The Great Flaw in Democracy | JIM FURLONG

Joe Smallwood believed in the democratic process. Well, sort of. Once following a by-election that the Liberals lost, Smallwood said to the assembled press the next day that the voters in the district had exercised their God-given right to be wrong.

That is a good introduction to pointing out the developing political situation in the United States. There is more to Donald Trump than a name. That is a punchline to a joke about orange hair or his many court dates. Donald J. Trump is the duly elected Republican candidate for President of the United States in the upcoming November election. He didn’t steal that post. He earned it at the ballot box in the Republican primaries. It wasn’t even close. He was the runaway Republican winner and is now one election away from the White House and the presidency.

That is the deep problem with democracy. It is its great flaw. It looks good on the surface, but it does not ensure that good people get elected or even that smart people get elected. It is the person that has the most votes that wins the prize. That is as profound as it is simple and it is something that is difficult to accept if you are, like myself, a slightly left of centre liberal thinker. We are an odd crowd that will allow you to be anything in the world except a Conservative. You can marry who you want. You can worship how you want. You can do whatever you want under heaven except be a Conservative and certainly not a MAGA Conservative. We think of it as somehow illegal. It isn’t.

About a decade ago my wife and I were in France and an American couple with whom we had become acquainted asked jokingly that if Donald Trump were elected president could they move to Canada. That was the depth of their concern about Trump.

I never thought that Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton. I was wrong. Hillary was a terrible candidate and it helped Trump become President of the United States but not for long. Barack Obama and the American people turfed him out. That might have been the end of the story, but it wasn’t. Despite a host of revelations about his personal life and despite a mountain of legal and financial problems, Trump is back and running for President.

The first couple of hurdles he has cleared. The first is that he won the nomination of his party. For reasons I’ll never understand there is still an appetite in the United States for his brand of “poor us” politics. That is a base of support that feels betrayed by government. That base is shrinking but we shall see in November. The other hurdle that has been cleared by Trump is that he is running against a very old Democrat in President Joe Biden. He appears old. He walks old. He moves old. That has become a factor and I think it should be a factor. I will be 78 in a few weeks. Am I as sharp as I once was? Not a chance. The government made me take a cognitive test when I turned 75 to see if I was fit to drive a car. I passed it but I did have to take the test.

It is hard to imagine what the world would be like if Donald Trump becomes president. I am confident he will lose because he does appear to be unravelling and President Joe Biden really did “ACE” the State of the Union address this month. I always say that in elections the people are always right because they are “the people.” I am counting on them to do the right thing. However, I am watching events unfold with interest and, of course, with concern.

You can contact Jim Furlong at [email protected]