If you will
What if Jimmy Carter had been reelected in 1980; Walter Mondale had been elected in 1984 and reelected in 1988; and, Al Gore elected in 2000 and reelected in 2004?
We would be at least twenty years ahead of where we are now in re Climate Change. Central America would not be as bad off as it is. We would not have invaded Iraq the first time. Nine-eleven probably would not have happened. We would not have invaded Afghanistan. We would not have invaded Iraq the second time. The Great Recession of 2008 would not have happened. Our world stature would be better than it is; China’s less. Wealth disparity would be less than it is. Race relations would be better. Our national debt would be less. We would not have five or more regressives on the Supreme Court. Donald J. Trump would have been left to lusting after porn stars. Instead of going backward, we would have made great progress; be many years ahead of where we are in so many ways. If Jimmy Carter had been reelected in 1980; neither Shelby, Citizens United, nor Rucho would be law of the land. The whole world would be better off.
How is it that our much vaunted democracy could have so often been wrong? Aren’t democracies, like markets, — like gods, — supposed to be omniscient?
More likely, democracies can only work if everyone plays fair. Democracy didn’t work in NYC and KC back in the days when the bosses ran everything. Didn’t work in the Jim Crow South. When Nixon went south for the white vote; the big lie, the personal attacks, the character assassinations, the denigration of one’s opponent, the cheating, …, all the baggage of white southern politics came right along with those votes. For Nixon, winning was everything. You do what you have to do to win. And, besides, the other-side cheats; you know damned well they do.
In 1980, but for the character assassination, the denigration, the big lies, . . . the deals made with the Ayatollah’s people, — for the cheating, Jimmy Carter would have been reelected.
In 2000, the Bush-Cheney campaign employed all these tactics in spades. Even so, they lost the popular vote.
In 2016, there was nothing the Trump-Pence campaign wouldn’t do, didn’t do; their campaign took anything goes to a whole new level whilst screaming that the opposition was cheating.
Even when it appeared that democracy worked when one party cheated; it didn’t. It requires a lot of majority, a lot of hard work, and some good bit of luck to offset cheating. For democracy to work every time, most of the time, the game must be played fairly. Cheating, lying, character assassination, denigration of your opponent are not First Amendment rights.
Much of the dirty work in these campaigns was farmed out. There’s no way to have a fair election if a presidential ticket can farm out the dirty work. Candidates need to be held personally accountable for any and all cheating done in their interests.
Having crossed the Rubicon, knowing that they can’t win the nationwide popular vote, the Republicans know that the only way they can win the presidency is to cheat. Now there is nothing the Republican Party won’t do to win. Now they shamelessly drag up Jim Crow laws to suppress the vote. Now they cheat in order to stack state houses so that they will be able to overturn the will of the people in the Electoral College. For them, democracy would preclude their getting their way. For them, tyranny by a Republican minority is good. Cheat like hell is the consensus in today’s Republican Party.
Cheating, even if is legal, is still cheating. One of the Republicans’ favorite way of cheating is to take advantage of weaknesses in the Constitution; weaknesses like the Electoral College, gerrymandering, and the undemocratic Senate. For democracy to work, the cheating needs to stop; do so before it is too late.
Whatever is fair, is fair. When the Constitution is wrong, it is wrong. When the Supreme Court is wrong, it is wrong.
Deliberately spreading lies about an opponent, denigrating an opponent, and propagating big lies are cheating. Exploiting the weaknesses in the Constitution to subvert democracy is cheating.
The Nation shouldn’t be so at the hazard of the die. The Constitution should have delineated standards of fitness for the office of President; dealt better with fairness and democracy.
What is done can’t be undone. But, unless we soon figure out a way to stop the cheating, we will lose our democracy; lose America. Of all things American, democracy is the most important of all. Without democracy, America doesn’t exist.