Media across the world are literally transfixed by the spectacle of US elections. The Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton, Republicans vs. Democrats battle is captivating enough to distract public attention from other issues.
Democracy promotion has been a centerpiece of US foreign policy for over half a century since the days when President Woodrow Wilson crafted a new foreign policy that involved active democracy promotion. The implementation of the «beacon on the hill» concept presupposes that the United States would act as a model of excellence for others to follow is analogous to contemporary soft-power democracy promotion efforts. Lecturing on democracy is a distinctive feature of American foreign policy. Does the US really provide an influential role model for how elections should run in other countries? Is America really a shining example of real democracy? «Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all».
Domestic and international experts rate the US elections as the worst among all Western democracies. According to Electoral Integrity Project, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden are at the top of the ranking, while the US scores 62.
The report gathers assessments from over 2,000 experts to evaluate the perceived integrity of all 180 national parliamentary and presidential contests held between July 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2015, in 139 countries. The 2014 US congressional elections rank even worse, 65th out of 180 worldwide.
In May, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights issued the OSCE / ODIHR Needs Assessment Mission (NAM) Report to assess the pre-election environment and the preparations for the US election on November 8.
It notes that in America election observation is regulated by state law, which does not explicitly provide for international observers at odds with the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document.
The paper says some 4.1 million citizens that are residents of US territories are not eligible and some 600,000 citizens that are residents of the District of Columbia can vote in presidential elections but do not have full representation in Congress. Some 5.8 million prisoners and ex-prisoners continue to be disenfranchised due to prohibitive and disproportionate legal regulations or burdensome procedures for reinstating voting rights in a number of states, particularly affecting minorities.
Women are generally underrepresented in public office, holding some 20 per cent of seats in the outgoing Congress and some 25 per cent of seats in the state legislatures. Some OSCE/ODIHR NAM interlocutors noted concerns about negative stereotyping of women. They are also concerned over an increase in inflammatory speech targeting minorities.
The OSCE report also notes that there are no limits on campaign spending: no aggregate limit on how much an individual may contribute. Spending by independent groups can be exempt from disclosure requirements. Boundaries of the districts to elect representatives are redrawn in line with partisan interests which may result in uncompetitive races.
The paper adds to numerous publications devoted to irregularities of the US voting system. Indeed, there has a been a range of vulnerabilities in the conduct of American elections made public in recent years, recently, especially since the notoriously flawed ballot design in Florida in 2000.
There is a widespread suspicion of the role of money in politics. Regardless of their political affiliation, Americans agree that money has too much influence on the outcome of the vote, the wealthy have more influence on elections, and candidates who win office promote policies that help their donors.
The people think the country’s campaign finance system needs significant changes. Americans do not think donating money to political candidates is a form of free speech.
Electoral laws are unfair to smaller parties like the Green Party, favor the governing party, or restrict voter’s rights.
Gerrymandering of district boundaries to favor incumbents, waiting in line in excess of many hours, inaccurate state and local voter registers, insufficiently trained local poll workers, and the breakdown of voting machines are just a few example in the list of noticeable shortfalls. In 2014 serious problems with electronic voting were reported. The polling machines recorded a vote for the Democratic candidate when the screen was touched to cast a vote for the Republican.
In Texas the statewide voter registration system crashed, forcing many to complete provisional ballots when poll workers were unable to confirm voter eligibility.
The 2016 race is disappointing enough. There was reported confusion about new photo ID requirements and long lines.
The system of superdelegates is evidently undemocratic. For instance, this year Democratic superdelegates, who aren’t beholden to vote for a candidate according to the popular choice, could potentially sway the nomination. It caused discontent among rank and file party members who would prefer another candidate instead of Hillary Clinton. G.O.P. candidate Donald Trump called the delegate system «rigged».
Noam Chomsky, a famous American scholar and the author of Failed States, believes there is an enormous gap between public opinion and policy in the United States.
In the book What We Say Goes: Conversations on US Power in a Changing World he sets an example. In 2005, the Program on International Policy Attitudes did an extensive poll on what people thought the budget ought to be.
It turned out to be the inverse of the actual budget: where federal funding was going up, an overwhelming majority wanted it to go down. The public opposed increases in military spending overall and supplemental spending for Iraq and Afghanistan, which is going up even more now. Where the budget was going down—social expenditures, health, renewable energy, veterans’ benefits, the United Nations-right across the board, the public wanted spending to increase. US media kept this fact out of public eye.
«…when Americans with different income levels differ in their policy preferences, actual policy outcomes strongly reflect the preferences of the most affluent but bear virtually no relationship to the preferences of poor or middle-income Americans. The vast discrepancy I find in government responsiveness to citizens with different incomes stands in stark contrast to the ideal of political equality that Americans hold dear. Although perfect political equality is an unrealistic goal, representational biases of this magnitude call into question the very democratic character of our society», says Martin Gilens, the professor of politics at Princeton University and the author the author of Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America.
«Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors, and US senators and congress members», concludes former US president Jimmy Carter.
The US officials often recklessly accuse other countries of election tempering. There is a reason to believe they do it to obfuscate the real story of fraud and irregularities in their own electoral process. No doubt, America would do a better job of promoting democracy in other countries by setting an example to follow but it’s voting system is broken and needs to be fixed. Today the United States is definitely not in the position to lecture and teach others. It has a long way to go if it wants to become a real democracy.
Originally published on 2016-09-27
Author: Alex Gorka
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
Seeing through the Official Lies on Ukraine
“We can no longer find any willingness on the part of Poland to conduct serious negotiations with us. These proposals for mediation have failed because [of ] – – Polish mobilization.” (Adolph Hitler, 1939)
These are the words of Adolph Hitler just before invading Poland and then the Soviet Union. I have replaced Poland with Russia (see below) to show the analogy of US and Nazi pretexts.
“We can no longer find any willingness on the part of Russia to conduct serious negotiations with us. These proposals for mediation have failed because [of ] – – ...
The wars in the Middle East continue to rage unabated. Over the weekend a Russian war plane was struck down by an Al Qaeda affiliated group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and once again stoked fears of widening the struggle in Syria between US and Russian proxy forces. It is yet another reminder of the ongoing and seemingly endless wars being waged in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere around the globe.
Our transition into this never-ending war paradigm, fashioned out of the events of the post 9/11 era, seeks only to benefit and further cement the pre-existing alliance between the US military ...
Donald Trump, influential billionaire and a candidate for the president of United States, back in the 1999, as a guest of the famous host Larry King on CNN, spoke about that time ongoing topic of the bombing of Serbia.
Asked by Larry King, what does he think and what would he do if he was in Clinton’s place, Trump criticized the decision to bomb Serbia.
“So, I would do something different and I know it will sound ghastly to everybody. But, look at the chaos which we created in Kosovo. I think, we can say that we lost only few people. Of ...
Vilnius, a capital of Lithuania, is a host of The 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association: “Security Architecture in CEE: Present Threats and Prospects for Cooperation”. The conference place is at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, from September 25 to 26, 2015. It is organized by the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University and the Lithuanian Political Science Association. The conference sponsors are the Lithuanian Research Council, the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, and the ...
One of rock's greatest albums is Pink Floyd's 1973 Dark Side of the Moon.
This somber, surrealistic album paints a picture of what society has become, both 44 years ago and now. Such is this present American Empire, replete with our phony wars, excessive militaristic mindset and of course the drive for super wealth by greedy corporations and equally greedy individuals.
Those of us who "knew better" foresaw the economic bubble burst of 2008 years before it occurred. So many of our friends and neighbors cared not a damn about the phony wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and later on against Libya and now proxy ...
Despite claims made during NATO Summit Warsaw 2016, that “NATO remains a fundamental source of security for our people, and stability for the wider world,” it is clear that the threats and challenges NATO poses as existing to confront are in fact threats of its own, intentional creation and continued perpetuation.
