My "How much do you really love democracy?" poll: Take two

Many months ago I posted the following poll in IMHO. It yielded many provocative replies. (It’s in the archives if you want to look it over; I know that reviving old threads is discouraged, so I started this one anew.) Now that we are mere days away from the presidential election, I thought I’d post the same question again. Have at it, Dopers.

**Do you love democracy? More than you love/hate a candidate? Take my poll. **

There is a lot of rabid partisanship in the American electorate these days which has got me thinking about our so-called love of democracy. When my candidate loses I step back and take genuine solace in the fact that, hey, the majority won – which (presuming no fraud or mistakes) is the way it’s supposed to work. It’s actually a good thing my guy/gal lost because the majority of voters do not endorse him. But how many people really feel this way? So, let’s take a poll…

Let’s say the day before an election (any election) an all-powerful being appears to you with a magic ballot box and says, “If you vote with this ballot box right now there will be no election tomorrow and all your candidates will simply assume office as if they had won the normal way. Because I have the power of mind-control I will make everyone think that nothing is unusual with this process. There will be no protests or rioting; everyone will simply accept the results. Furthermore no one will know how the new-term officeholders were chosen, so your life will be unaffected in every way – no one will blame you or sue you or accuse you of subverting the will of the people, nor will they thank you. But, mind you, other people’s true opinions about the various candidates will not be changed by your actions; they will just not be given an opportunity to express those opinions by voting. You can, of course, tell me to go away right now and let tomorrow’s election proceed as usual with all its normal uncertainties, imperfections and perhaps even illegalities. I promise that I will not offer this deal to anyone else. By the way, here are the latest election forecasts from CNN if that will help you decide.”

So, do you cast your votes in the magic ballot box or let the election proceed? Be honest, people! Brief explanations to support your actions are welcome. And can we try to keep this out of Great Debates? I’m not really interested in the biiiig social implications here; I want to know how people would deal with this choice on a very personal level.

Me, I’d let the election proceed.

The only part that makes it even a teensy bit attractive to me is avoiding illegalities and fraud.

But overall, heck no to your magic box. I don’t want that kind of responsibility. The moment my guys screwed up, as inevitably they would (being human and all), I’d feel sooooo guilty. At least with the democratic process, the blame is spread wide.


Despite its flaws, I believe that our system works. I have some very strong opinions about who should and should not be running the country, but we’ve survived poor leadership in the past and we will survive it again. It is, after all, temporary.

Besides, lobbyists run the congress anyway.

Of course I’d let the election proceed normally. I’ve already chosen who I’m going to vote for, but I’m very aware that they’re not perfect. Whoever the President is, he’ll do some good things while in office and make some mistakes. Same goes for all the other elected officials. And I think if we’ve learned anything this election season, it’s to not pay attention to election polls.

Although I would be tempted to ask the ballot box to add some well-qualified women and minorities to the ballot, then let the people vote. I’d feel more assured of our egalitarian ideals if they were reflected a bit more in who takes office in the country.

Honestly? In this election, yes. I dislike Bush that much and am honestly a little scared of what might happen with him in office for another four years. His faith-based politics scare the shit out of me as someone who disagrees with him on everything.

While Kerry may not be the remedy to the problems the country is facing, I would gladly put him in office to get rid of Bush, even if it meant having to use your magic ballot.

This and any similar situation where there is someone in office that I truly fear would be the only time I would ever use it though. Otherwise, no. Let them proceed as normal and let the majority rule.

Precisely my answer.

I don’t do well with guilt. I feel guilt just for being exceedingly amused by the 2000 elections, given what’s happened since.

Yeah, I’d change it. Like Aesiron, I think Bush is sufficiently dangerous that not having him in office would offset the wrong of subverting the election.

However, it should be noted that I would still accept the deal if it meant a different Republican took office. Also, if Bush wasn’t a candidate, I wouldn’t take the deal. Bush is the first president during my lifetime who I don’t just disagree with, but who I think is actually dangerous.

I am so with Aesiron. I think Bush is possibly one of the worst things that has happened to our country. This really isn’t a political thread, so I won’t go into reasons, but I would vote ahead of time to get the monkey out of the office.

Other than that, no, why would I? I am not well-informed enough to just make a decision like that! And like someone else said, it would be all my responsibility if they screwed up.

I feel that four more years of Bush has the potential to do irreparable damage to the country, but all the same I would grit my teeth, cross my fingers, and refuse the offer.
Then I’d hope the all-powerful genie says, “Right answer! And as your reward for resisting temptation, Bush will lose the election by a historic margin, and all of his underlings defect and spill the beans on his nefarious deeds, and the subsequent investigation knocks the wheels off the incipient neocon revolution, and America is set on a course for decades of progressive wisdom and unprecedented growth and prosperity.” Hey, as long as we’re talking about wishes…

If the American electorate is stupid enough to re-elect Bush, I’m not gonna bail them out. If they’re smart enough to get rid of him, they’ll do it without any magic. Besides, I’d be really skeptical of any “all-powerful being” meddling in human affairs.

Democracy is absolutely the worst way that we humans have ever come up to choose our leadership—except every other way that we’ve ever come up with to choose our leadership.

No magic box for me. If I were to impose my will on the entire nation by choosing the next president all by myself, then I feel that I would be as despicable as any dictator.


I’d put “Frank Zappa” as a write-in candidate, and let the omnipotent being deal with the rest.
Hey, even Zombie President Zappa would be better than any of those four clowns who want the job!

“It is, after all, temporary.” Thank God.
However the election turns out, I will support the victor. But only for four years. Even if I don’t like him/her. I do love democracy, and what the Hell is perfect? To whom?
As far as I can think, we have the best system in the world. That’s why we can discuss this. :slight_smile: