The showbiz politics of direct presidential elections
By Serge Kreutz
Unfortunately, the US form of miserable democracy has become the standard wherever there is democratization.
The hallmark of US democracy is the direct election of the chief of government, who then concentrates a huge power in his hands for 4 years.
In this form of democracy, elections typically degenerate into a popularity contest. No wonder that show biz personalities have an edge.
Furthermore, the system favors populists over responsibility-driven characters.
It’s a miserable system because it generally produces worse results than an indirect election would.
Indirect would mean: people elect their representatives, and these representatives again elect representatives who elect the chief of government.
Electorates, on average, are not very knowledgeable of the issues at stake, and actually, electorates in general are not intelligent. Typically, a large number of stupid people elect candidates who can best relate to stupid people.
This is the case more so in the Third World than in the Old World and the New World, as in the Third World, electorates are often composed of a large number of uneducated, and sometimes illiterate people. In direct elections, they vote along the lines they best understand. And these are ethnic and religious. Or they vote for candidates who can best address their envy and hate. It is much easier to unite a large number of people against a perceived common enemy, rather than behind a constructive agenda.
The result is ethnic and religious fragmentation, and policies that are not in the genuine interest of the people.
An indirect, representative system can avoid many of the pitfalls of the direct system. When villages or neighborhoods elect representatives among their midst, these are likely people of a good education with a track record of consensus building. If these representatives of neighborhoods and villages then elect a representative among themselves, one again get a group of representatives who have an even better track record of consensus building. And they could be the ones who elect a country’s president.