In November, Hillary Clinton won the US presidential election, beating Donald Trump by nearly 3 million votes. But Trump is in the White House and his administration makes decisions on behalf of the American people and the most powerful economy and military in the world. The question that must be asked, therefore, is how is a supposed ‘democracy’ capable of allowing this to happen?
The flaws in American so-called ‘democracy’ are glaringly obvious, not to mention stupidly easy to fix. The electoral college was designed for a nation that existed over 200 years ago, when it took seven weeks to cross the Atlantic. Whatever great reasons the founders had to set in the constitution this system, the idea that it is still relevant today is laughable. It is often forgotten that in the early days of the presidential elections, states legislatures chose electors themselves, not to mention the fact that only white, male, owners of property could vote at all. What passed for democracy in the 18th century is very different to what we expect today.
Unfortunately, this is something all too common with Americans. The metric system, sensible gun laws and modern democracy are all things they seem to be too dogmatic to adopt. Maybe if they were more open to change, they wouldn’t be run by a billionaire orange moron. But the big question is: are we any better?
The answer is, unfortunately: we’re not.
We have a proud, but somewhat reserved history of quiet, subtle democratic reforms that have left us with what we have today. The Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights are just two of hundreds of documents and agreements that set out the way our country is run. But this lack of a clear plan or system has led us to our current broken system. In the old days, we elected representatives of our local constituency that would go to London and do very little, as the executive branch of the government was effectively the ruling monarch.
Nowadays, very few people vote for a party because they like the local candidate. It is an unavoidable fact that people vote for a party in an election because they look at the leaders and the national figures that will form the cabinet.
As a result, the House of Commons can be compared somewhat to the US electoral college: they vote for the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister runs the country. So, you can see that our system is not dissimilar to the widely criticised American system. It’s crazy that a party that got less than 37% of the vote in 2015, has full reign over the House of Commons, and a majority government.
In short: if we want a better nation to leave to our children, then we need to fix this broken system. There are already campaigns underway by the Electoral Reform Society and others to argue for a Proportional Representation system, but there are flaws in this. However, there are many alternatives that are much more democratic than what we already have; but the only way it can realistically be changed is if normal people start writing to their MPs and being vocal about it.
If you have a minute today, fire off a quick email to your local MP, and see what they say in reply. It’s not going to be easy, but if enough people can see how stupid our system really is, then it’s only a matter of time before a proper discussion about it begins.