These Shock and Coup Pieces are Demobilizing

By Adam Hefty (January 31, 2017)

The problem with these shock pieces is that they’re demobilizing. It’s hard to tell how much of Trump’s first week is strategy and how much of it is incompetence. But we know that one thing that has slowed previous Republican over-reaches (Contract with America, government shutdowns, etc.) is protest and outrage, and this week has seen a bigger and quicker mobilization than many.

Meanwhile, the Jake Fuentes piece suggests that protesters may be unwitting pawns in Trump’s game, and the Yonatan Zunger piece suggests that a goal of Trump’s actions is to create “resistance fatigue.” Both of these arguments are so bad that refuting them makes you dumber. Neither author has any deep knowledge of or experience thinking about social movements. Fuentes is an executive or mid-level manager, I can’t quite tell which, at Capital One. Zunger is a computer engineer for Google. (I’m sure that there are lots of computer engineers who have interesting things to say about social movements, but to do so, you have to put in some time studying them. Zunger’s articles don’t suggest a deep engagement with the topic.)
Even Michael Moore has gotten in on the action. And he does have a deep engagement with politics and social movements. But he’s also notoriously inconsistent.

Keep up the pressure! I have no idea how things will unfold, but this is a president who is historically unpopular as a newly elected president, with a majority in Congress which is suspicious of much of his agenda and a national security establishment that is at least partly quite concerned about him, too. The leaders of major, mainstream corporations have been speaking out loudly and confidently against the signature policy of his first week. That sounds more like a recipe for a coup against Trump (oddly contemplated here in a Chicago Tribune commentary) than a coup by him. (And for the record, we shouldn’t be supporting either.)

There are a few more detailed responses to the claims of these pieces which are worth reading.

I wonder about the psychological payoff of reading and sharing these kinds of pieces. I love reading them too. Right after Donald Trump was elected, all I wanted to read for a while was climate change apocalypse articles. There’s something exciting (in the analytical sense, not the “fun” sense) about seeing the potential for doom in the present. I feel kind of like the protagonist of Melancholia, reacting differently. I’m not sure that impending doom always produces inaction and quiescense. Obviously the last week has *not* generally produced that. But I wonder if the inital spark of outrage could dull into the quiet contemplation of possible doom if we are not careful. I, for one, felt much better when I was shaken out of that.

Notes to Activists on Demonstrations in These Mass Movement Times

By Chris Crass (January 31, 2017)

There are demonstrations taking place all over the country today and remember 10 people demonstrating in a rural community, small town or the suburbs, where I grew up, can have a powerful impact, like the hundreds and thousands in cities. When we act as movement, like Black Lives Matter, like Standing Rock, like the protests this weekend, all of our actions, donations, joining of organizations, rising as congregations, speaking up for justice with family and friends, all of it converges and builds the overall momentum and amplifies all of what we do.

Now is the time to invite people in our lives to take action, bring people with us! Each of us has examples of a time when someone invited us in, made a direct ask to get involved, and it powerfully impacted our lives.

Now is the time for radicals and socialists to further rise as leaders who love our people and deserve to lead our people, to radicalize liberals, to move Dem elected officials left and into the streets, to turn the centrists into liberals, make moderate Republicans ambivalent and begin questioning, and take the wind out of the GOP’s sails…

Let us invite people from our different communities into the work, provide resources, and play an active role to helping ourselves and others embrace and understand intersectional analysis, through action and reflection in these times. Key to this is connecting people to the leadership, vision, stories and analysis of women of color leaders moving our movement forward. People learn much faster when they are in motion, with others, for justice.

Learning experientially in our/their hearts, minds and bodies what solidarity, multiracial democracy, collective liberation means and feels like and the challenges we must overcome (from anti-Black racism in all of white society, to sexism undermining women’s leadership in the movement, to the right wing in power crushing our communities).

For liberatory people power! Let’s build y’all!

