Entry for June 03, 2007
Can the ballot box be restored to full functionality?
While it is intellectually legitimate to question the use of ballots to resolve questions of public choice, that is not my concern here. I begin for the sake of this discussion by accepting the premise that balloting is authorized, embodies and is presupposed by the U.S. Constitution. In contrast. the Declaration of Independence was never put a vote of the general public. It is a revolutionary document.
The Articles of Confederation were not put a vote of the general public, but adopted by the revolutionary legislative elites. The Constitution was bitterly contested and was voted upon by a large number of adult males after the Revolution was won and a mini-state apparatus had been installed..
The idea of a Constitution is now an embedded tradition in our social-political culture. Voting is just as embedded. What is not embedded or even widely understood among voters is what balloting is supposed to accomplish under our Constitution. I surmise that most people who regard themselves are legally eligible to vote believe that balloting is primarily making a choice between which of two parties' candidates to trust. Each voter brings a more or less coherent configuration of policy preferences to the ballot and makes a "hiring decision" on which applicant best advances their value preferences. Once the results of all the voters "hiring decisions" are announced, the voter believes they are honor bound to accept the result until the next round of "hiring decisions" rolls around.
Some voters may be aware more less acutely that the "hiring decision" place before them on the ballot has already been screened by existing employees - the parties already "hired". So the union of incumbent politicians pre-select candidates for the campaign interviews before any hiring decision can be made by the voters.
The incumbents union uses a variety of barriers to entry to pre-configure the ballot in their favor. Most voters have an idea what a gerrymander is. They may not know all the subtleties of how it gets engineered by the incumbents union. Most voters today know that access to the interview process of campaigning as a candidate with access to the ballot is more or less some kind of licensing process which restricts the voters' choices. Fewer voters have any inkling of how the number of hiring slots is manipulated by the incumbents union to keep employee turnover to a minimum. These are only a few of the ways balloting has become more of a ritual than a hiring decision. A large number of voters now know the process is rigged and that rigging has led to gross employee negligence and malfeasance and criminality. In large measure, the entrenched parties - the incumbents union - is directly responsible and are beginning to be held responsible by voters who are formally abandoning the union to declare themselves Independents. The barriers to exiting the incumbents union are low for voters. The barriers to entry into any other affiliation of non-incumbents are very high for the reasons just cited. But more people are willing to exit.
This means that pressures for entry can also build. The Union knows what's up. They have a strategy for putting such pressure into a cul-de-sac. It is a Trojan horse candidacy for President. The union simply sets up a sham alternative and drives the "exiteers "into a blind alley. It was done with Ross Perot and it is being prepared for this election with Unity '08. It's not important which wing of the Union prevails in any given election because their power in the Congress and the Judiciary guarantees that they cannot lose effective control of the government. The whole point of the Trojan horse campaign is to assure that the Union has all bases covered. Even if the Trojan candidate wins, they remain in control because they are insiders too. Surrogate Presidents are nothing new in American politics.
For this tried and proven strategy to work for the Union it must be coupled with election regulations that cripple any legitimate anti-incumbent candidates. These safeguards have been carefully legislated and adjudicated and remain in place no matter what kind of revolt occurs at the ballot box.
What is especially intriguing about this upcoming cycle is that the voters may be getting just a little ahead in knowing how to evade the snares that have been laid for them. It just gets curiouser and curiouser.
What happens if the voters start to look down the ballot from the Presidential charade at the candidates who do not have Trojan horses to shield them? Hmmmm. More about that later.
Fortunately, jurists do read election results and follow campaigns. Why wouldn't they? Their fortunes are tied to the Union also. When a fresh breeze begins to blow, their's is a judicial tendency to hunker down and see where the fallout lands. Here in Oklahoma the recent unanimous decision by the State Supreme Court to refuse to examine the Libertarian Party's ballot access case from 2004 may also indicate Union heat not to rock the boat with a gale on the horizon. It was an easy decision to reach for the Court because the plausibility of ballot access barriers is difficult to justify with any respectable legal jargon. Oklahoma's is the least justifiable in the entire nation. Well, that's the kind of dirty work that the Union occasionally requires of its members.
Events in this election cycle may given some justification to other members of the Union to exit from their oppressive working conditions. After 2008, the Courts, for example, may suddenly recover a sense of independence and wisdom in the original meaning of the words in the First Amendment. Free speech and freedom of private political association may well become legally relevant again. It all depends on the unintended consequences of the Union's efforts to cover their flanks.
After this impending fiasco, we may be able to move toward restoring the ballot box to full functionality.