A Functioning Democracy? Think Again

Here are 11 old and new reasons that taken together show why the United States is not currently a functioning democracy.

  • The archaic electoral college means a presidential candidate who wins the most votes can lose the election as was the case with Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Al Gore.

  • Wyoming has population of 585,000 people and California has a population of 39 million people. Each state is represented by two United States senators.

  • The Republican Party has gerrymandered House districts to ensure that only their party members can get elected to Congress in certain areas of the country, ensuring perpetual GOP majorities.

  • The GOP has been successful in advancing new voter-restriction laws that suppress the votes of minority people, most of whom would vote for Democrats if they actually could vote.

  • The national Democratic Party leadership is out of touch with working people by almost any measure and doesn’t currently function as a viable opposition to Republicans.

  • Our current president, Donald Trump, lies on an almost daily basis about matters large and small, lies revealed by specific and obvious evidence yet he suffers no repercussions.

  • American oligarchs, such as the Charles and David Koch brothers, use their massive wealth to elect and control candidates through campaign contributions and push an agenda that benefits them financially while increasing income inequality and destroying opportunities for the poor.

  • Russia, a hostile foreign power with a non-democratic government, helped sway the last presidential election in our country to elect Trump and a sizable portion of our nation’s voting public simply doesn’t care.

  • The mainstream media, alternative web sites, especially on the alt-right, and dumbed-down social media have become so fragmented and littered with false equivalences and outright falsehoods that truth as a concept has been completely de-centered and thus is no longer relevant in political debate or in how policy decisions get made.

  • The United States incarcerates more people than any other industrial nation in the world, creating a subclass of people unable to participate in electoral politics.

  • Neoliberalism, or the embrace of free market principles at the expense of a compassionate view of humanity, remains the operating ideology embraced by both major political parties in the United States, leading to underpaid jobs, poverty and poor medical outcomes that limit electoral participation.
  • The reality is our country since the era of Ronald Reagan has become an oligarchy with all national political power and much of the political power in the states now held by the richest people and their surrogates in our culture regardless of which major political party they support. That someone such as Trump is president is actually no fluke under this interpretation but rather the manifestation of how the lies of neoliberalism have triumphed.

    The real question is whether the country is capable at this point of a sweeping electorate uprising that could restore democratic values.

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