Don’t Give In To Coup Fantasies; Power is More Straightforward

By Arun Gupta (January 30, 2017)

I am getting notes and articles forwarded from numerous people, smart people, that are full of paranoid speculation about coups, false flag operations, and military mobilizations.
This is exactly what the Trumpkins want. They want you to be paranoid, to be consumed by fear and irrationality. The last thing they want you to be is thoughtful, careful, rational. They want you to overreact and succumb to lurid fantasies.
Their exercise of power thus far is muscular but also chaotic, banal, and largely symbolic.
Take the Muslim ban. It is possible the botched order was a trial balloon by Bannon to see how various forces would react — the media, protesters, the judiciary, civil society. But it spurred an incredible resistance. Yes, many people will suffer but they really shot themselves in the foot with this one.
The Trumpkins have phenomenal contempt for everything from bourgeois political norms to the idea of democracy to the left and progressives. But stop thinking this is Year Zero, as many pundits are calling the Trump regime.  Their power grabs fit into a history of power grabs by presidents of both parties, going back to FDR. There are moments where some limits are placed, such as after Watergate, but then a new president undermines most controls and expands powers further. That is true, in different ways, of Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.
If you really want to know the impact of what Trump is doing, start following the commodities and equities markets closely. Trump probably pulled back so quickly on the green card ban because of the protests and the furor from Silicon Valley. Trump and his league of doom may hate the tech industry, but they can’t ignore the biggest companies in the world.
Today the markets are down and the volatility index is up because Trump is spooking businesses and investors. The markets will be a huge brake on his regime.
Look at the flurry of orders and proposals in his first week that directly impact the economy. This is what I mean by banality. The Trumpkins are well aware if they don’t deliver on jobs and economic growth they will be a one-term administration. Even gerrymandering and voter suppression won’t save them. So they proposed and dropped a 20% tariff on goods from Mexico, which would have been severely disruptive to U.S. businesses and consumers. This was incredibly inept and exposes that Trump is as much of a shitty manager as a master manipulator. They ban and unban green card holders because of its deleterious impact on the tech industry. Trump’s order trying to revive the KXL and DAPL pipelines probably face years of legal challenges. His order about using U.S.-made pipelines is meaningless because most pipeline is already made here. This is what I mean by symbolic.
I’ve said this before and will say it again. Be scientific. demand specific, credible and verifiable evidence and primary sourcing. Be skeptical and cautious about drawing conclusions. Don’t speculate endlessly on motives and psychology, especially when they are unknowable. Power operates in a far more banal fashion than a fantastical one. This is a long game. Keep your wits about you and we will get through this together.

To Understand Bannon, Think Hollywood

By Joe Lowndes (January 29, 2017)

As Steve Bannon’s central role in the White house becomes increasingly clear, we are struck by panic about who he is and how to understand his power. I increasingly think the source of it is to be found neither in his Huntingtonian worldview nor his self-described Leninist orientation toward power, but rather Hollywood.

Screenwriter/producer was only one of Bannon’s previous careers, but it is the one most on display right now. The WH directives he has been responsible for over the last week have been neither careful nor coordinated. They have made the new administration look chaotic in many cases, and forced endless explanations and walk-backs from various players.

But Bannon’s moves have been very bold and dramatic – cinematic really. Beginning with Trump’s inaugural address and text on the revamped official White House website, followed by the mix of Executive Actions and Executive Orders, have thrown opponents back on their heels repeatedly – regardless of their ultimate enforceability – and have drawn millions of us into the streets. Bannon’s new position on the NSC promises to reproduce these epic battles internationally as well.

Bannon’s provocative style was further honed at Breitbart News, where opening the door to neo-nazis, conspiracy obsessives, and a new form of social media sadists he was able to frame politics as epic manichean struggles for glory in novel ways.

But this Hollywood orientation is also the source of Bannon’s greatest vulnerability. He can stage conflicts and invite the backlash they create, but there is no guarantee that he can win. Indeed, the more he attacks, the more energetically we respond.

As Thom Mount, the former president of Universal Pictures, told the L.A.Times about his time in the film industry:

“He was constantly telling stories about great warriors of the past, like Attila the Hun, people who had slain empires. It’s one thing to be interested in the triumphs of military history, it’s another thing to obsess over them. Victory at all costs is a dangerous way to look at the world.”

Bannon can make Trump into Bane from the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, but he does not realize that broad political transformation is not dictated by superheroes and supervillains duking it out while we watch from our seats, but by hegemonic struggle. That’s where we come in.

Trump is Setting the Stage for a Much Worse Regime

By Chuck Morse (January 28, 2017)

It’s tempting to see Trump’s attacks on the media and the democratic system (voting) as an expression of his self-sabotaging vanity, but I think we’re seeing something much more malevolent. I think he’s setting the stage for his re-election in four years and the assertion of a much more violent, racist regime.

