Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Winning isn't all

I've never voted in a primary before, but a friend's daughter has been campaigning for an inspiring young challenger to our House represent- ative and I thought I should lend my support. In the end, he came close to upsetting the incumbent - 48.1% of the about 28,500 votes cast. Maybe next time! In a nearby precinct, a better known House Representative was upset by an even younger challenger.

Democracy at work! But this was a day when the gamability of the U. S. political system was on full display, with the announcement of shameful Supreme Court acquiescence in demagogic arguments from an imperial president who lost the popular vote. The slim 5-4 majority was determined by a justice in a seat the demagogic president's predecessor should by rights have filled, stonewalled by a conniving Senate majority leader... All are members of the same party, pulling out the stops using the apparatus of American government to perpetuate rule by what they know to be a dwindling minority.

That's not what the apparatus was for, of course, but every chain has weaker links, and they're exploiting each one, in violation of what one might call the spirit of the laws. It's what their imperial president calls "winning," the more clearly conniving the better. Unconstrained by the checks and balances of the Constitution's writers (all faithful readers of Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws), or of a broader democratic scruple, they're likely to win a lot more in the coming years - to everyone's ultimate detriment, though the disenfranchised will suffer more and sooner. (That the SCOTUS majority knows the dangers is revealed by their taking the occasion belatedly to void the Korematsu ruling which permitted the internment of Japanese Americans in 1944.)

The turnout at our various primaries was small, as it always is. Most eligible voters didn't come (as in the past I didn't). Of those who wanted to, many probably could not afford the time. This is a weak link, too, the mechanism by which the "winning" party has been divested of moderates committed to the rules of the game by ideologues, often floated by anti-democratic plutocrats. One of the struggles of the coming years will be maintaining faith in a system which has allowed itself to be so gamed.

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