Monday, May 01, 2017

Corruption of the electoral process enhances its disrespect

Democratic legitimacy threatened by Trump, GOP

by Ron Yezzi
Mankato Free Press

Ron Yezzi, emeritus professor of philosophy at Minnesota State University Mankato, taught courses in social and political philosophy.

What happens when the powers of democracy remain, but its authority is dangerously diminishing? Answer: We’re finding out.

The electoral process retains its power to establish political officeholders. But it’s increasingly difficult to respect its authority when the process is corrupted by massive injections of money from special interest groups, by gerrymandering, by voter suppression, by an outdated electoral college system, by a two-senators/state system that in effect disenfranchises tens of millions of voters in more populous states, by fake news and other manipulative media techniques, by degrading of truth by opportunistic politicians, and even intervention by Russia.

The U.S. Supreme Court retains power as final arbiter of constitutional law. But how can we respect its authority as an independent branch of government when judicial decisions become manufactured products of a political party’s power to approve only justices who serve their interests? The addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch through a simple majority vote in the Senate completes politicalization of the court. It has become naïve to view court rulings as wise decisions of an independent judiciary.

The U.S. House and Senate retain their power to set national laws. But polarized gridlock among political parties, with its opportunistic obstructionism and protection of special interests, leads to disrespect for its authority. And the corruption of the electoral process just enhances the disrespect.

(Continued here.)


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