That is, he introduces policies that throw the world into chaos and aggravate social polarization, which of course compromises his popularity, but his attacks on the media undermine the setting in which opposition can be articulated and his attacks on the voting system undermine the system that could dislodge him from power. This is straight out of the Stephen Bannon playbook.

This puts the left in a very difficult position. I think it basically has three choices.

1. Stay silent and prepare to die.

2. Defend “democracy” and the media. This would mean lining up behind outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and the NYTimes, which are hardly allies. And it would also mean supporting “democracy,” which of course has a million problems.

3. Fight for something else entirely.

Finding Hope in Dystopia: Children of Men

By Joseph Orosco (January 27, 2017)

This academic term, the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures teamed up with the Allied Studies for Another Politics! and the Spring Creek Project to host a film and discussion series called “Finding Hope in Dystopia”.  The idea behind the series was to create a space for discussion about how to find hope for transformative social change in times of social and political despair.  We wanted to see how characters in dystopic films find the strength and motivation to resist and fight back against the all the different kinds of forces of oppression that can be imagined.  We tried to choose films that present dystopias with worlds that extend trends in our present society to their utmost breaking point.

The first film we chose is Children of Men from 2006.  There has been a lot written about this film lately and its relevance to our world today.  I just wanted to highlight some of the points that came out from our discussion after the film.



Echoes of Today:

It captured very well the hostility to immigrants found in the US and in Europe and how easy it is to normalize their surveillance and imprisonment (the cages on sidewalks a metaphor for detention centers in urban areas)


The detachment of the upper middle classes to a declining world around them, sheltered from the reality of decay with nostalgic bits of high culture, escapist technology, and deadening drugs.children-of-men

The infertility crisis as a metaphor for the effects of climate change;  knowing that the world is dying and people still just going about their everyday lives, jobs, families, as if they still had a tomorrow to plan for.  Denial as a coping strategy for despair that can get in the way of making transformative social change.


Sources for Hope:

The film suggested that its important not to put hope in organized vanguards offering salvation.


Change happens through the trust and cooperation of ordinary people.


It’s important to find and build places of refuge and sanctuary among friends, family, and comrades in the midst of dystopia–to share memories, stories, food, and music.



It appears that Strawberry Cough will soon make its appearance at dispensaries in the area.cane

This is a Full Counterrevolution of the Right

By Joe Lowndes (January 26, 2017)

Unable to sleep last night, I thought at least how relieved I was not to be teaching introduction to US politics and government again this quarter. I would have no idea how to do so.

Institutions are always undergoing slow transformations, and everything – the presidency, congress, the bureaucracy, parties, media, etc, must always be examined in broad developmental perspective. But now each lecture would have to start with “Up until last week…”

Between Trump’s assumption of total control of executive agencies (and their apparent Twitter rebellions); the crushing speed, number and force of executive orders; and now this – the mass exodus of longtime senior civil servants in the state department, we appear to be in a nearly revolutionary situation (but not one of our choosing). 

Some of this was a long time coming, or at least the conditions for it have been steadily growing. The dramatic expansion of presidential power begun under George W. Bush after 9/11 (guided philosophically by the neo-Hamiltonian unitary executive theory) and solidified under Obama has gone along with a concomitant atrophy of the institutions that historically contained it – specifically congress, the court, executive agencies, and the press.

But this takeover is orchestrated by a Breitbart ideology of racial/civilizational and corporate supremacy at home and abroad, joined with a clear idea of how to use executive power that is part Jackson, part Lenin, and part Cheney. It is exactly what Steve Bannon has described as his own view of the world and of the uses of political power.

Much is made of Trump’s own insecurity, rage, and impulsivity. But his public infantilism is not worth our consideration. He may tantrum and tweet on a daily basis, but as he does so his administration continues a steady enactment of a maximalist agenda – aimed at women, immigrants, Muslims, indigenous people, workers, and the planet itself.

I don’t think the executive branch (and everything it touches) has undergone this radical a transformation since the New Deal. This time it is a full counterrevolution of the right.

The Grassroots Have the Real Power: Tips on How to Go Forward from Here

By David DeHart (January 25, 2017)

It’s hard to say for sure what to do in times like these… but here are some thoughts on what I hope to do going forward. I hope these tidbits will help inspire ideas of your own!

