THE DEMOCRACY ICEBERG
Some threats to our democratic process are visible, but many more are hidden below the surface.
- In 2014, a Princeton study determined that the United States is no longer a democratic republic, or even aspiring to be, but is in fact already an oligarchy.
What the Princeton researchers did not discuss is how the processes of democracy in American have been systematically undermined, thwarting our ability to make effective change through the electoral system.
Using an iceberg analogy, we can perceive clear threats above the surface, and even bigger dangers lurking below.
When we don't recognize all these threats, democracy hits the iceberg.
- Extremists pass laws and purge voter rolls to suppress participation at the polls.
- Incumbents gerrymander to dilute citizen power.
- Corrupt or partisan administrators break election laws with impunity.
- Untraceable money controls political campaigns and representatives.
- Rigged electronic voting machines steal elections in secret.
- Hacked voting systems allow rogue actors to manipulate our elections.
Bad process erodes trust, lowers voter turn-out, disenfranchises legal voters and - in a downward spiral - democracy inevitably sinks.
When we repair our democratic system, government action may begin to align more accurately with the will of the people, and our ship will find its course again.