From the ongoing refugee crisis triggered by NATO’s own global-spanning and ongoing military interventions, invasions, and occupations, to its continued expansion along Russia’s borders – violating every convention and “norm” that existed during the Cold War to keep it “cold,” NATO has proven that it is to the populations it poses as protector over, ...
Reading The New York Times these days is like getting a daily dose of the “Two Minutes Hate” as envisioned in George Orwell’s 1984, except applied to America’s new/old enemy Russia. Even routine international behavior, such as Russia using fictitious names for potential adversaries during a military drill, is transformed into something weird and evil.
In the snide and alarmist style that the Times now always applies to Russia, reporter Andrew Higgins wrote – referring to a fictitious war-game “enemy” – “The country does not exist, so it has neither an army nor any real citizens, though it has acquired a ...
The Western power centers use the “Republic of Kosovo” as a testing ground for working out the ways to create a quasi-state that could be defined as an abnormal criminal case of global scope. The final goal is reshaping the whole of South East Europe. (www.strategic-culture.org)
The states below the «first echelon» are subject to the formula «back to slavery and barbarity». This is a model of authoritative outside governance entailing devastation of natural environment, extraction of resources and creation of disastrous economy and ‘stillborn» state structures along with extreme pauperization of population. And this is not all. Control over vast ...
Is Israel and its infamous Wall of Separation representative of a modern evolving democratic state, based upon Biblical principles and teachings, as applied towards the original indigenous Palestinian peoples of Palestine, or is it an example of yet another ethnic-cleansing, apartheid state, possessive of the same genocidal-racist tendencies as those 19th century colonial-imperialistic powers – like the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa – who also once invaded and committed wholesale destruction of other ancient indigenous peoples entire ways of life; sweeping their survivors aside onto reservations, reserves and Bantustan-type compounds to be ultimately ignored and forgotten?
Professor Ilan Pappe, ...
An earlier abridged version of this post was published by Middle East Eye under a different title on June 5, 2016. The focus is upon the misuse of anti-Semitism by those defending Israel to deflect a rising tide of civil society activism and public criticism of Israeli policies and practices.
Zionism as Racism? Zionism and the State of Israel
8 Jun 2016 – More than 40 years ago the UN General Assembly adopted controversial resolution 3379 by a vote of 72-35 (with 32 abstentions), determining “that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” This resolution was bitterly opposed by Israel and its ...
The fundamental aim of the text below is to deal with the concept and models of global security as one of the crucial topics of global political studies. We have to keep in mind that a term and notion of security usually imply a kind of sense of protection and safety from different possible harms coming from „outside“. Therefore, it can be generally acceptable and understandable that the states want to protect their own territories by expanding great resources in making their territorial safe. Security topics are of very different kind, ranging from the causes of conflict between states to ...
I graduated from the exact same PHD Program at Harvard that produced Kissinger and Brzezinski before me. They gave me Kissinger’s old office at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. I also went through the exact same Soviet/Russian Studies Program at Harvard that produced Brzezinski before me, and passed my PHD Oral/General Examinations in Soviet Politics and Russian History under Adam Ulam and Ned Keenan, respectively. R.I.P. Obama was behind me at Harvard Law School.
Brzezinski has been Obama’s mentor and foreign policy guru since Obama’s student days at Columbia. Zbig ran Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign on foreign affairs and defense, and ...
The day commemorates lost lives of US servicemen and women sent to war for the wrong reasons – from the 18th century to today, notably America’s so-called War of Independence, its Civil War, WW I and II and all subsequent wars of choice.
America’s only enemies in the past 70 years and throughout at least most of its history were and remain ones it invents.
It could have been a model peaceful nation had it chosen a different path. Instead, its history reflects unbridled militarism, endless wars of choice, related violence and chaos, contempt for rule of law principles, along with unparalleled ...
With a critical public increasingly turning to social media to scrutinize the claims of the mainstream as well as the credibility of the assertions made by the various NGOs and government-funded human rights organisations, it’s arguably becoming more difficult for the corporate press to pass their propaganda off as legitimate news.