Take every opportunity you can to contribute to resistance against the oppression and destruction that we are seeing, and encourage others to do the same! This can mean a multitude of things…


  • Hit the streets and protest against deportations, police killings, defunding of social and health services, etc. Marches are usually just symbolic, but they can have an important role in changing a narrative. What if every time somebody was deported the streets were flooded with protestors? That by itself probably wouldn’t change the policies but imagine how the political landscape would shift, what the new possibilities could be, and what other actions would be inspired by so many people standing together for what they believe in.


  • Or hold fundraisers for organizations that are resisting these things (resources drive for Standing Rock?) or providing important services.


  • If you’re really ready to dig in…direct action gets the goods! So basically anything that takes the power into your own hands and doesn’t rely on somebody else (politicians, lawyers) to make change on your behalf. This could mean anything from locking down to pipeline equipment to going on strike to organizing people to take their money out of banks tied to DAPL to providing free food to those who need it (Food Not Bombs, woo! I can pretty much guarantee they have a group in your area).


  • Also, don’t forget the importance of simply spreading the message! This could mean just speaking out to your friends and family about what is going on in the world and ask them to consider how they are situated within those happenings. Or do this on a collective scale! Organizing a group to paint a mural in a public place that humanizes people’s struggles or imagines a more egalitarian and cooperative society communicates on another level entirely! Art is powerful. Or just make some informative flyers and put them around town.


  • Organize!!! Build community! You don’t want to do these things by yourself. Find like-minded people. Start or join a group, start or join a political community center. Build a community that will accompany you in resisting intolerable actions by those in power while building and imagining a better world in the process.


  • On a related note, build alternative institutions. We are all very intertwined with and dependent on a global economic system and a national political system. There is something very powerful in changing the ways we go about our lives in our community so that they are not mediated by the powerful. Local food webs could be an example of this! Eating food grown by local farmers, or even better, joining a community garden and helping it to expand. What better way to build equality and cooperation in your community than helping to feed the community together, from seeds to the table? Another alternative institution people form in their communities is community alternatives to police. Rather than relying on an institution that gets its power from its ability to physically harm people or send them to a legal system that will take money and years of life from people, organizations like Cure Violence set up patrols to de-escalate violent situations in a nonviolent way. We can create embryonic institutions today to build and envision a new world while also divesting our lives from institutions tied up in violence, deprivation, and destruction.


  • Solidarity is the name of the game! Educate yourself about things that involve not only yourself, but others too. Seek to understand the lives and points of view of people who aren’t like you, and let your broadening understandings guide your words and actions. “An injury to one is an injury to all”


  • And another thing to do that is occasionally lost in these discussions, build yourself up! If you want to take part in change, you need to take care of yourself and grow as an individual along with your community. Take care of your own health, physical, mental, and emotional. You can’t do the work well if you aren’t well yourself. And if you are imagining and building a new world, part of that is breaking away from the parts of yourself that tie you to the constraints of society as it is. Get to know people who are different from you. Take time to do things that aren’t focused on money whenever you can. Invest time in fostering your own creativity. Or experiencing the world around you in ways you hadn’t before. Go on a new hike or something! And don’t be afraid to be different. Be more open and honest with yourself, and with others. Be who you want to be, do what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to have fun and be unique, those are some of the most beautiful parts of the human experience. Avoid patterns that restrict you from flourishing as a full individual, and work on becoming a more full person every day. When you are more genuinely yourself and more open to the world around you, not only will you be happier, you will have even more to share with those around you. Possibly the best thing for oppressors and exploiters is a populace full of people that are afraid of standing out and being unabashedly themselves. Never stop learning, experiencing, and growing


So in short, what I hope for is to be part of a politicized community of people who are committed to resisting the oppression and destruction that exists in our world while simultaneously imagining, embodying, and building a new world from the ground up, starting wherever we happen to be. /react-text


And as difficult as this is in times like these (for me included, of course), try not to despair. Too much energy into despair is paralyzing. Understand what is happening in the world and allow the feelings that accompany those things, but let these feelings fuel determination to build something better.


