What is a Democracy exactly? Democracy is rooted from the Greek, literally meaning “rule of the people.” In today’s modern usage, democracy is a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as a parliament. Democracy is a tender subject for many people and is one not to be criticized.
America is consistently inconsistent in its practice of democracy. It is written and repeated stated that the United States of America is a democracy, yet as frequent as the latest Presidential election of 2016, there is evidence of anti-democracy in our government. World-renowned “YourDictionatary.com” states the definition of antidemocratic is a person, place, or thing unfriendly or against the ideas and actions of democracy such as the power of the people to elect their leaders through majority rules and free elections. An example of antidemocratic is a brochure that lists the cons of the current leader in power, slamming the process of free election and claiming the people are told lies and therefore can’t make educated decisions about their leaders anyway.
Lets face it, with every passing election they seem to become more and more competitive and the 2016 election was no different. This election had many of the same violations of democratic procedures that are often found within unstable democracies and highly competitive and demanding administrations. Elections usually fall short in one of two ways, by procedure abuse or violations of basic standards of democratic fair play. For example, the election of 2016 was the first election since the weakening of the Voting Rights in 2013 by the Supreme Court. Which ultimately led to an uneven playing field by increasing voter ID laws, securing of polling stations in minority dominated districts as well as “monitoring” polls for alleged fraud in nonwhite communities.
So whether is may change an elections result, targeting one party’s supporters to discourage them from voting undermines democracy. Another issue I’m having is with the Electoral College, how does this system deliver victory to a candidate who lost the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes (or more than 2% of the national total)? Let me explain, each state gets as many electors as it has members of the House of Representatives and Senate.
Each state gets two: Whether it has 38 million people or half a million. Because states, not people, are represented equally in the Senate, thus being the Senate is undemocratic. And because a state’s number of electors is based partly on its number of senators this means is that America’s electoral system is rigged to give these smaller, more conservative states more weight. This questionably makes the Electoral College an antidemocratic institution whose challenging nature is now being slowly and noticeably revealed.
Donald Trump was also known for discrediting the electoral process and his opponents in the election of 2016. He stated that the election was “rigged” and would not recognize the results if they did not go in his favor. He threated to throw his opponent in jail, and also encouraged his supported to rough up protestors at his rallies. This was only the start of his dramatic differences from American electoral practices for procedure and principles.
Next, lets talk about cracking, packing and gerrymandering all which go hand in hand with one another, as well as demonstrating undemocratic practices. Cracking is spreading like-minded voters across multiple districts to dilute their voting power in each. This in all denies the group representation in multiple districts. Packing on the other hand is putting like-minded voters together in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts.
Gerrymandering on the other hand is technically unconstitutional and basically allows for the messing with legislative district lines by political parties. This is where partisans manipulate the process to their advantage and not only did redistricting make it easier for Republicans to keep control of congress for the election of 2016 but it just might have made it easier for them to keep control over the next decade. Americans didn’t intend to elect a republican majority to the House of Representatives but thanks to redistricting that’s what they got.
As with any election your going to have supporters, but you will also have critics who don’t necessarily agree with what your doing. Example, many people didn’t approve of or like the idea of Obama becoming president, but through out his presidency many of his critics took notice that this was a good change and he meant well for our country. Now, if you fast-forward to our current President Trump, he has a slew of critics, and the group only seems to be getting bigger. Many critics find President Trump as a joke, and a threat to our countries well being.
In Obamas farewell address last year he did not ignore the dangers that would come with Trump, not just with outside countries, but at home as well. With Obama leaving office he did the next best thing he could do and that was call on us Americans to take responsibility for our falling democracy. He said “Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life. If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing.
If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard get some signatures and run for office yourself. Show up, dive in and stay at it.” And that’s exactly what Americans began doing the day after Trump took office. Another critic to take note from would be Mitt Romney’s 2016 Anti-Trump speech. In his speech he denounced Donald Trump and urges American’s to use tactical voting for the rest of the election. Romney criticized Trump for not releasing his tax returns and predicting that “bombshells” were hidden in the documents. He went on and declared that all of Trumps promises were worthless and wouldn’t be carried out.
In February on psychologytoday.com there was a post written about Donald Trumps mental health that went viral and people on both sides of the political race as well as health professionals weighed in on the conversation with their concerns and comments. One comment was from a guy by the name of John Gartner, Ph.D., who is the founder of Duty to Warn, an organization whose sole intent is to warn our country that we are all in trouble due to the presidents mental instability. He has a petition that more than sixty thousand mental health professionals have signed, stating ““We, the undersigned mental health professionals, believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” This isn’t just critics talking now, this is actual doctors who study this day in and day out.
Ultimately John Gartner’s discussion as well as petition caught the attention of one Brandy X. Lee of Yale University who ended up turning this into a book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. This book contains essays from 27 different psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health professionals whom discuss the “clear and present danger” that President Trump’s mental health poses to the “nation and individual well being.” The book contains many arguments about how Donald Trump and his mental health was affecting the mental health of the American people and how he places the country at grave risk of involving the country in a war and undermining democracy itself due to his pathological narcissism and sociopathy. Coincidence? I think not.
In conclusion, there are many ways that America is consistently inconsistent in its practice of democracy especially with the last election of 2016, which left us in despair with President Trump. The fate of the United States ultimately depends now on how Trump uses his powers rather than how he actually secured them. But all in all democracy itself relies on free and fair elections that guarantee citizens equal rights. While there are many things that go on during elections that are behind the door, that Americans don’t see which most are very illegal, It is those things such as, the Electoral College rigging the system, gerrymandering, packing and cracking and many other things we need to put a stop to in order to have those fair elections.