Tuesday, February 23, 2010
US Democracy Heading in Undemocratic Direction
The recent US Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited corporate political donations, made the troubled US democratic system even more troubled. The Supreme Court ruling on January 21st, 2010, was justified by five out of the nine Supreme Court judges on grounds that the US Constitutional First Amendment, does not allow government regulation of political speech whether from individuals or corporations.
The decision in the FDA's view is a win for individual rights over collective rights, and thereby over democracy which is founded on Rousseau's collective will of the people or Lincoln's government of, by, and for the people.
As it stands, the American political system is a hierarchical, monopolistic system dominated by two parties, the Republicans and Democrats. Moreover, the main feature of the political system is political influence and manipulation, whereby US voters are influenced and manipulated to vote a certain way. Not surprisingly, as of November 2009, there are 237 millionaires in the US Congress, which is 55.5% of US congressmen, and in the US Senate as of 2003, there are 40 millionaires, which is 40% of US Senators. Moreover, political donations for the upcoming 2010 US mid-term elections are estimated at 3.7 billion, without factoring in the recent US Supreme Court ruling on corporate political donations. (Source: Center for Responsive Politics)
In essence to be successful for the most part in the US political system, you need access to millions, and be either Republican or Democrat.
The US Supreme Court ruling on unlimited corporate political donations will only make money more central to the US political system, and intensify the role of the political influence and manipulation. Viz., the increase in political money means an increase in political influence and manipulation.
The US political system generally produces the better influencers and manipulators, and not necessarily the better representatives. A case in point is the 2008 US Presidential election in which President Obama was clearly the better influencer and manipulator, and not necessarily the better leader. His troubled term as President and the FDA 2008 US Presidential evaluation, which ranked Obama 3rd behind McCain and Nader, and graded him 55.6%, are testament to his weak leadership. It was clear to the FDA long before Obama was elected that he lacked leadership, but as mentioned his better ability to influence and manipulate, as compared to his rivals, allowed him to win the 2008 election.
The US political system faces significant challenges, short of a revolution to create a new political system. The way forward is to counteract the significant role of political influence and manipulation. Unlimited corporate political donations are a movement in the other direction.
The FDA is planning a non-partisan project to evaluate, rank, and grade the main candidates in the 2012 US Presidential election. The purpose of the project is to counteract political influence and manipulation, objectively and impartially inform the US voting public, and hold political candidates and representatives more accountable. For more information, please contact the FDA.
FDA 2008 US Presidential Evaluation
FDA 2012 US Presidential Evaluation project