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A Tale of Two Democracies: What It Is Like to Vote in the United States Compared to France?

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Is all this democratic? No. Is it fair? No. Is it good for the vast majority of America's citizens? No. Is it dog-eat-dog Randian libertarianism? We're getting warmer. Is it banana republic foibles, a Peter Faulk-Alan Arkin movie script writ large? I'll let you be the judge after reading the rest of this article.

 

 

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How It's Done Across the Big Pond

 

The United States brags about its political system, but the President says one thing during the election, something else when he takes office, something else at midterm and something else when he leaves . Deng Xiaoping

 

Now that we have had a chance to review America's voting history, trends and colorful highlights, how do elections in another great democracy, France, take place? You remember France, right? Freedom fries, frogs, being steadfastly against NATO for two generations, refusing to aid the US in its invasion and occupation of Iraq, American envy that France gets 80% of its electricity from nuclear power and France having the (now second best, after China) best high speed rail system on the planet; oh yeah, I almost forgot, it was the French who developed and pushed for worldwide adoption of the Système International (metric), which has pretty much isolated America's 5% of the world's population against the rest of the 95% who live by it (OK, the English cannot quit using their "stones"!).

 

After studying the rest of this article, I think you will agree that these two democratic countries' visions on universal suffrage are like night and day: exclusion against inclusion, fear vs. confidence, electoral Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum against a broad spectrum of electoral choice and debate, corrupt vs. clean voting systems, roadblocks vs. convenience and elections bought like show hogs at auction against a fairly level financial electoral playing field.

 

My personal experiences and this study make a laughable mockery of some "democracy" country rankings. After all, universal suffrage is the bedrock and fertile soil in which the roots of democracy are so firmly anchored. A good example is www.nationmaster.com , which ranks the US #6 and France #28 in electoral freedom! What solar system are they living in to make such ridiculous rankings?

 

France's Electoral Voting System

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Jeff is the author of 44 Days Backpacking in China: The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass (2013), Reflections in Sinoland -- Musings and Anecdotes from the Belly of (more...)
 

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