This is particularly the case during periods when the establishment pushes for military conflicts. One salutary lesson from the Iraq debacle, is that the public appear not to be so readily fooled. Or are they?
It’s a measure of the extent to which the mass media barely stray from their paymasters ...
A single strategic IT manipulator virtually anywhere could swing the 2016 election with just a few keystrokes perpetrated in less than a minute. (Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)The support of readers like you got this story published - and helps Truthout stay free from corporate advertising. Can you sustain our work with a tax-deductible donation today?
The way our electoral process now stands, electronic voting machines guarantee a Republican victory in 2016.
No matter what she does, Hillary Clinton - or any other Democratic nominee - cannot be elected without a fundamental change in the basic mechanics of how our votes are ...
The West has a black history in the middle east that must be recognised. In 1916, Arabs joined the allied forces but deceived.The victorious western powers divided the region as they wished without any consideration to the peoples’ will. Then completed this crime by planting the state of Israel, which since day one spread state terrorism throughout the region.
The West supported Israel and defied the international law set by the West. Our part of the world continued to live in a climate of war, militarisation and tension because of this. In this respect, the West practised and still the most ...
Thanksgiving recalls for many people a meal between European colonists and indigenous Americans that we have invested with all the symbolism we can muster. But the new arrivals who sat down to share venison with some of America’s original inhabitants relied on a raft of misconceptions that began as early as the 1500s, when Europeans produced fanciful depictions of the “New World.” In the centuries that followed, captivity narratives, novels, short stories, textbooks, newspapers, art, photography, movies and television perpetuated old stereotypes or created new ones — particularly ones that cast indigenous peoples as obstacles to, rather than actors in, ...
Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo ...
With criminal corporate monopoly media masking the US created prosecutable genocide ongoing in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing attention on Russia, fantasized as a dangerous enemy needing military confrontation, it might be a good time to review past US planned, facilitated and at times perpetrated genocidal crimes in Russia. History in context kind of puts to rest all the hype about evil Russia seeking to expand when it already is the largest country in the world spanning nine time zones with only half the population of the US to fill it.
In 1900, Russia and America ...
When an intelligence agency arranges to disseminated fake news it is called “disinformation” and it is a subset of what is referred to as covert action, basically secret operations run in a foreign country to influence opinion or to disrupt the functioning of a government or group that is considered to be hostile.
During the Cold War, disinformation operations were run by many of the leading players in both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and in the opposition Warsaw Pact. Sometimes the activity and the sponsorship were clearly visible, as when Radio Free Europe and Radio Moscow would exchange barbs about ...
Ukraine, America’s “Lebensraum”. Is Washington Preparing to Wage War on Russia?: Truce on the First Anniversary of the US-Led Coup
A Constant Reminder to a Constant War: Militarism in American Society
Donald Trump: We created chaos, we should not have attacked Serbia!
Contribution To The 20th Annual Conference Of Central European Political Science Association
The Dark Side of the Empire
NATO: Lying All the Way to Barbarossa
The NYT’s Yellow Journalism on Russia
Independent” Kosovo: Gangland Spills Savagery Worldwide
Israeli-Zionist Genocide and Racism Unmasked
Zionism, Anti-Semitism, BDS, and the United Nations
International Systems of States and Global Security Models
The Anti-Russian Warmongering Is As Bad As The Anti-Iraq Warmongering Of 2003
Memorial Day Ignores Millions of US Imperial Victims
Why the Latest Claims Against Assad are a Pack of Lies
Electronic Voting Fraud: A Real Threat To Any Democrat Running For President
Confronting the West With its Responsibilities is Essential!
Five Myths about American Indians
The Myth of NATO’s “Humanitarian Intervention” in Kosovo (in 1999)
27 Million Died in Russia because Wall Street Built Up Hitler’s Wehrmacht to Knock Out Soviet Union
70 Years of Disinformation: How the CIA Funded Opinion Magazines in Europe