A Most Fascinating System

Explaining the U.S. electoral system to Commander Data

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USS ENTERPRISE BRIDGE – DARK

COMANDER DATA stands next to the empty Captain’s chair observing stars whizzing by on the forward viewing screen. The bridge is alive with the usual Star Trek bustle. RUDYBLUES materializes, transporter style, on the other side of the Captain’s chair.

DATA

data2Hello, Mr. rudyblues. Did the request signal work properly?

RUDYBLUES

Yep, I saw the episode where you’re writing poetry for your cat and zoomed right over, or up, or forward, or where ever I zoomed.

DATA

Thank you for using your WordPress time travel powers to join me here to explain the electoral system of the United States. We find your electoral system a most fascinating one.

RUDYBLUES

You’re welcome, Commander Data. Wow, so this is what the bridge of the USS Enterprise really looks like. It looks bigger at the movies. Must be the screen size.

RUDYBLUES reaches for a large red button on the arm of the Captain’s chair.

RUDYBLUES (Curiously)

What’s this?

DATA (Reaching to keep RUDYBLUES from touching the button)

Please refrain from touching anything. Your curiosity is understandable, but also inadvisable.

RUDYBLUES

Sorry. Can’t help myself. The future seems so cool! So, what can I tell you about our electoral system Commander Data?

DATA

Our records about your culture are incomplete. They indicate that the United States was founded in the Julian calendar year 1776 under the Constitutional Democracy form of primitive social orders. Is that correct?

RUDYBLUES

Yes, uh, 1776, that’s the right year. And we are a Constitutional Republic. A little different, but everybody still thinks we’re a democracy. But what’s with the primitive social orders thing? Our government is the most advanced form of government ever envisioned.

DATA

At that time, it was a popular alternative method of social ordering. The prevailing method was the Constitutional Monarchy form of social order. You will be pleased to know that in the future the homo-sapiens species has developed the Super Organism form of social order, much like the dominant species on your planet in 1776, the ant.

RUDYBLUES

Whoa, dude, you’re telling me that we end up with a flat social order like ants? Man, the billionaires won’t like that. Woo hoo!

DATA

Our records indicate that in the Julian calendar year 2016 the United States elected…

RUDYBLUES (Interrupting DATA)

Whoa, hold on, I don’t want to hear that, I’ve got to back and vote in that election.

DATA

I’m sorry. I will withhold that piece of information from you. Our records also indicate that your Constitutional Republic is founded on a theory called “one man, one vote.” Is this also correct?

RUDYBLUES

Yes, that’s sorta true, everyone has the right to vote. Written right there in the old Constitution.

DATA

Our records also indicate that only males who owned land voted in the election held in the Julian calendar year 1776. Is that also correct?

RUDYBLUES

Well, yes, back when they wrote the Constitution they didn’t really spell out who was voting. It was pretty much left up to the individual States, and most of them thought that only landowners should vote. We fixed that later on though with an amendment.

DATA

Very well, I will update our records.

(DATA fixes a blank stare on nothing in particular)

DATA

There, our records now indicate that the male landowner only vote was a temporary aberration that was corrected by amendment, and that in subsequent elections all homo-sapiens in the United States were allowed to vote. The correction was made in the election held in the Julian calendar year 1777, correct?

RUDYBLUES

Well, no, not exactly. In fact it took us until 1856 to get the landowner thing worked out, and 1870 to get the men of color thing worked out, and even then not really until 1965. And women weren’t really in until 1920. Then in 1965 we got real serious with a big voter’s rights law, and then in 1972 we finally did something about the long term residency thing, so maybe it took until 1972 to get it all completely sorted out. And even then, we still have problems with voter suppression laws. Seems there’s always someone trying to keep someone else from voting.

DATA

That’s a period of 196 Julian calendar years. It seems highly unlikely that the United States was a Constitutional Republic if the one man, one vote philosophy remained unfulfilled for so long.

RUDYBLUES

Yeah, well, that’s what we call it. What are you going to do? You work with what you got.

DATA

Our records also indicate that voters did not directly vote for the leader of the United States, but rather voted for surrogates, who performed the actual act of voting. Is this also correct?

RUDYBLUES

Yes, back in 1776 the founding fathers figured that one way to cut out the collusion and vote buying was to have the voters actually vote for electors, who would then vote for the President. They called it the Electoral College.

DATA

But if the Electoral College was designed to suppress collusion and vote buying, how can we explain the vast amounts of money our records indicate were spent on electing the leaders in the late 20th and early 21st Julian calendar centuries? It would appear that the Electoral College did not perform according to design specifications.

RUDYBLUES

Well, as money often does, it found a way around the obstruction. Instead of buying your vote directly, the money bought the information networks that the voters used to receive information about candidates. Candidates who did not comply with the wishes of the moneyed elite did not receive access to the information networks, and so voters did not know about them. Candidates who complied received lavish amounts of information network access. They also benefited from the free delivery of highly emotional 30-second sound bites, to insure that the voters chose based on emotional response rather than on reasoned consideration of readily available facts.

DATA

This is indeed a most fascinating system, Mr. rudyblues. Our records are also incomplete on a phenomenon called the Primaries. Can you explain the Primaries to me?

RUDYBLUES

Oh, yeah, the Primaries. Well, when they wrote the Constitution they had no idea it was going to end up a two party system. Early on the Electoral College handled the nominations. It was pretty clear that there was only one candidate that each constituency preferred, and that candidate was kind of a shoo-in. Later, when the population increased and the views in the parties got more divergent, there were a lot of candidates from both parties, so they started holding things called nominating conventions, and then they came up with a second election that they called the Primary where voters would select a candidate from within the party to run for President. And even then, they didn’t really select a candidate as much as they selected committeemen who were pledged to a candidate. There was still a lot of collusion, but hey, like I said, you work with what you got.

DATA

Our records also indicate that there was much competition to see who could hold their primary the earliest, so that candidates would be required to devote time to a particular geographic area. Is this also correct?

RUDYBLUES

Yeah, there’s the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, and usually by the time those are over the information networks are already predicting who the final candidates will be and most people just lose hope and stay home. That’s part of the plan. Voter suppression by discouragement.

DATA

This is a most fascinating system. I will compile a complete report and submit it to Starfleet Command. Do you mind if I contact you if I discover more gaps in our records?

RUDYBLUES

No, you know the signal. Just say you’re going to write your next poem for your cat and I’ll zing in! Now that the WordPress Daily Post people gave me this cool time-travel thing I’m going to use it all I can.

DATA

Thank you, Mr. rudyblues. I hope you have a pleasant journey back to the Julian calendar year 2016.

RUDYBLUES

Your welcome Commander Data. To infinity and beyond!

RUDYBLUES disappears transporter style.

DATA

A most fascinating system.

A Bird, a Plane, You!

Author: rudyblues57

A fellow traveler in our journey around the neighborhood thermonuclear explosion. Full of random thoughts and esoteric observations about the human condition, how we treat each other, and other detritus of life.

3 thoughts on “A Most Fascinating System”

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