And don’t let the powerful (or apathetic peers either, for that matter) get you down! Businesses, politicians, etc. will keep doing what they tend to do, and they will say that they are doing the best they can and anything else is impossible. But this isn’t true. Don’t let your imagination be stamped out. The people are the ones with the true power. Collective action can shift the political landscape in ways that politicians never could. Grassroots movements are the ones capable of changing the possibilities for our world. They have before and they will again. A world beyond slavery was unimaginable for most before the abolitionist movement. FDR’s new deal could never have happened if it weren’t for a widespread labor movement organizing for better working conditions (and in many cases an end to capitalism). Don’t be fooled, the people at the grassroots have the real power, there just needs to be a collective effort. So don’t lose hope, and keep on fighting for what’s right! These are just some thoughts that have been kind of bouncing around in my head for a while. I hope they help inspire you to imagine new possibilities for our communities and our world

The US needs an Arab Spring Style Movement to Defeat Trump

By Arun Gupta (January 24, 2017)

Last weekend saw the two poles of American protest. One side was the inspiring and historic Women’s Marches. But it was non-confrontational and the Democrats are working furiously to co-opt it and shunt it into electoral politics. If that happens, it will be a disaster like the “Wisconsin Uprising,” and the entrenchment of Scott Walker’s and Koch Brothers overseeing an experiment in Dickensian capitalism.
The other pole was the militant smashy-smashy Black Bloc’ers who are often undemocratic, anti-political, and anti-worker. But their militancy is needed. It has to be combined with mass movements that are well-organized, have a clear strategy, and transparent and accountable leadership. 

Trump has dictatorial ambitions and is swiftly rolling back a century of progressive legislation and government functions. See the note below.

Only massive, disruptive popular force can topple dictators and uproot the system that nourished the despot.
I’m sharing this article I wrote about this. Please share because we need to advance the debate on how to move forward. This means building organization rapidly and intelligently, developing capacity, winning over the middle to a radical analysis and politics, and sharpening our collective praxis so it is far more effective, nuanced, and flexible than what exists now.

I firmly believe it will take a movement on the scale and with the militancy and courageousness of the Arab Spring to defeat Trump and his proto-fascist forces.

Libby Anker:
“We marched on Saturday, the largest march in US history. What happened next? In the last 24 hours Trump has:
1) Blocked ALL Grants to the EPA, and then threatened retribution for any EPA worker who reveals this to the press.
2) Secured the head of Exxon, one of the most violent companies ever, to lead US foreign diplomacy.
3) Denied abortion funding to poor women worldwide who rely on US aid.
4) Imposed a federal hiring freeze, which means people who care about public service will either be unemployed or pushed into the private sector, while government becomes dysfunctional.
5) Promised to cut 75% of all government regulation — that includes regulating for health, pollution, nondiscrimination, you name it.
6) Advanced the Dakota Access Pipeline project — and revived Keystone XL.
7) Told businesses they can defer any healthcare provision if it places an undue financial burden on them.
8) Threatened to defund government support for the arts and humanities, for public radio and public broadcasting.
Trump is rapaciously undoing what remains of public government, and trashing key provisions of our collective life.
Our March is not stopping Trump. We need to step it up. People need to start getting involved in more ways, ways that may be uncomfortable or hard, but we are going to lose this fight without all of us fighting back.”

To the liberals complaining about anarchist violence: Please Stop

By Paul Messersmith-Glavin (January 24, 2017)

To the well-meaning liberals complaining about “anarchist violence” and broken windows: please stop. Instead, come out to the next protest and look around and see what’s actually going on.

For instance, if you had come out to the streets of Portland on January 20th, you would have seen literally thousands of people, most of them wearing masks to guard against state surveillance and chemical attacks, many with goggles, extra water and food, many trained as medics to care for anyone who is injured, but all willing to put their bodies on the line to resist Trump’s authoritarianism and the emergent fascism he emboldens. 

You would have seen people of many races and ethnicities, people of all genders, and people of all ages. If you would talk to any of the thousands of folks in masks yes, you would have found a lot of anarchists, but you would also have found several other political philosophies represented, or no philosophy at all, but rather a simple anger at what is going on. You would have seen these people repeatedly attacked by the police, using chemical weapons dispensed by fire-extinguisher size sprayers, concussion grenades, and tear gas. That’s real violence against real people. That’s what you should be focused on.

Your outrage over a few (insured) broken windows, whether in D.C. or wherever, emboldens the further escalation of police violence and puts you implicitly on the side of the oppressor because you help justify and rationalize violence against people standing up. If you had come out on J20, you would have seen love, and laughter, and fierce defiance. You would have seen the best of humanity.

Is Our Democracy Even Legitimate?

