Preserving the ‘Sanctity’ of the US Electoral Farce

Photo credit: Courtney Pedroza for the Washington Post

By the Editorial Board

Since the last presidential election in 2020, the US monopoly media has been captivated by the ongoing struggle between Republicans and Democrats to preserve the ‘sanctity’ of the electoral farce and restore the perception of legitimacy. While this effort is, in most ways, nothing more than political theater, it also indicates a deeper problem for US imperialism—a waning faith of the people in the church of the electoral farce and US ‘democracy’ as a whole.

Republican politicians have made headlines in states like Arizona and Georgia by ordering several audits and recounts of ballots, motivated by the narrative pushed by Donald Trump and his most die-hard supporters that the election was ‘stolen’ in what he called “the big lie.”

While the election results have already been certified and the issue of nullifying the results is moot, the Republicans hope to gain a moral propaganda victory by uncovering some sort of fraud they can point to. At the very least, they hope to create enough reasonable doubt to continue playing the game they’ve played over the past several elections, whereby they cast doubt on elections they don’t win while defending the legitimacy of those they do. Claims of undocumented immigrants voting, ballots cast in with the names of deceased people, and hacked voting machines are nothing new, but they never fail to rile up their most staunch supporters and renew their interest in supporting the Republican Party.

On the other hand, the Democrats have been working to combat initiatives to restrict absentee and early voting, registration, etc. in their own effort to guard the ‘legitimacy’ of elections with a bill known as the For the People Act. The Republican-led efforts to restrict these election processes are a calculated attempt to skim votes from their opponents, as they know on a large scale they will have some impact. Again Democrats are trying to paint themselves as defenders of democracy, but truly they are only defending their own seats and their place at the table of the imperialist ruling class, by seeking to preserve and expand participation in elections which can never serve the working class.

The Democrats also use the For the People Act to raise their own bogeyman of potential tampering by calling for all vote-counting machines to be manufactured in the US, hearkening back to the Democrats’ frenzy following Trump’s 2016 election victory, when they blamed Russian interference for Hillary Clinton’s loss. Their hypocrisy in condemning foreign interference is astounding considering their support for US imperialism, which has interfered with at least 81 foreign elections between 1946 and 2000 by the US government’s own data, excluding their promotion of military coups and funding other ‘regime change’ efforts.

Both reactionary parties are trying to convince their respective bases that they are saving the credibility of elections, the cornerstone of ‘democracy.’ In their propaganda, the electoral farce is supposed to be sacrosanct. The State wants to inspire a religious devotion to the customs and traditions that shroud the working class’ oppression.

The need to defend the so-called ‘legitimacy’ of the electoral farce indicates a much deeper crisis than just possible fraud or voter suppression—it is a crisis of faith in elections and imperialist ‘democracy’ as a whole. Without the people’s adherence to the religion-like dogma of imperialist democracy, the ruling class loses more of its ability to sanction its illegitimate rule. The people’s loss of electoral faith is a natural byproduct of the deepening crisis of imperialism, which steadily marches into its coffin and creates its own gravediggers, especially in the context of the New Depression.

In reality, the US ruling class does not care about ‘free and fair’ elections, only the appearance thereof. Regardless of which of the two viable electoral parties wins, their role as dedicated servants to US imperialism remains unchanged—the ruling class always wins in their elections. The only way to ensure democracy for the working class is to overthrow the rotten system of exploitation and oppression known as imperialism—this is why revolutionaries insist on boycotting the electoral farce, so the working class can cast aside the electoral illusions and fight for something real.

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