Much of America can’t politically walk and chew gum at the same time. It otherwise multi-tasks to beat the band but has severe difficulty staying focused on anything at all. Constant stimulus constantly gets in the way of any appreciable connect-the-dots learning curve. If you don’t like something just change the channel. Continuing to take two steps forward and one step backwards is better than nothing, but not if the direction is circular. 

Our free-wheeling economics is always a crapshoot, especially for those punching a clock. Ditto our “World’s best healthcare.” Education’s runaway cost is an increasingly poor investment while the dumbing down of America has never been more steadfast. 24-7 e-socialization’s addiction fosters alienation rather than harmony. Crisis mode has become the status quo. America’s so vehemently disunited that each half finds the other side beyond any reconciliation, or even worthy of civility. 

Pretty grim stuff. What part of any of that makes anybody, whatever their politics, proud in being an American? There’s no greatness in being profoundly divided and wholly disinterested in correcting that failure of purpose. We all need to stand in the corner and then go back to our desks and relearn how our government’s supposed to function. Starting over from scratch is delusionally draconian and exceptionally escapist, yet every aspect of our governance has nevertheless suddenly fallen to criticism that the system isn’t just broken but fatally flawed from the get-go. Representative democracy is a sham of what should be an inviolate perfection of direct “one man, one vote” rule. 

Aany criticism of capitalism is attacked as anti-American so as to perpetuate a totally undemocratic economic system unjustly undermining a majority’s pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Money’s what matters in politics, above all else. Even if the Supreme Court refutes that reality. Big Money has it all over any Russian meddling in our elections. Information manipulation is the real enemy and the Internet’s prime economic driver. Big Brother was supposed to come about through totalitarian governance, not by way of our own compliance to commercial domination. 

All that could be resolved if voters became fully informed. That would require far more involved participation. Far easier to just fundamentally alter the system rather than actually educating an electorate capable of discerning the substantive differences between candidates and parties, between fake news and truth. Caucuses change to primaries. Voting becomes ranked-choice. All hesitant bets are covered and a contrived consensus is assured. Goodbye Electoral College. Likewise gerrymandering. Urban and rural become the only districts. Forget actually going into a voting booth. Balloting by cellphone will assure far greater turnouts. Just download the requisite app. 

The motivation behind these proposed remedies is to improve our election process and strengthen our democracy. It’s also a blatant attempt at gaming the results towards a Blue end zone. Inadvertently, or not, it continues to promote divisiveness rather than comity. Basically, it’s a Hail Mary end run to defeat the other half of the electorate by undermining faith in a system that was hardly perfect but which had served pretty well until one party’s horrendous humiliation and continued refusal to accept that defeat. It’s particularly tough being ultimately beat by someone who has never even played the game before. 

Better, bluer gamesmanship might indeed be the answer. “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” The question is how truly do or die extreme is that one-sided despair? Once upon a time, simply picking up one’s game without having to radically change long held traditional rules was the accepted democratic way of successfully achieving a political reversal functionally honored by both sides. 

Gary Anderson lives in Bath. 

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