How do elections undermine democracy.
To many, elections are democracy. Here we explore some ways in which elections are undemocratic!
Elected bodies are not representative. Most members of congress are old, white men and over 50% are millionaires. Election victory is determined by charisma and money. This is not very democratic.
Elections require money and lots of it. The link between money and politics screams possible corruption, which undermines confidence in our system. Politicians spend huge amounts of time raising money for re-election, rather than working on issues.
Elections are made–up competitions. The game of elections creates fake winners and losers. In reality, win-win situations exist but are not explored.
Voting silences important minority points of view. “Us versus them” thinking has led to ill will throughout our country, at all levels.
Elected politicians must listen to party leaders. Candidates gain party support during campaigns, and avoid being “primaried”, by “toeing the party line”. Shouldn’t they be listening to constituents instead?
Elected politicians are partisan. Working with the opposition can be seen as betrayal of your party. Democracy requires not just finding common ground but also a willingness to negotiate and compromise.
Elections favor well connected individuals. The government is perceived as “the other”, especially amongst the least well connected. In America, we are supposed to be the government and the government is supposed to be us… you and me!
Elections force candidates toward simplistic messaging. Voters have limited time and information with which to think about complex issues. It is quicker to appeal to our emotions rather than our heads. Complex issues are shrunk down to slogans that lack nuance and detail.
In a nutshell, our democracy is not working and we have lost trust and confidence in our
government mostly BECAUSE of elections.