Saturday, March 21, 2015

Compelling suffrage

Obama is correct when he asserts that mandatory voting would be "transformative". The intellectually impotent mainstream right has no answer for why, in a country where democracy is venerated as the unquestioned (and unquestionable) apogee of political systems, anything other than universal suffrage should be the aspiration. March of progress, being on the right--er, correct!--side of history, etc.

As someone who is emphatically inegalitarian, it seems to me that electoral influence should in some way be associated with financial contribution to the apparatus of the state. Say, one vote for every digit of federal income taxes paid, starting with the third in the calendar year prior to the vote in question and net tax eaters being ineligible to vote at all. That is, someone who pays $200 in taxes gets one vote; $2000 gets two votes; $20,000 three votes, and so forth, with a maximum of say five or so votes.

I see no a priori reason why someone who contributes nothing to the treasury should have a part in determining how said treasury resources are spent, and certainly not a part on par with those who do contribute. If any company, organization, or even family (want your kids to do the family budgeting?) operated in that way, we'd be right to predict fiscal catastrophe to likely follow as a consequence. And so here we are.

Obama's party has obvious political interests in getting electoral activity from marginalized populations that currently can't (high schoolers, inmates, immigrants) or won't ('low information' citizens) vote, but bringing those segments of the population to the ballot box will just accentuate the problems the government faces. There is no conceivable way that we ever enjoy a stable currency or a balanced federal budget given the current system.


silly girl said...

Would this only be for federal elections?

Wouldn't this require voter ID?

I wonder how this would affect primary voting which is subject to party rules.

Local elections could be most affected because they typically have very low turnout.

Audacious Epigone said...

Yes, yes, and negotiable, with some states/counties/municipalities hopefully adopting it or a modified version of it.

Black Death said...

John Adams said:

Democracy, while it lasts, is always more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There's never been a democracy that did not commit suicide.


We are clearly well along the path that Adams described. The growing dependency class, existing largely on government handouts, will always vote for the politicians who promise more freebies (i.e., the Democrats). This cannot go on forever and is certain to end in a
crisis, with our current form of government being replaced by some sort of authoritarian regime that will rule by force and tolerate no backtalk from its citizens.

JayMan said...

I'm more of the mind of not rolling back the clock – back to the days of only White male property owners being able to participate in democracy.

Of course, mandatory voting is equally silly.

Anonymous said...

I believe in universal suffrage, even though it would likely mean that the Democrats have even more of a stronghold than they do now. A lot of the WN/MRA/PUA crowd want to ban White women, Coloured pople, and liberal White men from voting for the sole reason that they want the US to become a one party state. I'd rather suffer under Obama/Clinton than suffer under WN/MRA fascism.

Audacious Epigone said...


That's a strawman. The property ownership piece isn't seen as anywhere near as morally repugnant as the racial piece is. Modern America doesn't care much about social class.

That said, the argument is precisely the one that would be employed to keep anything close to what's being considered from ever being realized or even treated seriously.


That's a false dichotomy. I guess if you were forced to choose one or the other, the point makes sense, but it doesn't seem relevant here.

silly girl said...

I am pretty sure that the property ownership, male 21 and over did not include race. So, blacks could vote if they were male 21 and over. It think that is right.