Thursday, February 07, 2008

Huge Turnout to Pick Fuhrer Nominees! About 13% Eligible Voters

Only 13% of eligible voters voted in the primary - and many of them are on the dole. But even if 100% had voted they just voted for a representative who will listen first and foremost to powerful special interests.
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The Associated Press reports: "Voters came out in record numbers in about half the states that have voted in presidential primaries so far, according to an analysis Wednesday...About 14 million people voted in the Democratic primaries this year compared with the slightly more than 10 million who voted in GOP primaries, according to the analysis."

Now that's 24 million who voted out of WHAT percentage of the population actually is old enough, etc. to be eligible to vote? That number didn't pop up on numerous searches but a quick look at the map - and mental calculations from the state populations chart - shows that probably 3/4 of eligible voters have had their chance to vote. Let's say for argument that's 180 million eligible voters. (24 million is 13% of 180.) That's about 13 percent of eligible voters having picked the presidential candidates. That's consistent with Presidential Primary Turnout Rate averages from 2000 and 2004.

13% is less than the almost 16% percent of people who work for local, state and federal governments! And then, as of 2003, there are the 47 million Americans were collecting Social Security and most of them vote! And don't forget the millions more getting paychecks from government contracts. Did anyone vote in the primary who is NOT on the dole?? One thing for sure, a large number of primary voters were voting the way party leaders told them because they know who's going to keep those checks coming.

To me, “democracy” (from the Green “rule by the people”) means giving every member who shares the groups’ overall goals a way to participate equally in group decision making. And I believe representative, majority rule “democracy” does nothing of the sort.

In small organizations, and even more so in large ones, but particularly in government, the current system of majoritarian representation leads inevitably to de facto minority rule. Wealthy and/or well-organized elites and special interests know who to fund, who to elect, who to pressure, who to pay, in order to get their way. And all it takes is a small minority of members or citizens to elect a nominee or will be elected by a somewhat larger number of people to be an executive or a representative. In a legislature, this representative may be among a mere quorum of representatives voting on a bill - and they pass by a bare majority any number of liberty-denying and tax and spend laws. Reformists’ tweaks cannot fix these majoritarian and representative structural flaws.

We need direct democracy that only permits laws to be passed if they are voted on directly by a large percentage of citizens. And then only if a large majority of them approve it. If 80 per cent of 80 per cent of the public is necessary to approve a law, few special interest laws even will be proposed, not to mention passed.

I myself have a long and generally positive experience with direct and consensus-oriented democratic groups starting with anti-nuclear organizing in the 1970s and early 1980s, then Green/bioregional organizing in the 1980s and early 1990s, and finally peace organizing since 1997. I have seen the “tyranny of structurelessness.” But I’ve seen far more tyranny in structured organizations, from anti-globalization “spokes councils” to loosely structured coalitions to Robert Rules of Order run groups with carefully structured constitutions. I have seen all turn into clique dominated autocracies, reinforcing the idea that giving away one’s power leaves one powerless.

However, I remain hopeful that constitutions combining direct, consensus-oriented democracy with simple and effective process rules can minimize the damage done by special interests, cliques and opportunistic apparatchiks. And our “revolutionary” organizations can be models of the political organizations we create in the future. See more about his at my site Secession.Net.

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