By Ned Hayes
(Originally published November 24th, 2011
Now before you go off making any assumptions or decrying me as a lunatic, I beg your indulgence. Let’s put aside the massive unpopularity of Governor Walker and his ideas, and let’s just talk about the numbers. According to the local election officials appointed by Governor Walker in Wisconsin, just nine state senate district elections cost the Wisconsin taxpayers $2.1 million. A statewide election, then, would cost $7.7 million. If that number is translated to the national level, we’re looking at $385 million. Now I know Wisconsin is hardly average, both in terms of election cost and state funds, but that number is likely not that far off. In 2000, the presidential election cost US taxpayers $218.5 million, and since then only more money has been getting poured into campaigns, making them costlier. That figure does not include the Congressional and State elections of that year. Even going with the conservative estimate, though, of just $218.5 million per presidential election, over ten years, that saves the United States over $655.5 million. If you want to add $7.7 million per state, which a special election for Governor Walker will cost Wisconsin according to Kleefisch, then that’s $603.5 million per presidential election year, $385 for off-years, coming to a total of $25.8 billion over ten years.
$25.8 billion isn’t much compared to the $15 trillion the United States owes in debt, but consider the other primary effect abolishing elections would have; it would greatly clean up our political system. Many leaders in the Republican Party support abolishing at least the 17th amendment, which foolishly allows citizens to actually vote for their representatives in the Senate. What poppycock! Ron Paul and Rick Perry, both candidates for President in 2012, are two such leaders that agree; Americans should not be allowed to vote for their Senators. Perry says that the 17th amendment was only ratified in “a fit of populist rage” anyway. As former Senator Miller (D-GA) said when he introduced an amendment to repeal the 17th, “it gives too much power to Washington special interest.”
Think about it; how does money corrupt elections? Money funds dishonest advertisements and propaganda that easily misleads the average, gullible, stupid American voter. The truth is, far too many Americans are too stupid to know what’s good for them anyway. Admit it; you think so too. Money only further complicates the election process quite unnecessarily, putting the entire nation at risk by letting more and more corrupt politicians into office, and thus, all of society suffers. This is the exact reason why the founding fathers didn’t let citizens vote for Senators – people weren’t educated enough to make the choices themselves.
Worse yet, society suffers so only because a minority of people want to have the right to vote. Keep in mind how poor electoral turnout is in the United States anyway, and how few of them are actually informed and educated. Isn’t it selfish, and even petty, of these people to demand the chance to vote, while simultaneously exposing all of America to such danger?
At least there are Republicans onto as much, but I say we should go further than simply ending Senatorial elections. Congressmen are just as susceptible to corruption as Senators, so we should not have elections for them on the exact same precedent. Originally, Senators were appointed by state governments. Since people still get to vote for their state representatives, it would still be a democracy, and a largely more manageable one given that there are more state Congressional districts than federal Congressional districts, making the democracy more direct? Perhaps the system could be made even more direct though; make state representatives appointed by local city governments, which in some cases can literally be direct democracies. Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots agrees that as much power of government as possible needs to be returned to the lowest level of government; local.
But why stop there? Local city governments appoint state Congressmen and Senators, who are then responsible for appointing their federal counterparts. Why not move on to the executive branch? Gubernatorial and Presidential elections are just as susceptible to the corruption of money as Congressional ones. Making them appointed positions by local governments will equally clean up their officers by ending the ethics “race to the bottom” we currently see with politicians growing ever more unethical in attempts to win approval from corporations and the super wealthy. On top of that, it will save American taxpayers billions of dollars, which in and of itself, according to Lt. Governor Kleefisch and her fellow Republicans, is reason enough to not have elections.
Elections corrupt and pervert democracy. Putting this Swift end to them is the only way to fix our broken government.
((Note from Jay Hansen: Seriously, just give it a couple of years this will be the Republicans’ primary argument… Can you say War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength?))