Democracy’s Problem

Election Day is an almost entirely cost-free opportunity to step into a private place and say, ‘This is what I want.’
Election Day is an almost entirely cost-free opportunity to step into a private place and say, ‘This is what I want.’

Today is Election Day, which means that a great many professional to semi-professional scolds will be hectoring you to vote, calling it a “civic duty” and invoking such clichés as “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” The business of this Tuesday, they say, is to “make your voice heard.”

Okay. That’s Tuesday. What is the business of Wednesday?

Procedural majoritarian democracy — voting and the subsequent peaceable exchange of political power — is admirable and necessary not because, as another cliché insists, “we are all equal at the polling place.” There is no equality among people in this world — some people have some pretty stupid political opinions, and they act on them — and the notional “equality before the law” that we Americans cleave to describes the character of our institutions, not the character of our people.

The value of voting is that it is the easiest nonviolent means of ensuring a minimum level of accountability among lawmakers and high officials. If we do not like the principal figures in our governments, we can change them. Voting is a practical measure, not an affirmation of every ignorant sentiment and selfish demand from every Larry, Caitlyn, and Avery across the fruited plain. If there were an easier and more reliable method for ensuring accountability than asking 50 percent plus 1 of the people what they think about things they don’t know very much about (there’s no shame in rational ignorance; it is rational, after all), the world would be a better place, at least a better-governed place. But there isn’t. So we vote.

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See Also:

(1) Senate Report Reveals Christine Blasey Ford Had an Encounter Similar to Her Kavanaugh Claim

(2) The one question that really matters this election day

(3) AG races could swell army of lawyers suing Trump, as Dems vow to ‘take on’ president

(4) More division and confrontation ahead: Trump prepares for 2020 campaign with no plans to change approach

(5) ‘Blue wave’ breaks against a red wall

(6) Election results 2018: Forget the blue wave and behold the purple puddle

(7) Obama loses again

(8) Midterm elections prove Trump’s critics still underestimate him as ‘blue wave’ becomes a ripple

(9) After Winning the House, Democrats Might Pick an Impeachment Fight

(10) Record $5.2 billion spent on midterms as voters swamp polls

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