After the first in class discussion about which countries we think are democratic, I began to question if the USA truly was a democracy. Here are my thoughts on the topic.
Despite popular belief, the United States of America is not a democracy. In a true democracy, the citizens have the right to vote on legislation on all levels, and they are not to be excluded from any form of selection or legislation. Recent events has showed our nation that it is not the true will of the people that will dictate how we are governed. Aspects of the government are semi-democratic, such as state and district level positions, but the executive branch is out of our control.
This past election, the American people did not receive the President the majority voted for. Candidate Hillary Clinton managed to win 65,844,610 votes, where was candidate Donald Trump won the presidency with only 62,979,636 votes. The fact that Clinton won the popular vote and did not win the presidency is a clear indication that the United States of America is NOT a democracy. Instead of using the votes of the people to determine our president, 538 electors gather to vote on who actually will become president. This is the Electoral College. Each state has a number of electoral votes, and typically which ever president wins the popular vote of the state, they will also win the electoral votes. This puts the emphasis on candidates to focus on winning states with high electoral votes. This system was initially put in place as a safety net from our founding fathers to prevent as Alexander Hamilton put it, ““ensures that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”. The Electoral college was designed to prevent the White house from falling in the wrong hands. I could go into several reasons why Donald Trump is not qualified to hold the highest position of office in the USA, but that would be a different topic entirely. The main point is, the electoral college and its existence in American politics is exactly why America wasn’t and isn’t a democracy. The founders merely allowed the people to believe that their voice actually mattered. The ironic thing about the electoral college in this past election, is that it did what it was told to do, instead of what it was designed to do. Also, unlike the representatives of the House and Senate, American citizens are not the people who vote on these electors. The every day man and woman has no say on who these electors are. The Electoral College is a huge reason why America isn’t a Democracy.
Another example of America’s nonexistence of democracy is the selection of the presidential cabinet members. The American people have slight control over the electoral congress, however they have absolutely no voice in the selection of the cabinet members, one example being the Secretary of Education. These members are selected by the president, and then are confirmed by the senate. These cabinet members are in charge of huge departments of the United States, and can make or break a lot of America’s infrastructure. With where the power currently lies, people with the inability to govern are being selected to be candidates for these huge positions. This year, these cabinet members are gaining influence and control through their massive corporations, and are more than likely using their business to influence the president. When in these positions, they will have a large grip on American politics, taking it further from the hands of the people. The fact major corporations can take control of the National Government with ease drives America further and further away from any form of democracy.
These are only two examples of why the United States of America is not a democracy, contrary to popular belief. I am open to people’s opinions on the matter and proposals of what America’s true system of government is.