Tuesday, October 12, 2004

American Democracy (7)

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 & Part 5, Part 6 & Going Political all need to be read first.

The long rambling point draws to a close.

My penultimate post - before somemore later, and, obviously, when the result is announced.

The last distorting feature is of course: property. That is, you cannot have free and democratic elections in an unequal society. The Americans are face with a choice between a billionaire and a millionaire because only such people have the friends and wherewithal to mount a campaign.

I don't just mean straight out corruption: though every little nudge helps to push the electoral bandwagon in your favoured direction. After-all, corruption has time honoured traditions, and each party can be equally corrupt, all it does is help keep interlopers from being able to join the race.

Couple this with the barriers to making it onto the ballot paper in some states - a process which can be costly and time consuming, and money is already a bar. Add further, that the candidates seem to have spent over $200 million each - about $1 per voter - and you can see it would be hard for anyone else to keep up.

Of course, if you privately own the means of communication you can throw that into the ring as well.

Money skews the race before it begins, preselecting who is eligible to even put their name forward, it contrainschoices and what can rationally be done within the system. But hey, they own the country, so why shouldn't they be allowed to buy elections, fair and suare?


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