Friday, December 05, 2014

Back in the US, Back in the US, Back in the USSR?

Here's the song for you to listen to.  The old Soviet Union had elections where only one candidate ran(US)/stood(GB) for a particular political post, and many Western commentators ridiculed that pseudo-democracy.  The Soviets had a choice, true.  You could either vote for the guy or not.

How are things in the United States?  This article tells us something about the effects of gerrymandering and the high cost of launching a campaign when a certain loss is in the books:

More than a third of all candidates in state legislative races this year ran unopposed in the general election, according to data collected by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
In the 46 states with legislative elections last month, 36 percent of races were uncontested. Georgia was the biggest offender, with 80 percent of races having a single candidate running for office, followed by South Carolina with 72 percent and Wyoming with 64 percent.

But it's bad news for real democracy.  Consider all this in the context of the protests about police brutality and racism, say.  The obvious next step is to organize for real change, and a very important part of that is to vote.  But if voting doesn't really matter, the movement will have great difficulty making the kinds of institutional changes that are needed.