Democracy as an Invention

by John Manimas Medeiros, June 2021


inventing an improved method for non-violent revolution


My lifetime of study and experience with politics upholds the viewpoint that "democracy" means democratic process or democratic method.  A democratic government is an invention that provides a legal structure for the selection of government authorities and government policies and programs.  This viewpoint of democracy as a deliberate choice, made by the people, to accomplish the work of government through a legally-binding design (rule of law) is not new.  However, when in times of trouble, we need to re-examine the current invention and ask ourselves what could be done to improve the old invention.  No invention is final.  An invention can be improved.  American democracy can be improved.  I propose a three-part re-invention of American democracy.  The problems that have developed from the old structure are caused directly by the corruption of party politics and elections.  The two-party system and related changes have replaced loyalty to one's state and nation with loyalty to one's political faction – political party. 


We have permitted our system to devolve into a system of government by political faction, which was not only not intended, but was seriously and clearly rejected as one of the primary threats to a democratic republic.  The founding leaders, and founding supporters known as the British Colonies in North America, clearly considered political parties to be dangerous to democracy, and clearly noted that political parties must be carefully controlled and limited if a genuine democratic process of government – rule of law – is to prevail.  We must make changes to arrest the two-party system and structure our invention so that political parties are enclosed by laws and practices that compel them to serve the will of the people and provide good government and prevent them from becoming strictly factions that seek power in order to win an economic or political war.  Our political history demonstrates that political parties are unable to voluntarily restrict their energies to the pursuit of public service.  Political parties are driven by powerful political passions, and those powerful passions must be enclosed by powerful laws. 


Summary:  defense and details follow

A)  Mandatory voting;

B)  Shopper's convenience balloting;

C)  Party coalitions by popular vote.  Party coalitions mediated and enforced by a Political Party Council of Mediators, two persons elected by popular vote by each state, where in the case of a tie vote the Chair's vote is not counted.  


Mandatory voting:

Voter suppression is not only an act of corruption and shameful denial of democracy, it is also the act of a party of cowards who overtly acknowledge pending defeat by majority vote.  The American Constitution overtly guarantees, in the text, a "republican form of government."  This is easily checked by finding a text and searching for that phrase.  Then and now it is universally agreed that a republican form of government means a government whose original source of authority, and the power to govern, is the people.  Hence, a republican form of government is created and maintained by a democratic process: by voting.  All versions of "democracy" that can reasonably be included in a dictionary of language mean majority rule with practical protections of the minority of voters on any significant issue.  The "minority" that loses a vote must be protected by law from abuse and mistreatment by a selfish, cruel or mean-spirited majority.  If basic constitutional law does not protect minorities, then the structure enabled by that constitution can support a tribal oppression of one faction over others.  That oppressive capacity, apparently common in the human character, must be guarded against, as it is to some extent by our first ten amendments, also called "The Bill of Rights."


As in the case of jury duty, where all citizens are required to serve on a jury for trial of a criminal offense, the requirement is not arbitrary but logical and reasonable in order to meet an important constitutional promise to all citizens:  the right to a trial by jury.  Seeing that we also have a constitutional promise of a "republican form [democratic source] of government," it is logical and reasonable that voting be mandatory in order for us to keep that constitutional promise.  The objections one might hear, that "60% of eligible voters is enough" (or 70%? or 50%? or 35%?] or "some people are already satisfied" or "they don't care" or "they would not change the outcome" are not effective objections, IF YOUR TRUE PURPOSE IS RULE OF LAW AND DEMOCRATIC AUTHORITY OF THE PEOPLE.  Reasonable and fair enforcement can consist in a small monetary penalty imposed only on persons with an income tax liability.  We do not want to punish the poor, who are the most needful of voting.  They are the otherwise powerless, the ones most likely to have been neglected or overlooked in the halls of power.  The best way to defeat voter suppression is mandatory voting.  It will be difficult to stop a citizen from doing what they are required to do.


Shopper's convenience balloting:

In our times Americans have argued grotesquely about the relative ease or difficulty of voting, the necessity of avoiding voter fraud (which is close to zero), and the alleged abuse that can be committed by a single voter or a small group of voters.  All of these objections are nonsense.  If an organized group of ten or a hundred voters in a district could cast a meaningful number of false or fraudulent ballots for one candidate or party, then the same must be true for another group of voters who can do the same for an opposing candidate or party.  In other words, if the voters themselves really were the important source of fraudulent ballots, any set of slanted ballots would most likely be balanced by a set of fraudulent ballots created with the opposite slant.  In summary, the real danger of election fraud does not originate with voters, but with those who administer state elections and the legislatures that make and enforce election laws and election procedures.  In this world of state elections, the most common and most destructive pattern of corruption is voter suppression by state legislatures.  The practice of voter suppression includes unnecessarily restrictive rules on how to vote, when to vote and where to vote, and even minimizing the proper place for each voter to vote by town, district or neighborhood.  All of these measures tend toward making it relatively easy for rich people to vote, and harder as one moves downward on the economic or income scale.  The best way to defeat voter suppression is mandatory voting.  It will be difficult to stop a citizen from doing what they are required to do.  However, a second-best way to defeat voter suppression is by shopper's convenience balloting. 


