The Pathos of Politics (86) Elections


What good fortune for governments that the people do not think. ~ Adolf Hitler

Representative democracy is not about citizen involvement in decision-making. It is instead about assuring the public that there is some feedback mechanism to governmental performance. Whence competitive elections, which are basically exercises in brand-name publicity, coupled with some shaggy demagoguery over issues. This is particularly true in presidential democracies, such as the United States.

Even where the guise of democracy operates, the world’s nations are ruled by an elite. Votes are effectively bought, as costly publicity is necessary to be elected. Hence, the politicians not already wealthy must have patrons to finance their campaigns.

Influence which is given on the side of money is usually against the truth. ~ English sociologist Harriet Martineau

If a campaign boat is not sailing on a sea of green, it simply cannot stay afloat. Lucre is the lubricant to avert the dry-dock of unelectability.

The campaign finance system is now a countervailing force to the way the actual voters of the country are evolving and the policies they want. ~ American political and demographic analyst Ruy Teixeira in 2015

The most manipulative livelihood that capitalism affords – making money with money – has been the dominant dynamic behind income inequality in the US, and the fuel for the ruling elite to finance political campaigns. The 1/10th of 1% of American taxpayers who have quintupled their share of the country’s income 1979–2012 did so via fiddling finance.

Of the 115.6 million families in the US, just 358 pay over half the tab for presidential campaigns. This tiny clique determines who can effectively run for office.

The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history – whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite. ~ Thomas Jefferson