The Undemocratic American Democracy

April 6, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Sami Jamil Jadallah

It is so ironic that we, the US spend over $6 billion on national elections and over $700 annually promoting “democracy” overseas when in fact we should be learning democracy from other countries, especially West Europe.

There is no need to read the March 27, Ralph Nader Op-Ed in the Outlook section of the Washington Post to know that American politics and democracy, like its economy and financial institutions, are all “rigged” by a powerful political and financial mafia, with too much stake in the political and economic system to try and allow a “political, social and economic revolution” to take place.

While everyone here in the US and overseas can now see American (Republican) politics for what it is, corrupted by big money, decadent in content, allowing only the worst of candidates to rise to the national level through demagoguery, racism, lies and fraud. Both parties, Democrats and Republicans, have powerful self-serving political leadership that undermines the entire political process.

The fact that Republican candidates can only talk about and debate their “wives”, debate whether they had affairs or not, debate who can round up Muslims faster than the other and place such communities under ‘24/7 surveillance”, debate whether Mexico should pay for a US constructed “Berlin Wall” along the US-Mexican border; major substantive issues are almost absent in any and all of the Republican debates.

On the Democratic side, while much more civil and substantive, we can see how the Democratic Party Establishment is doing its best to ‘rig’ the nomination in favor of Hillary Clinton. Anyone watching the daily CNN, Fox or MSNBC shows, can see how sad and disgusting American politics is all about.

Nationwide primary elections that take place state wide are difficult to comprehend let alone understand, from “caucuses” to direct elections leading to the winner takes all, “delegates’ to “superdelegates” to allocations of delegates depending on the ratio of win. Archaic state rules and regulations leave too much to be desired.

While the Republican Party have direct elections with no “superdelegates”, the Democratic Party with its powerful elites try to maintain a choking hold on the electorate with its “superdelegates” with elected and party officials having an overwhelming power and value over “pledged delegates”, those chosen by the people thus stacking the deck for its favorite candidate Hillary Clinton.

The best definition of Superdelegate I could find is in Wikipedia:

A “superdelegate is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention who is seated automatically and chosen for whom they want to vote. They include distinguished party leaders and elected officials, including all Democratic members of the House and Senate, and sitting Democratic governors,” thus a “superdelegate” could rig the nomination.

Though they are free to vote for whom they want, these “Superdelegates” are not voted in by the voters in the primaries, they are already “chosen” by the Democratic Party.

As such Bernie Sanders is learning the lessons of Ralph Nader and has no choice but to “Crash the Party” and force his way in knowing well that the Democratic Party leadership is doing all it can to secure the nomination of Hillary Clinton through its “superdelegates.”

What we learned from Ralph Nader’s experience is that there is no way in hell for a third party to ever succeed in the US and that the two major parties have a monopoly over American politics. Ralph Nader’s candidacy as a third party candidate saw so many obstacles, so many law suits, so much judicial and legislative interference that his bank accounts were frozen for over 7 years. Anyone choosing to run for public office as a third party candidate must watch out. The two guerillas on the block will take you to the cleaners and will make sure the entire system is “rigged” against you.

Promoting democracy internationally has been the cornerstone of American foreign policy since Wilson. However, promoting democracy overseas is never consistent and depends on who the “enemy” is, as we have seen in Eastern Europe during the Soviet era, as well as Latin America, in the 50s, 60s, 70s and even the 1980s, when we supported and funded military coups, dictatorships and even funded and managed civil wars all over Central America, not to mention our shameful role in the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, which gave us Khomeini Revolution in 1979.

According to the National Endowment for Peace, the US contributed funding to over 1000 NGOs for the purpose of promoting democracy. The Center for American Progress and the Center for Strategic and International Studies deems US support for democracy and reforms as a “central pillar to our national security strategy.” During his State of the Union Address in 1995, President Clinton again emphasized promoting democracy as a pillar of our national security stating “ultimately, the best strategy to ensure our security is to build a durable peace to support the advance of democracy elsewhere.” George Bush did just that waging wars on Afghanistan and occupying Iraq as part of his idea for advancing peace; security and democracy around the world in post 9/11, and we can see the results in Iraq and Syria among other places.

However, our biggest failings in America are the unlimited funding made available during national and local elections. Citzens United opened the doors for the massive involvement of rich individuals and corporations to buy their way into elections with the last national election costing over $6 billion.

Not only money, but time is a big issue also. Presidential elections begin as soon as the election is over with a formal announcement two years before, thus the entire nation is engulfed with election fever sending the nation to the emergency room.

In contrast, European elections are short, to the point with little money involved. Germany, France and English national elections are held within a few weeks, not more than 3 months, with financial contributions so strictly controlled it would give both Democrats and Republicans heart attacks.

Political advertising is so limited that voters in Europe are spared the lies, frauds, half truths, the misleading 30 seconds advertisement, with France limiting each party to a 90-second national political ad. That is only 90 seconds per party. Our neighbor to the North, Canada, had its last elections lasting only 11 weeks, which in itself was deemed too long. Brazil, like the US elections, is too expensive and of course too corrupt. Imagine a national election costing a few hundred million. We may have a better message.

Any country that relies on big money, big Super Pacs, Superdelegates, and big contributions from big-time billionaires and oligarchs is not democratic, the Electoral College being another issue altogether.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami is a Palestinian-American immigrated to the US while in high school. He was drafted in the US Army during Vietnam War earning the leadership award from the US Sixth Army Non-Commission Officer Academy.

After honorable discharge, Sami enrolled at Indiana University where he was active in student politics, elected class president, student president and chairman of the Indiana Student Association representing students from all colleges and universities in the State of Indiana.

Sami earned his Bachelor Degree (economics and politics), Master of Public and Environmental Affairs and Doctor of Jurisprudence. After a 2 years stint with a major Wall Street law firm Sami took on the job as general counsel of a major international construction company in Saudi Arabia. As an international legal and business consultant, Sami served as owner representative on major projects such as hotels, conservation foundation, defense, and technology.

In the area of public service, Sami was the founding member of the United Palestinian Appeal, a well known not for profit organization serving the needs of Palestinians refugees with over $100 millions in projects and donations serving 16 years as a trustee.

Sami as founding member and executive director of the New Arab Foundation, a US based Not for Profit Tax Exemp, a think tank (with a mission) and management consulting organization, and is working now on the launching of the Arab Peace Crops inspired by President John F Kennedy’s American Peace Corps.

Sami lives in Fairfax, VA and is married to Dr. Alma Abdul-Hadi Jadallah an international expert in mediations and conflict resolution, they have three children all living and working in Washington DC.

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