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Discussion Question: What is the Condition of America's Electoral System?

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I have noted here earlier that the mid-term elections of 2006 brought the encouraging news, which many of us no longer felt could in any way be assumed, that the process of elections in the United States still granted to te electorate the ability to transfer power from one party (that of the Bushites) to another. Nonetheless, I have encountered some people who see the elections otherwise. According to their view, the victory of the Democrats in the congressional elections was not due to the normal, healthy workings of a free election. Rather, it could occur because some part of the corrupt American power establishment, for reasons of their own, decided to allow the electorate to take power from the Bushites. In other words, the ruling Establishment --perhaps fed up with the incompetent Bushites-- decided to cut this clique loose to face an electoral defeat. But the same hands that this year have given might well take away from the American people any say in future elections. This election, say these people, was just a temporary reprieve from the consequences of the destruction of our democracy, which nonetheless has already effectively taken place. I am extremely skeptical about this interpretation of the state of our democracy. And I would ask any adherents of this view: is there any genuine evidence to support this interpretation? I have seen a great many instances of people inventing the intellectual means of preserving basic parts of their wordlview. (Cf. the book WHEN PROPHECY FAILS, by Leon Festinger.) Is there any reason why your notion of this election being a temporary utilization by the powerful of an electoral system they've otherwise hijacked should not be regarded by us as a means of salvaging your belief that democracy is --must be-- dead or comatose in America? If so, please share your information here. Another question about another aspect of our electoral system... In the elections of 2006, there were various glitches and irregularities and missing votes. How important are these in assessing the condition of our election process? How large do the problems loom in the context of the whole picture? To what extent are these irregularities a sign of more or less innocent malfunctions of a system that's still being developed, and that needs to be fine-tuned and improved (e.g. with paper trails)? And to what extent is there reason to see these problems as indicative of intentional attempts by some people to steal elections? What kind of evidence is there on the basis of which such questions can be answered? I look forward to seeing how much light can be shed by the collective knowledge of the people assembled here.
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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