Another Way ‘Democracy’ Is Rigged in America

Eric Zuesse

Did you know that if a given political party already has an incumbent in a particular political post, it’s standard practice in the United States for a political party to prohibit its voter-list to be purchased by anyone who’s not an incumbent office-holder in that party — including by someone who wishes to challenge or contest within that party the incumbent, in a primary election?

Only incumbents have access to that crucial list — crucial for any candidate in a primary election (unless there is no incumbent who is of that party).

Here’s an example:

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a long-time unquestioningly loyal operative of Hillary Clinton, was selected by the Democratic President Barack Obama (though she had condemned Obama while he was running against Clinton in 2008) to run the Democratic National Committee, so that Obama’s Administration will be continued with little change by his (chosen) successor (just a change of the President’s name, and only a bit more of a neo-conservative on her foreign policies than he was). However, Ms. DWS has a very low approval-rating from her constituents, and a Bernie Sanders supporter wants to contest against her in a Democratic primary. But, he says:

Last week, I called the Florida Democratic Party to request access to the voter file database and software known as VAN that is routinely used by Democratic candidates across the country.

I was told that our campaign would be denied access to this database because I am running against an incumbent Democrat, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I was also told that any Democratic candidate running against an incumbent Democrat would be denied access.

A reader-comment there was:

I’ve learned that this is standard practice in most states, to block challengers from the same party going up against incumbents.

I think it’s bullshit. I’ve asked people to give me some good reasoning why this is a standard practice, and *crickets*.

In other words: Politicians campaign hypocritically saying they favor ’term-limits’ but universally support the real  reason (which isn’t the lack of term-limits; it’s the lack of fairness, such as this) why even the most vile incumbents get re-‘elected’ time and again: this thuggish custom of the Democratic and Republican political Parties, which blocks challengers from having access to the most crucial tool for becoming a Party’s nominee: the list of that Party’s registered voters. Only the existing incumbent can buy that list. (Of course, if the ‘opposite’ Party has the incumbent in the contest, then the DNC/RNC will sell the person that list in order to yank the seat to their Party. The most-rigged part of American ‘democracy’ might be primary elections, not  general elections — which is what politicians most discuss in public as being rigged, such as especially both of GWB’s Presidential ‘wins’, which were exceptionally scandalous.)

Among the many ways in which the United States is not a democracy, the operation of primaries by Parties which actually represent their incumbents and not at all the public, is an important one. And the incumbent politicians never publicize it. Only a few aspiring challengers ‘complain’ about it — and the public never likes a ‘complainer.’

What this means is that, if an incumbent serves well the donors who financed his/her campaign, then that person will almost certainly not be effectively challenged in a primary by someone else from that party, because that prospective challenger won’t even have access to the list of registered voted in that party. The only significant chance that the incumbent will be replaced (unless he/she quits and, say, becomes a lobbyist for those donors) is if the ‘opposite’ party can find a suitable person to run against him/her (by serving donors to the ‘other’ party — which donors might also be donors to both parties).

In other words: the political Establishment consists of the aristocracy and its servants — within both parties. Both parties serve the aristocrats, sometimes even the same aristocrats, but, in other matters, serve the agenda that’s shared among the richest people in both parties.

The only scientific study that has been done of the net results from such a system was described and linked-to here. It found that in the U.S., the aristocracy rule; the public do not. And here is a recent former U.S. President saying that his own experience and analysis of the U.S. political system is in accord with those findings.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.