Democracy and Then What?

The English version of the German publication Spiegel ran an editorial about the idea of the wrong majorities, of what happens when extremists win elections? Ought we to nullify their vote? In essence that would be dissolving democracy, render it meaningless. But what happens when the people vote for what is bad for them, for policies that are anti-democratic? The piece mentions the possibility of a Donald Trump victory as that of the right wing in Germany and Austria. Here is what they suggest:
“It will then be claimed that the established parties and the media turned their backs on the people — that they arrogantly behaved as the lords of democracy. And that’s not entirely untrue. The greatest arrogance, though, would be telling the voters that they voted for the wrong candidate because they don’t know what is good for them. The defining characteristic of true champions of democracy is that they accept election results as they are because they take voters seriously. Anything else leads to a revolution.
This does not mean that true democrats sit back and do nothing until unwanted results start coming in. They are neither despondent nor dogmatic; they are both active and sanguine. They don’t give up on democracy, they fight for it. They differentiate between the functionaries of a right-wing populist party and that party’s voters. They challenge the former with constant disagreement and court the latter by offering better alternatives.”
If Spiegel is correct, and I agree with them, then some of us who believe in democracy have a path laid out for us.

2 thoughts on “Democracy and Then What?”

  1. Dear Danielle,
    I am afraid that a Trump victory, which is a possibility, will result in an eventual dictatorship similar to the Nazi takeover of Germany in the 1930’s. Trump will bully Congress and an ill informed public into following his leads. The path for the rest of us will be difficult and challenging.

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