Inevitability: Why Everything Wrong with American Politics Can Be Summed Up In One Word

There is a problem with democracy in America (ok, several problems, but bear with me) and it can be summed up with a single word: inevitability.

The media loves to use this word. Independent authors on IVN have even used this word; yet, few people stop to consider what this really means and why it is bad for any democratic system that is supposed to offer its citizens adequate representation. No candidate or election outcome should be considered “inevitable” before the election even begins.

The media drilled into the collective American psyche in 2008 that John McCain was the “inevitable” Republican Party nominee after winning the New Hampshire primary, which he was predicted to win. From there, McCain was the “comeback kid” after winning just one primary.

The media has long taken it upon itself to decide for Americans who is and isn’t a viable candidate. They prop up some candidates while dismissing others as “on the fringe” or “unelectable.” Mitt Romney was portrayed as the “inevitable” nominee for the Republican Party in 2012.

Now, the media and political talking heads say that not only is Hillary Clinton’s selection as the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nominee “inevitable,” but even her ascent to the presidency. Yet, very few people in the media want to stop and ask the question: “Why?”

Why, in a democratic society where the people are supposed to have a meaningful and equal say in who represents them, is a candidate for the nation’s highest office “inevitable”? Shouldn’t the people have some say in this?

It was reported Friday that Hillary Clinton is expected to officially announce the launch of her 2016 presidential campaign on Sunday. Reports further suggest that she will make the announcement in a video on social media, followed by campaign stops in Iowa that are expected to be small events.

Clinton doesn’t have to put on a show; she doesn’t have to give a big speech like Rand Paul or Ted Cruz. If a major challenger doesn’t enter the Democratic Primary, she may not even have to campaign that hard. This doesn’t give Americans much to choose from come November 2016.

And voters agree. Rasmussen reported Friday that approximately three-quarters of Americans don’t expect to like the presidential candidate from either party. They don’t believe either will truly represent them.

This is not the sign of a healthy or representative democratic system. Yet, this is what “inevitability” means in American politics.

The idea of the inevitable winner in an election is not exclusive to the presidency, either. Over 90 percent of congressional elections in the United States are considered “safe” for the incumbent or the majority party in the electoral district, meaning the winner is inevitable.

Through the process of gerrymandering and the creation of election laws that favor the Republican and Democratic parties, the two dominant private political parties in the United States have spent decades manufacturing a two-party system that ensures that elections in most states will always have an inevitable outcome.

Most states have given private corporations and their members exclusive access to an integral stage of the election process — the primary election — while denying millions of voters real choice in the general election. What’s more, some federal courts have ruled that voters should accept this, and if they want full participation, they can “simply join a party.”

Yet, a growing number of Americans don’t want to do this. Findings from Gallup, Rasmussen Reports, Pew Research, and every national polling agency that has conducted a survey on the matter show that a plurality of Americans refuse to be associated with the major parties.

Yet these voters are told they have to accept the inevitability of the Republican and Democratic parties — by the parties, by the media, by the states, and by the courts.

There is nothing democratic about elections that are considered “inevitable,” but then again, there is nothing democratic about a system that doesn’t ensure that ALL voters have a full, meaningful, and equal voice in elections.

Photo Source: AP