As the world watches the finishing post arriving to the United States Presidential Election with the potential election of a bombastic, conspiratorial buffoon and a jailable female, both spending millions, you have to wonder is this the best that capitalist democracy can produce.
It begs the questions.
If elections are central to democracy, then how should a society organize the institutions that govern the processes by which government leaders are selected?
Should there be a parliament or a president and a legislature?
Should legislative seats be allocated in proportion to the popular vote, or should the winner in each district take all?
Should there be two, or three or a dozen political parties?
Should the parties be strong or weak, centralized or decentralized, ideologically unified or diverse?
What is the meaning of democracy?
Does democratic choice as expressed through popular elections work?
Such Questions or debates are heated because the political stakes could not be higher: institutional arrangements influence the distribution of power; shape the ways that politicians pursue their goals; and constrain the ability of citizens to control their government.
Only through comparative analysis can the relative performance of different democratic arrangements be established.
We have all witness with Barack Obama term how presidential and legislative terms can be politically crippling.
When presidents do not enjoy majority party support in the legislature the potential exists for deadlock and paralysis. Chronic impasse invites regime instability and breakdown which we are currently witnessing with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. ( Two unworthy candidates that are buying votes. Two popularly elected, independent institutions that create problems for coalition building and executive legislative cooperation.)
Parliamentary democracy, is more apt to succeed, or so its advocates claim, because it escapes the problems associated with temporal rigidity and majoritarianism, and because the vote of confidence can resolve interbranch conflicts.
The problem with either system is the both entail assumptions about voters: about the information that they possess, the beliefs they hold, and the considerations they bring to bear on the electoral choices they make.
Such assumptions, it is important to point out, are rarely tested.
Coalition governments (common in parliamentary regimes) obscure accountability and reduce the ability of the electorate to assign blame.
For example, proportional representation produces more parties and less disproportionately in the conversion of votes to seats than do plurality and majority systems.
Accountability is also undermined in the presidential systems because voters give too much weight to the personal attributes of presidential candidates and too little weight to issues.
Laws determine how citizens cast votes, how votes are aggregated, and how aggregated votes are converted into positions of governmental authority.
Electoral laws have profound political effects.
We do not possess, the knowledge of the ways in which electoral laws ultimately affect voters and their representation in government.
What are the impact of these laws on individual citizens: on the ways they make choices and on the relationship they establish with their representatives.
They are questions that as yet have no firm answers.
The international economy is undergoing profound changes. With the lowering of barriers to international trade and the globalization of the world economy has come the birth of new economic sectors and the death of others. Some citizens, in some countries, in some economic sectors are thriving; others are failing.
So: Has there been a shift in the expectations and demands that citizens place on government?
How have these economic changes affected the nature of political cleavages and party coalitions as manifested in opinion, vote choice, party allegiance, and alliances among social groups and economic sectors?
How do differing levels and duration of unemployment influence the relationship between economics and voting?
Does this relationship vary according to differences in economic structure?
Is there a relationship between the long-term strength of a nation’s economy and attitudes towards democracy?
We know little about how differences in political and economic systems impact on the nature of the relationship between economics and politics.
Population growth, industrialization, and the concentration of people into urban centers are placing steep demands on the world’s natural resources. Global environmental changes of profound proportions are taking place. Some scientists argue that these changes to the global environment threaten the very inhabitability of the earth. No nation will be able to escape coping with these environmental issues over the next decade.
Over the last three decades, however, electoral alignments have weakened, party strength has grown increasingly volatile, and party systems have become increasingly fragmented. As a consequence of these trends, social cleavages no longer explain vote choice the way they once did.
We need to measure vote choice in national elections as well as the nature and level of citizen participation in electoral politics.
We must keep in mind that understanding political participation requires an appreciation of the ways that political parties and other organizations mobilize citizens both directly and through social networks.
We need a better understanding of the nature of the relationship between citizens and political parties.
The way you cast your vote can depend on the type of election. Brexit for example.
The problem with actually implementing a new system, though, is two-fold.
First, the current beneficiaries will do just about anything to preserve their positions, whilst others only see the drawbacks with the system every four years and then forget about them until the next election season rolls around.
But more importantly, any fixes now with Artificial Intelligence programs all have their own downsides.
Electoral systems matter. As a series of rules or procedures for determining who gets to hold office—when, for how long, and under what conditions—an electoral system has an important effect on how politics is practiced and how a country functions.
Parties are adept at changing strategy in response to the rules of the game. There is no perfect electoral system. Electoral systems are consciously designed to reduce the number of parties in a parliament or to provide a boost in seats for the largest party in an election.
It’s too easy to hide code in large software packages. The machines initially displayed an ‘x’ next to his or her name but then, after a few seconds, the ‘x’ disappeared or there is no voter verifiability.
Perhaps the PR electoral system is the best: It encourage the main parties to propose policies with broad public appeal rather than to target small groups of voters.
Voting should be a non-partisan issue.
In the eyes of the whites, we are bobbejaans (baboons).
But one thing is clear: We could do a lot better. Open your eyes.
Is there nothing we can do? or is surveillance capitalism in the form of AI the only way to go.