Within the last few weeks France has held two elections; first for a new president, and then for their parliament. Emmanuel Macron and his Republic on the Move party accomplished a lot. He won the presidency and his party has won a majority of the seats in parliament. A quick resource on numbers and news for the election can be found here. Although voter turnout was lower than pretty much any election in modern history, all of these facts should be damning to the United States. The fact that they are not considered damning is unequivocally embarrassing.
In terms of turnout, their numbers are pretty much on par for virtually every election in the United States. Their uncomfortably low turnout is considered a regular election turnout in the US. Very little is said in the mainstream about this problem, and even less is said about why this is. Both the parties and the media gloss over the turnout numbers and treat the results (which are based only on those who voted, while ignoring the half of the population who did not) as if they mean more than they should. They, of course, do this on purpose.
If a candidate wins with 50% of the votes, in an election where only 46% of the population votes, that means that they are being elected into office by roughly only 23% of the population. Less than one-quarter of the population wanted this candidate in office, and yet I guarantee they’ll talk about how they have a “mandate from the people” to govern. There is no fucking mandate from the people! Only 23% of the population supported the candidate and I’d be willing to bet that most of the votes were from people who will vote for “their” party no matter what.
Over half of voting age citizens within the country do not bother to participate in any US election, and it is because they feel they do not have a voice. They are ignored. Members of Congress have admitted in the past that non-voters do not matter to them. A study reported on by Business Insider in 2014 showed that Congress does not listen to anyone who isn’t in the top 10% income bracket. Congress is insulated, and part of the problem is related to the other reason why France’s election should be shameful to all US citizens.
President Macron’s party did not exist two years ago. It’s not that it existed in some other form—it didn’t exist at all. Macron managed to create, grow, field, and win with a completely new political party within two years of its inception. Yet in the US, there are people who don’t even know that other parties even exist! The Democrats and the Republicans have a stranglehold on the “democracy” of the United States of America and the media colludes with them to prevent any real growth of actual democracy within the country. How can you not question when the major “news” networks refuse to even report on anything outside of the center in politics unless it is to make fun of or vilify it?
It is maddening that the general population of the US is completely in the dark on all of this. It should be infuriating to our very sense of being and our national identity; going around proclaiming that we’re the best democracy in the world when we don’t even have a democracy! We have two corporate-backed parties using their money and their power to reject and sideline anyone and anything that exists outside of their control. That isn’t a democracy, it is a plutocracy. The “debate commission” is a corporation run by the two parties designed to specifically keep other parties out of the debates, and the rules for ballot access in most places have such high bars of entry that outside parties can’t even hope to get on the ballot, among other issues that stop other parties from gaining any traction like the media refusing to report on them.
It is absolutely imperative that the two-party system within the United States be shaken to its core. Do you really think the myriad expressions of human experience can be sufficiently represented by two corrupt and exclusionary parties? It is within our power to make real change in this country, but we have to be willing to work together. We either force the parties to serve the people, or we dismantle the systems that allow them to maintain their hold on power despite how little they represent us.