Archives du mot-clé United-States

The elections against democracy?

Les élections contre la démocratie ?



Democracy is not limited to free elections that apply the principle of one person, one vote. But even confining itself to such a restrictive conception of democracy, it can be seen that in two old democratic countries of the West, the United States and France, the last elections have only respected the principle in a very formal way. In a few months, these elections have profoundly changed the political situation. At the domestic level and for the United States well beyond.

 In the United States, Hilary Clinton won nearly 66 million votes (48.03% of the votes cast) and Donald Trump nearly 63 (45.94%) in the presidential election. But because of the electoral system, it is Donald Trump with 304 Great voters against 227 for Hilary Clinton (56.5% against 42.2%), who was elected president of the United States! This is the fifth time the phenomenon has occurred. In 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016, the president-elect was not the candidate with the most votes.

This is due to the fact that virtually all states use the winner takes all rule, the winner takes everything, which attributes all the major voters of the state to the candidate who has received the majority, relative or absolute, of the votes. Some states are predominantly partisan, or republican or democrat. In this case, whether the dominant party receives 55% or 65% of the votes does not change anything, all the Great voters are attributed to him. On the other hand, in a swing state, the two dominant parties are substantially equal. It only takes a few thousand votes to switch from one party to another so that all the delegates of that state change sides.
This system explains the victory of Donald Trump.
The phenomenon has been known for a long time. And accepted.

The United States today is not very different from yesterday but the policy of the last white president is not exactly the same as that of the first black president! From immigration policy or obamacare inside to positions in foreign policy, on Cop 21, relations with NATO and the European Union or the Middle East …

This seems to illustrate the old slogan,élection, piège à cons, which means, conventionally, that elections are useless. In the specific case, some must regret their non-participation in the vote …

 Another way of democratically escaping from democracy is, what is called in France, the electoral punching of constituencies, in the United States gerrymandering: partisan gerrymandering, party-oriented charcutting when the goal is to accentuate the advantage of a political party, and racial gerrymandering to increase or limit the political weight of a racial minority. This term was born in 1811 when Governor Elbridge Gerry drew a riding in the shape of a salamander to favor his party.

Finally, the number of delegates allocated to each state varies widely: from 1.41 in California to 5.12 in Wyoming, per million inhabitants.

In France, the majority electoral system with two rounds in the presidential and legislative elections with legislative presidential elections entails an even greater distortion between the political forces in the population and in the national representation.

Emmanuel Macron, with 24% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election and 28% in the first round of the legislative elections for his party and 43% in the second, won the post of President of the Republic without any counter-power in the National Assembly but on the contrary a strong absolute majority (308 out of 577). Majority very close to the president because a good part has no personal implantation in his constituency. These candidates were nominated by the president himself and his close guard and were elected on his own name. This allows him to exercise a republican dictatorship, in principle for the next 5 years.
Finally, the program of Emmanuel Macron was known partially and belatedly, as well by the voters as by the persons who were candidates or even elected to the legislative ones.

This does not affect the legality of the election of Emmanuel Macron and his majority. And the dispute can not come, in any case, from those who have been in power until then. They did not change the electoral rules whenever they could, as well as Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, because they had taken advantage of it and still hoped to remain in power although they were in the minority in the country, as evidenced by the polls and the results of all by-elections during their quinquennium.
It is also good practice to challenge the legitimacy of the latter election as a result of the high proportion of abstentionists, white or null votes. But this invalidates the system and especially the previous majorities that the president. The other candidates can not rely on superior results.

Les élections contre la démocratie ?

Nevertheless, the extent of the powers available to the President makes one think of the dictator of the Roman Republic: an extraordinary magistrate held full powers for a mandate which could originally not exceed six months. This has not always been the case. Here, except accident, Emmanuel Macron is in power for 5 years. Whatever the results of the polls or of the by-elections or local elections to come.
In the United States, Donald Trump is only elected for 4 years and legislative elections are held every 2 years that can question the Republican majority in Congress.

The first decisions of the President of the Republic show his willingness to make full use of the possibilities offered by the Constitution and to increase his freedom of maneuver: the will to take measures quickly through the use of ordinances, Article 49 -3, extension of the state of emergency, integration of possibilities offered by the state of emergency into normal legislation, assignment of quaestor to the opposition of his majesty and not the opposition party (? ) the most important of the National Assembly, declaration in front of the parliament in Congress in Versailles, which is on the eve of the speech of the Prime Minister in front of the National Assembly which seems to remind the latter its second role in the conduct of government policy, attachment to the President of the Republic of the coordination cell to fight against terrorism, election-nomination of a friend, control of the speech of ministers and their relations with the press, the skilful elimination of François Bayrou, who had created minor problems at the time of the legislative elections, who wanted to be in the government and retain his right to an independent speech, not having sufficiently taken into account that the votes of his group were not necessary to the new president to have an absolute majority in the National Assembly …

Emmanuel Macron, as usual, does not waste time, ensures his bases, solidifies his power as long as he enjoys the support of a parliamentary group, for the moment charmed and held, of public opinion according to the polls before proceeding with legislative measures …

Les élections contre la démocratie ?

Similarly, it has undertaken some maneuvers to obtain an important if not preponderant place at European level. It is not clear that this is so easy. At the symbolic level, the invitation of Donald Trump, the statements on the Cop21 go in this direction. The handshake with Donald Trump whose strength has been magnified to show the place that the president wants, has probably had another interpretation, on the other side of the Rhine, after the affront of Donald Trump to Angela Merkel during their meeting. And short sentences are now beginning to be heard by the Bundesbank President or Angela Merkel, herself, at their press conference …

But President Macron needs concrete results at the economic and budgetary level to make his European positions appear as something other than Gallic sufficiency.

The seizure of power by Emmanuel Macron was quickly carried out at the electoral and institutional level. For the moment, he is on the post-electoral cloud, adored by many despite the sprawl to traditional democratic practices, he can hope to have put on his side all the assets to tackle the measures he wants to impose on French society .
It remains to be seen what will be its answers ……

Les élections contre la démocratie ?
Les élections contre la démocratie ?