I have often advised a friend of my observation that in the United States of America you are rarely more than 100 yards or 30 minutes from a sandwich and a coffee.  This is somewhat true also for gasoline, sugar in water, and fireworks.  But polling place, not available for 50 miles and only on one day, and only if you are properly registered, are the only person in the world named "Fred Jones," and you got the notice that although you live in the Town of Podunk you must register in the Town of Overshoe, which is 100 miles west.  The nearest convenience store and or ATM is right in front of your eyes if not up your ass because food and business are of paramount importance to the unfortunate Americans who are known to always be fearful of shortages of food, beer, gasoline, toilet paper, and poor people to blame for everything.  If you have any feelings of emptiness, a pizza, a keychain, a gallon of gas, a restroom, a donut, drugs, milk, eggs, ten thousand variations of sugar in water, are available for your comfort.  But your vote, your desire to tell those elected to power what you want, that is not available.  Too difficult.  How could we possibly make it easy to vote when our primary mission for two hundred years has been to feed you junk food and junk news until your body and mind explode.


Just as a side remark, you should search for "how many credit card transactions are completed each day?"  You might be surprised that the correct answer is in the vicinity of 8 million transactions PER HOUR.  Think about it!  The one buyer among hundreds of millions of people, and the one seller, among millions of sellers, just traded an object for a specified amount of money, eight million times, and each transaction was correct.  The error rate is far less than 1%.  Ask yourself, could this level of accuracy with such a low error rate be due to the fact that we value money above all things?   But we do not seem to value voting, do we?  We can achieve such a tremendous level of precision for buying and selling socks and toys, but not for voting.  Why is that?  A similar comparison can be made with military communications.  Do military messages get transmitted with a high error rate?  I don't think so.  If we can achieve such nearly perfect precision for business transactions and military communications, we can have the same accuracy and precision for voting, IF WE REALLY WANT TO, IF WE REALLY VALUE THE ALLEGED DEMOCRATIC SOURCE OF GOVERNMENT POWER. 


So, the aforesaid observations show that there are no real obstacles to our creating a precisely accurate system of elections with convenience-store availability.  If we wanted to, we could arrange for convenience stores to be polling places, or banks, or ATMs, or grocery stores, or all of the above.  This is what a nation would do, if they were honest, and have a constitution that says the people are guaranteed "a republican form of government."   


Party coalitions by popular vote:

The two-party system is not supported by the constitution, by civil law, or by anything other than a multi-state UNWRITTEN agreement of the Republicans and Democrats to suppress any socialist or other type of "third" party and prevent genuine and serious political competition from a new political party.  If you do not understand and acknowledge this fact of American political and economic history, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CREATE A REAL DEMOCRACY, OR "REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT" IN AMERICA.  So long as these two political parties are able to block and render powerless all new political parties, they can continue to get their candidates elected to the offices of power WITHOUT REALLY FULFILLING ANY OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE THE VOTERS WITH WHAT THEY WANT.  IN OTHER WORDS, YOU ARE LOYAL TO THE PARTY WHEN YOU VOTE FOR THEIR CANDIDATES, BUT YOU HAVE NO LEVERAGE TO MAKE THEM LOYAL TO YOU AND YOUR WISHES.  You cannot say "If you don’t do what I want I will vote for the new party," because it is useless to vote for a new party in the two-party system.  In order to obtain any power, a new party would have to receive more than 50% of the vote.  This is impossible.  The only way a new party can develop is gradually.  Start with 5% of the vote and then earn more votes over a series of elections.  And the only way this could happen is if a party coalition between a major party and a new party IS MANDATORY and requires that the older large party SHARE POWER with the new small party, and not just type a few words in the major party platform to be ignored ever after.   



Two additional measures to assure representation of the people,

and not "candidates for hire":


Business opinions and recommendations through publication.

No business entity has a right to communicate directly with an elected state or federal legislator, because the legislators do not represent business entities; they represent only citizens.  Publications subject to oversight by a quasi-governmental organization of professional journalists shall be identified as conveying the political and economic recommendations of business entities, together with explanations of how those recommendations benefit the people, a state, or the nation.  Legislators are not elected to "make deals" unless their constituents specifically obligate them to pursue a defined relationship between government and a business entity or entities.   


Campaign funding by grants from voter funding groups ONLY.

Just as citizen groups, non-profits and state agencies apply for a "grant" to complete projects that benefit the general public (such as recreational, educational and transportation projects), candidates will apply for grants of campaign funds from committees of registered voters.  Such Voter Campaign Funding Committees can be highly organized or loosely organized in accordance with a set of laws designed to make the candidates and political parties earn their election campaign funds by documented commitments to their constituents and voters.  We will then have a public record of their stated obligations to meet the specified demands of their constituents, and not obligated to a few rich individuals who would expect them to represent the selfish and anti-democratic goals of business entities who are NOT THEIR TAXPAYING CONSTITUENTS.  This way the votes cast for a candidate or political party are not just expressions of feelings or opinions, but a set of INSTRUCTIONS to the officer elected to exercise the power of government for the people.    

Revolution by Vote, June 11, 2021


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