America Opinion

Democracy Compromised

How voters can weaken democratic values.

Ballots were turned in on Tuesday for Oregon’s primary election. Portland Mayor, Oregon Governor, and United States President were all polled. Bernie Sanders won Oregon, all but Gilliam County, against Hillary Clinton. A simultaneous vote in Kentucky was split, remaining too close to call. Sanders regardless should gain more delegates than Hillary Clinton, continuing to upset her momentum to The White House.

For more information about the results of the Oregon ballot, I recommend this Oregonian summary of results.

Sanders, like Donald Trump, has only surged with new supporters by electrifying his voter base. Both candidates speak without fear for consequence. The prior is seemingly a compassionate, considerate person, whereas the latter comes off void and vacant of sympathy for anyone but himself. That is why Bernie speaking honestly and openly is not very controversial. He makes his policies obvious.

Sometimes his supporters get out of hand. They are pissed. Trump blissfully contradicts himself and carries on nonsensically, but somehow, his voters trust him. They truly get out of hand and Trump loves it.

Hillary fans (and voters) are happy, delicate ducks in this world. They are repeatedly quoted in a way that replicates dialogue put forth in the conservative media, like CNN and NPR. They frequently suggest that Bernie has great values, but “he won’t be able to realize his ideas when elected.” Or speaking like a liberal Larry the Cable Guy, they say, “Hillary will get things done.”

Sanders is not disliked among most of Clinton’s supporters. Although I have noticed that, like Trump, her fans wince at honest criticism, claiming that she’s unduly attacked, and so withdraw their support from Bernie like a defiant house cat. Meanwhile, she throws fire on his campaign. That has been her strategy as she fends off lawsuit after lawsuit through decades of public life, even today as she is being investigated for espionage. She is a powerhouse.

Voting isn’t about expressing what you’re willing to settle with.

Any Democrat who would prefer to compromise their values than simply vote for the candidate of conscience seems to have lost sight of the word within the party name: Democracy. Voting isn’t about expressing what you’re willing to settle with, it’s about fighting to win, and to liberate ourselves from any kind of non-democratic way of life.

Hillary fans thus openly dismiss their own conscience, claiming that an efficient democracy is not run for the sake of the people so much as for the system. That reasoning feels just fine about compromising the rhetoric in the primary election season, more so in the general election, and finally abandoning the principles once elected.

Maybe that is the unconscious result, but it troubles me deeply. It goes against the purpose of voting, the purpose of representative government.

Donald Trump, photo rendering by Noel Nunez
Donald Trump, photo rendering by Noel Nunez

Trump fans and voters don’t hold this problem, which has at least some irony to it. The long-time Clinton friend and Democrat-turned-Republican frontrunner has fully won the faith of his deeply conservative voters. They are unfazed by the impossibility of his ludicrous ideas becoming policy. Trump stands no chance of building a wall to block Mexicans, nor putting a moratorium on all Muslims. Trump fans ignore that most of our foreign allies have denounced him. His speeches are characterized by vengeful judgement, nothing even close to pragmatic policy discussion. His voters don’t stop to question their values let alone compromise them: They vote for Trump. At least they have that going for them.

The notion that Hillary will “get things done” has been increasingly questionable. If you ask her voters point blank, very few can say for certain what she “got done,” as Senator, as First Lady, or Secretary of State. It is merely a tactic to color Sanders as a dreamer.

…policy is like a baton race: you run your part and pass it along…

I grew up under the Clintons, I voted for Al Gore in 2000. If I observe her track record… I’m just saying I’m not impressed. Actually, I’m frightened. She has been so wrong so often and just brushed it off later that I expect her to be wrong again in The White House.

She said herself that policy is like a baton race: you run your part and pass it along but eventually it gets done. I agree with that, so why boost yourself as the candidate who gets things done when your honest view is that politics is teamwork, and not about the accomplishment of the leader? This could be an opportunity for Clinton to demonstrate the baton passing with Sanders and let the old Senator do what is best for the people.

What is most compelling about this primary election season is that I’ve never seen a more passionately engaged body politic. It is divisive and a little scary, but it is engaged. And the people have actually bucked the mass media and established political system, now on hyperdrive thanks to billions of dollars invested into the political-industrial-complex.

Trump “defied political gravity” and used negative media attention to his great advantage. It was a major upset to GOP insiders, you could see it on their faces. Sanders was considered unelectable, but his numbers have only grown. If he had started with this much support, it would be over for Clinton.

After streaks of victories against Hillary in the last two months, the media continued ignoring his campaign, and when they gave him any attention it was to say he should just drop out, because math. The tone continued after his victory Tuesday, restating that he’ll never get the nomination. I hope it doesn’t become another self-fulfilling prophesy determined by media producers and editors.

I look at the mass media and its connection to the financial establishment and I see something that has became complacently disconnected from an increasingly large disparity, between the few but evermore powerful rich, and the extraordinary number of powerless poor Americans. In complacency, these elites got thinking they understood how to corral the people.

Trump really seems to have upset the schemes of folks like the Koch Brothers, who, until recently, appeared to be the puppet masters of the GOP. Perhaps they were, but democracy reigns, and Republicans chose their own kind of dictator. It wasn’t the Koch brand of choice (Bush), it was Trump.

Right now, polls and statistical models that put Sanders running against Trump continue demonstrating more support behind him than Clinton. Open primaries, where all citizens can vote for any presidential candidate, regardless of political affiliation, favor Sanders, therefore, he is the person most people would like to see in The White House.

Right now, Sanders must win California and New Jersey dramatically to steal the delegates away from Clinton. So his odds are tough. But even so, at least he’ll remain in the Senate, boosted by a movement that nearly elected him President.

The people have broken the fence and have trampled their captors’ lawns. There is no turning back from the results whoever becomes President. The political paradigm will be shifting under their victorious feet.

Sean Ongley

By Sean Ongley

Co-Founder of THRU Media. A background in non-profit, music, and radio preceded my ambitions here. Now, I aspire to produce new media and publish independent journalism at this site and beyond.

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