What’s particularly nervy — galling, really — about the idea that the US ought to be spreading our democratic system across the globe is the fact that we don’t have anything close to democracy in this country. Nor do we have what the Founders intended to create: a republic, where the power of the state is limited by the Constitution. This is underscored every time Americans go to the polls, where they are confronted with “choices” determined by lawmakers whose chief interest in life is getting reelected with as little opposition as possible. These guardians of the polity have made it virtually impossible for so-called third parties — i.e. parties not controlled by corporate interests and foreign lobbyists — to even get on the ballot.
And if you don’t like this state of affairs, and take action, the State will smack you right in the face. Take the case of Richard Winger, the third party expert and political analyst, editor of Ballot Access News, who, together with other interested parties, sued the state of California so that all candidates would have an equal right to show their party label on the ballot. With the passage of an “open primary” law, which effectively abolished third parties, California’s third party candidates couldn’t even identify themselves on the ballot. The lawsuit failed, however, and the judge ruled that the plaintiffs had to pay the court costs of the big corporate moneybags who had sponsored the “open primary” legislation to being with. Winger and his fellow third partiers got a bill for $243,279.50.
Isn’t “democracy” wonderful?