The ‘world’s greatest democracy’ is not quite


Politicians in the US are proud of boasting that it is the world’s greatest democracy. That is part of the routine pandering that the public has come to expect, along with being the sole possessor of many civic and even personal virtues. But according to this year’s Electoral Integrity Project report, when it comes to electoral integrity, a measure of whether “polling day ends with disputes about ballot-box fraud, corruption, and flawed registers”, surely one of the most basic elements of a democracy, the US ranks a lowly 45th among the 127 nations it surveyed in 2014.

Yet contests in the United States scored the worst performance among any long-established democracy. Hence the 2012 Presidential elections was ranked 42nd worldwide, while the 2014 mid-term Congressional races was ranked 45th, similar to Colombia and Bulgaria. One reason is that experts expressed growing concern over US electoral laws and processes of voter registration, both areas of heated partisan debate. [Emphasis in original]

You can see the table of the 127 nations beginning on page 8 of the report that gives the measures used in arriving at an overall score.

(Via Brad blog.)

Comments

  1. doublereed says

    Well yea, of course. We’re the world’s greatest democracy. The last thing we need to do consider how to make our elections better.

    Besides, they’re fixed already.

  2. doublereed says

    I just think we need to be more specific with our statement, really. We have “The world’s greatest democracy that money can buy.”

  3. Storms says

    <snark> Duh! Merikans are the greatest ’cause we got the biggest stick. Gots nothin ta do with votin. </snark>

  4. says

    The US is not a democracy. The popular vote has been effectively nullified. For most of its history half or more of the population had no vote. It is a carefully constructed sham-ocracy that perpetuates the status quo.

    When you read statistics about clear majorities of the population favoring cuts in defense spending, but that topic never even makes it to the agenda, it ought to be clear that the US is not a democracy at all; it’s a managed political system that’s got some revolving doors for the elite which China and Russia haven’t got (though in both, as in the US, money counts for more than the popular vote) Election buying is even a popular topic of open discussion in the US media, but always couched in propagandistic terms favoring the elites (“oooo! candidate so-and-so raised so many millions of dollars! oo! and look now the billionaire is mayor of NYC, no he didn’t buy an election nossirree!”)

    Democracy would be nice.

  5. says

    The meaningful measure of a democracy – if there is such a thing – would be the degree to which public policy matches the will of the electorate (where that will is legal under the constitution) and nothing else. When you realize that most Americans want things like taxes raised on the wealthy, deconstruction of military bases all over the world, reduction in defense spending, increased spending on education, and – yes – government involvement in medical care … yet those are things that absolutely cannot and will not happen – there’s your answer.

    Sham-ocracy.

  6. doublereed says

    Election buying is even a popular topic of open discussion in the US media, but always couched in propagandistic terms favoring the elites (“oooo! candidate so-and-so raised so many millions of dollars! oo! and look now the billionaire is mayor of NYC, no he didn’t buy an election nossirree!”)

    This is one of the most annoying things about the media. Even though Money in Politics is a hugely popular topic among both liberals and conservatives, the media never brings it up. Every now and then they might make some point that both Democrats and Republicans take money from donors so whatever. Not whatever. They don’t even bother to talk about in more systemic ways.

    The most people learned about Super-PACs was when Stephen Colbert made his own. That’s nothing but absolutely shameful of the media. Literally refusing to discuss the most serious aspect of politics.

  7. lorn says

    No, it is not a democracy. The founders were far too aware and frightened by what a monarchy was, and what a democracy could end up as. It is a constitutional democratic republic. Both constitutional and republic moderating the excesses and progress possible with a pure democracy.

    Most of what is wrong with this system presently, gerrymandering, low voter turnout, voter exclusion, limited time to vote, inability to register the same day as you vote, ID requirements, etcetera are all put in place or manufactured by design by the GOP.

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