This is a race against the clock for the survival of democracy.
The United States is the most important democracy. It is not the best democracy, perhaps it never was, but for decades US democracy has been deteriorating. If US democracy fails, and it is already failing because the social, political and economic division worsens with every election. More and more Americans are discouraged with the way US democracy works; only 30% of Americans are satisfied with their government, no democracy can survive like that.
If US democracy continues losing credibility among voters, many other Western democracies will go down because none has the power to face or compete with the new totalitarian-capitalist regimes.
US representative democracy is deteriorating because representative democracy has a huge flaw built-in; it is government by the elites, not by the people; the people vote but do not govern. Representative democracy is not “government by the people”.
Representative democracy is a vast improvement over rule by absolute kings, absolute parties, absolute religions or absolute dictators. It is very important that people have the freedom to choose and change rulers, but it is not enough, it was never enough. The people have to be the final decision makers on any issue the people decide they want to be, not the politicians, not even the Supreme Court.
The Americans, the French and many other nations made a colossal improvement when the people gained the right to vote to elect and reject leaders. They were right.
But representative democracy still is government by the elites, by the elected elites and those close to the elite; big business, big lobbies, various pressure groups.
This is more obvious in the US than in any other democracy; the people elect the leaders but the various pressure groups year after year have been gaining influence on those elected, and the voters have been losing it.
The root flaw is that representative democracy gives the executive and the legislative too much power. Between elections, politicians can pass any law, any policy, any reform of the constitution, can increase the budget, reduce the budget, increase the deficit, increase or reduce the armed forces, sign any treaty, raise or lower taxes, build any infrastructure, commit billions of to any project, etc., and the citizens, the voters can do nothing about it.
The voters may get angry about what the politicians do, but they can do nothing to stop them. The people can do nothing either to force the politicians to do things the people consider important. Even if the politicians break electoral promises, there is no mechanism for the voters to force the politicians to keep their promises.
All the people can do in a representative democracy is remember for the next election, but the next election is several years away. During that time, the same politicians can do other things that the people do support, unexpected issues may come up, the voters forget, the next election may be about other issues, etc.
If the people become furious when the politicians do something, or if they are too slow doing something they consider important, they can complain, take to the streets, burn cars and shops to show their anger, etc.
This means that in representative democracies, voters decide who will govern but lack the institutions to control what the politicians do.
In the United States, and in other representative democracies too, politicians use their excessive power to govern without considering how the people feel about the policies and laws politicians approve. The only consideration they need to make is to calculate if the decision the people oppose will have a significant effect in the next election.
The politicians often calculate like: “well, perhaps most voters, including who voted for us, dislike what we are doing, but before the next election comes about, we have time to do important things the people will like.”
Representative democracy puts voters in an impossible situation; voters elect politicians but have no control over what the politicians do. It is an absurd situation; voters decide who governs, that is important, but even more important is to decide how they govern. But the way we set representative democracies voters have no way of controlling what politicians say.
Representative democracy has become an absurd game; the voters vote, but the politicians decide. We have to go to “the voters vote and decide”. This does not mean voters will become involved in all the policies, laws, etc., but they will have the right, and the power to exercise it, to stop policies and laws approved by the politicians. Voter must also have the right to force the politicians to institute policies and laws the people decide they want.
Direct democracy is necessary at all levels of government. It is urgent in the US, and in most other democracies, at the national level. Direct democracy at the local and state level is important too, but if there is no direct democracy at the national level, it does not matter much if a few states of the US have direct democracy, or even if all the states have it, because the most powerful government in the US and in other representative democracies, is the national government. If there is no direct democracy at the national level, things will not change enough.
But reality in representative democracies is even worse than that.
In the next post I will show how the lobbies and pressure groups have much more influence than the voters on what the politicians say and, above all, on what they do. This has sent US representative democracy into a deadly spiral; morally, socially, economically, politically.
My goal with today’s post and other posts is to show how the US and other representative democracies, need direct democracy, without overthrowing representative democracy They need the change soon to avoid its collapse and/or the people turning to authoritarian practices.
I believe I will show to you how direct democracy will save democracy and will also bring more prosperity, more social justice, more social benefits, more efficiency, a better and universal health care system, better education, better protection for minorities, more freedom and dignity, do away with the bitter right-left, progressive-conservative division, fewer wars and, help all of humankind advance to a more humane live.
But to help the US and other representative democracies adopt direct democracy, at all levels of government, you will have to do something. To change the facts you have to change your thinking and then act, pecefully, but forcefully, intensely, until the politicians accept to give more power to voters and reduce their own power.