Here’s an interesting thought. What is it that democracy actually is? No, not what is the rule of law, what is the best method of preventing the thuggocracy from taking power and all that. Nor even what is the best method of democratic representation, a representative one, a direct one? Rather, what is the point of democracy itself?
At heart, it’s going out and asking the people what they themselves want. Which is the bit The Guardian is missing here:
Sorry, Howard Schultz – America doesn’t want another billionaire president
Maybe America does and maybe it doesn’t. How are we going to find out? Well, the obvious way to do this is to go and ask each adult American individually. You, you behind the curtain, yes, you there on the street corner, even you there in that 3 bed suburban. Do you want another billionaire president or not? Ask everyone. We could even come up with a name for this. An election.
On the one day everyone turns up and casts their – let’s call it a vote – choice into a pot and we count them up. Most votes wins. Or maybe, in the system we’ve actually got, votes go to pick people who then vote, that Electoral College thing.
But in a moment characterized by looming climate disaster, gilded age levels of inequality, and a political system dominated by plutocrats and big donors, American politics don’t need yet another centrist figure (inside or outside the Democratic party) preaching moderation – still less a more socially conscious kind of billionaire offering a vague, self-interested brand of class harmony as an alternative to meaningful reform. Instead, the grip of billionaires on the American political system – be they conscientious or not – must be broken once and for all.
Maybe Americans want that and maybe they don’t. Perhaps they would like to be run by the woke young things from the worst parts of New York City. Perhaps those in Flyover Country don’t share those concerns. Even, possibly, disagree with them. How are we going to sort this out?
That being the point of democracy, we go ask them.
And do note what the argument that the choice shouldn’t be offered is. A worry that people will choose it, to the dismay of the person putting forward the argument. The argument that Schultz shouldn’t run is only the argument that some to many people will vote for him. Which is really rather undemocratic, as that’s the point of the system, that the peeps have their say.