This post was written by Dmitri Voltova
Obama spent his final speech to his minions and supplicants calling the USA a Democracy. The problem? He’s lying. It isn’t. That would be like Trump calling America a Kingdom. The media, of course, would attack him for such an “outrageous” statement, but Obama is just as wrong.
Yes, America is NOT a Democracy, nor was it intentend to be.
A “pure democracy,” explained Madison, “can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction.” But a republic, he continued, “by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, . . . promises the cure for which we are seeking.” The Framers believed that cooler heads would prevail if the people’s impulses were funneled through elected representatives in government. And, in fact, representation was only one part of the Founders’ remedy for the mischiefs of faction. They also separated the powers of government among three branches, established a Senate in which states, not people, have equal voice, established the electoral college rather than direct popular vote for the selection of the president, divided powers between the national and state governments, and allowed that individual rights would prevail over national (and later state) power.
Writing in 1959, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Felix Morley asked, “How is it . . . that a form of government so politically undemocratic as that of the United States, should nevertheless be habitually referred to as a ‘democracy’ . . . ?” Over the succeeding half-century, Americans and our leaders have become even more insistent that the core value of our constitutional system of government is democracy. Both Trump and Sanders have claimed repeatedly that the system is rigged, by which they mean that the will of the voters is somehow being frustrated. Although Trump’s lament seems puzzling in light of his success at the polls, the ongoing ‘dump trump’ maneuverings give him ample reason to believe that the so-called Republican establishment would counter the will of the people if only it could find a way. Sanders supporters are understandably frustrated by Hillary Clinton’s success despite Sanders’ repeated primary victories. Most of her lead in delegates is built on commitments from super delegates who are free to ignore the will of primary voters. This may seem unjust to Sanders supporters, but it’s the sort of constraint on pure democracy that Madison defended in Federalist #10.
Were those who wrote and ratified the Constitution around today, few would object that Clinton’s super delegates or a scheming Republican establishment are breaking faith with the core principles of American constitutionalism. As the historian Jackson Turner Main observed in writing about the anti-Federalist opposition to the proposed Constitution, among those assembled in Philadelphia, there were “none who spoke out clearly for democracy.” Over the brief life of the Articles of Confederation, under which state legislatures functioned with few constraints, the Framers learned firsthand about the hazard of factions, or what the founding generation often referred to as the “licentiousness of the masses.” As a result, they designed a government in which the people exercised no direct power and only representatives to the lower chamber of Congress were selected by popular vote. And although the Seventeenth Amendment provides for popular election of members of the Senate, individual Senators continue to represent vastly disproportionate numbers of voters.
The threats Trump poses to democracy must also be understood in an international context, where there is a struggle between authoritarianism and democracy. Russian President Vladimir Putin stands on the side of autocracy, with increasingly isolated European democracies such as Germany and France standing in opposition. Trump seems to be aligning himself with Putin rather than with democracy.
Dumb Liberals. Or maybe Lie-brals. Goes well with Obama’s new official name that we are now labelling him : Obama Been Lyin’.