By Jasper Smith  (January 23, 2017)


Representative John Lewis recently raised questions about the legitimacy of the new president. For me, this raised a larger question about the legitimacy of our democracy and elections. There are international standards for what constitutes a free and fair election that have been agreed upon by the countries of the world and to which our country asks other countries to abide. If we apply these standards to ourselves, how well do we do? As I will outline below, not well.

Access to the ballot and the poll– There are inadequate protections to ensure our constitutional right to vote. Many states have implemented voter suppression efforts that have repeatedly been found to disproportionately impact already disenfranchised communities. These measures include voter identification requirements, restricted access to polling stations particularly in urban areas, restrictions on early voting, and scrubbing of voter registration rolls. We do not have a national system of voting by mail, which would increase access. Election Day is not a national holiday so many people have to work full days then when they go to vote may have to wait in line for hours due to an inadequate number of polling places. If after working eight hours and waiting in line for another seven hours as happened in Florida or five hours as happened in Arizona, you finally get to vote only to have your vote invalidated by a broken or malfunctioning voting machine. Long wait times and broken polling machines have been found to be disproportionately in predominantly urban African-American and Latino districts. Even properly functioning voting machines have not met minimal standards for security in many states. The average wait time for Latinos in Maricopa County, Arizona in this election was four hours. For predominantly white voters in suburban and rural districts, the average wait time was less than 15 minutes. Minority voters are six times more likely than white voters to wait over an hour. Additionally, over four million US citizens have no voting representation in Congress because they live in Puerto Rico, Washington DC, or other territories. That is a population the size of my home state of Oregon and a number larger than the population of more than twenty other states. Again, this is disenfranchisement of predominantly African-Americans and Latinos. Both Puerto Rico and Washington DC have voted overwhelmingly for statehood in popular referendums. In many states, people with a past history of a felony conviction and people who are incarcerated are denied voting rights. In a country that has by far the highest rate of incarceration in the world and has for decades, and whose history of incarceration has shown gross racial inequity and discrimination, this is a significant number of people. To add to this injustice, the incarcerated population of people who can’t vote counts towards the representation in the districts where the jail or prison is located which is largely rural predominantly white districts leading to their over representation. Many countries have automatic or mandatory voter registration to ensure equal access to the ballot. Some countries even have mandatory voting to ensure equal representation. The US has grossly inadequate protections to allow access to the ballot and to the polling booth.

Equal Weight of Vote– International standards require that each vote has equal weight. In the United States, the least populous 25 states could control the Senate by representing merely 15% of the US population. The least populous 30 states could have a filibuster proof majority representing less than 25% of the population. This inequity translates into overrepresentation in the Electoral College which led to the situation we just had where the president was elected by the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 votes and garnering support from only 26% of eligible voters. Gerrymandering has led to the drawing of districts that allow a minority of voters to have a majority of representation which thwarts the will of the voters and gives unequal weight to each vote. The US has developed no enforceable national standards to ensure fair representation in the drawing of districts and many have been found to be grossly unfair and to disenfranchise primarily African-American and Latino voters. Gerrymandered districts are based on census data and can lock in inequity for a decade before new census data becomes available.

Equal Opportunity– The US does not guarantee equal access to being a candidate on the ballot, particularly for third party candidates. We do not guarantee equal access to media and allow our elections to be dominated by those who contribute the most money. A recent Stanford study showed that decisions by Congress are determined by the will of the donors not the voters. The interests of donors are represented a majority of the time and the interests and will of the voters have virtually no discernible impact on the decisions of Congress. Top donors have virtual veto power in Congress. They get about half of what they want and none of what they don’t want. Many countries comply with international standards through the public financing of campaigns. In the US, the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court gives virtually unrestricted influence over our elections by donors, including foreign donors who don’t get to vote in our elections. In most jurisdictions, our elections are administered by partisan elected officials rather than neutral and impartial administrators as required by international agreements. In the US, the interests of the wealthy elites are well-represented in our government but there is little access to representation for the will of the majority.

We may have been leaders and innovators in democracy over 200 years ago, but the sad truth is that we have not kept up with the times and we do not have a legitimate democracy under international standards. Many countries have surpassed us and can make a more legitimate claim to being the most democratic country in the world. Even our early experiments in democracy were deeply cynical and skeptical of democracy and we have baked into our system many protections for slavery that still serve the interests of white supremacy and wealthy elites, but do not serve the interests of democracy or the people. If we want to have legitimate democratically elected leaders in the future, we will need to shore up our democratic processes for elections.