional failure demanding constitutional reform.
Yes, Mark, very well argued and clearly summarized by the quote posted above. Thank you! A good read.

I agree whole-heartedly.


jserraglio
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by jserraglio » Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:08 pm

Belle wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:09 am
Trump is being blamed for Covid-19 deaths; 230,000 at last count. Yet not a word about 600,000 abortions annually in the USA.

Whatever the outcome I hope everything turns out well for the American people.
Putting aside your zany comparison of the covid dead to aborted fetuses, will Trump go away like his lies about the virus? With only lip service for the quarter million dead people he admits he concealed the truth about it from? What about that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWHq-3bL0DA

Last edited by jserraglio on Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.

maestrob
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Re: Is the US really a democracy?

Post by maestrob » Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:16 pm

Van Jones is a clear-eyed commentator who held a position in the Obama White House.

I agree wholeheartedly with his well-expressed disappointment. The outrageous disenfranchisement of all those potential voters in spite of the will of their general population in Florida by the Republican legislature is a terrible shame to our country's reputation as a democracy.

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