While politically I do not agree with Arthur Saginian, I find his opinions usually well thought out and very ably presented. Saginian states (Jan. 6) that Socrates and Plato equated democracy with “mob rule.” Pure democracy would have us vote on every issue. We have a republic in which we have representatives who debate and vote on issues for us. But we vote, democratically, to select our representatives.
Arthur then goes off on a side trip defending Donald Trump. I’ll state my opinion up front. Donald Trump isn’t, wasn’t, and never will be, qualified to hold any elective office. He is neither morally, intellectually, or experientially, fit to run anything but a “family business.” Which is what he had done prior to running for president. Nobody, including Trump himself, believed he would win the election. Accordingly, he was not prepared for the requirements of leading a country with more than 300 million people.
His campaign was handled like an election for elementary school class president, with all the pettiness, name calling and snide remarks that go along with that age group. His penchant for hiring people he saw on TV showed his lack of seriousness. Reports of his watching TV, instead of meeting with people who knew what they were doing, were rampant. The Republican Party kept saying that what America needed was a “businessman” running the country. There are all types of businessmen. What most expected was a “Captain of Industry” who was familiar with working with a board of directors and people with views other than his. Not a New York real estate developer who was used to making all the decisions, “flying by the seat of his pants.”
There is and always has been a portion of the citizenry that was uncomfortable with the messiness of representative government. For them, Trump was an opportunity to “take our country back.” Trump saw an opportunity to make money off of both winning and losing. Every defeat led to solicitation for donations. The technical name for this is “grifting”! Every person with an axe to grind saw in Trump an opportunity to grab a little piece of power and the money that came with it. Jan 6, 2021, was a culmination of four years of “un-American” government. It didn’t matter that more than 60 court cases were lost due to lack of evidence of fraud. The followers of Trump wanted to continue on with the grift.
The U.S. is a country of laws, not men! Laws were broken and the Trump party had to end. We are blessed with and cursed with a binary form of politics. Democrats and Republicans. Each has ebbed and flowed over the years. For some reason, the Republican Party has stopped trying to win “the hearts and minds” of the citizens. Registration has favored the Dems. In a democratic form of government the side that gets the most votes gets to implement its program. The majority rules. Not so to Donald Trump. In his world, the guy with the most power rules. (An un-American concept.) After vote counts, vote recounts, audits, special recounts, many conducted by Republicans, Trump still lost. He lost by thousands of votes. Still he persisted. If he didn’t win, the election must have been fraudulent. Strangely, he did it all in plain sight, on TV.
His win in 2016 was primarily because Hillary Clinton had been in our face for too long and we were tired of her. Few people, other than those who watched “The Apprentice” or those who read the New York tabloids, knew who he was. He won the Republican primaries through sheer nastiness. He then rode the 11th congressional investigation into Benghazi into the election. The electorate was tired and took a chance on him. Compared to previous presidents, Trump was a failure, unless you were a member of the top 10% of the citizenry.
Abraham Lincoln spoke of a government “of, by, and for, the people.” The question is, and has been, exactly who we mean when we speak of “The People.” Our leaders are supposed to represent all the citizens. Since the 1960s, that, unfortunately, has devolved into representing just the voters who voted for them. Any decision or action that cements that narrow representation needs to be avoided in order to keep our form of government alive. I agree, Arthur, that the Electoral College was put in place to avoid the tyranny of the majority. It has led to a tyranny of the minority. You state that small states can be abused by the larger ones. However, states don’t vote, and counties don’t vote. People do! Every other office is occupied by the candidate who has received the majority of the votes for that office. Everyone has his say by exercising that vote. If a governor or president truly represents everyone, not just those who voted for him or her, then the government is working the way the founders laid it out. Over the last 20 years, the political term “opponent” has been transmogrified into “enemy.”
Arthur, redistricting and gerrymandering are not synonymous. Redistricting follows each census to make sure that representation across the whole political map is equal. Gerrymandering is a type of redistricting that draws lines by race, political party or any other trait the party drawing the lines wants to lock in place. Up until the last 20 years, the party that controlled the statehouse drew the lines, attempting to continue their control. California placed the drawing of the lines to a non-political commission. Other states have followed. Most of the larger states, the ones Arthur eschews, have moved over to nonpolitical commissions to draw the new districts.
I don’t think the founders included the Electoral College to get around “democracy.” However, as with other facets of the founding, I don’t think the founders envisioned a country the size and physical makeup of the country we have. “From sea to shining sea” was a concept that came later.
Saginian’s antipathy for Lois Eisenberg is understandable. She tends to get out ahead of herself at times. However, surveys have found that a sizable percentage of Republican voters are open to political violence. We are one “nutcase” away from a full-blown Civil War, complete with armed conflict. Personally, I don’t feel safe in the Santa Clarita Valley anymore. If a shooting war breaks out, I fully expect to be killed by some of my more unhinged neighbors.