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Janette Dean: Our democracy needs Democratic majorities

December 2, 2018

Using our human knowledge and wisdom including our democratic principles, historical lessons and modern scientific tools, we in the United States must not waste any more time in working to solve our most urgent challenges including global warming and climate change impacts caused by greenhouse gas emissions (see globalchange.gov), wealth inequality, social animosities and our current international disunity with other liberal democracies.

A “liberal democracy” is one that aims to recognize and protect individual rights and freedoms with political power that is limited by law.

All liberal democracies should be reinforcing each other through ethical leadership and steady encouragement. It is also wisest that they use more publicly-beneficial demand-side “Keynesian” economics vs. supply-side “trickle-down” economics, which have been increasing wealth inequality worldwide.

To meet our country’s pressing challenges, people also need to see them as both our historic and “last chance” opportunities to prove that our liberal democracy — which is also a representative democracy in the form of a republic with citizens and a constitution — is indeed sufficiently representative of all citizens in order to be truly beneficial for the future.

I was relieved that Democrats were able to win many important elections across the country as well as the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in our recent midterm elections (despite many types of voter suppression that aim to prevent our fellow citizens from voting).

Of the two major parties in Congress and our legislatures who can currently achieve majority power, it is our modern-day Democrats who — while far from perfect — have been acting in the public’s best interests the most due to being less influenced by powerful and wealthy interests.

This can readily be seen by both the laws and the budgets that each party has been advancing when they have majority power and what many of their members have been voting on.

Democrats also far better admit, understand and work to solve our most urgent and chronic challenges (such as campaign finance reform), especially when there are strong and steady public demands for them to do so and when there is far less interference and obstruction from the Republicans.

In fact, the main single cause of our country’s challenges is the corruption of our government branches and agencies by private interests through their intense lobbying for unfair and socially-detrimental laws and policies in order to gain more power and profit.

In the field of political science, this type of political corruption has been referred to as “influence markets” (which often includes “regulatory capture”) whereby politicians serve as “middlemen” to wealthy interests within strong, established institutions that then become weakened.

This is the type of corruption that is most frequent and able to happen in mature democracies and mature markets.

In addition to overcoming political corruption within government, we also need to overcome it throughout our country whereby contrived and inflamed social animosities for political ends are becoming increasingly deadly and very worrisome as the possible beginnings of either racist ultranationalism, authoritarianism (whereby a person or small group are given supreme power over the state) or even their combination in fascism.

Besides safeguarding our public unity, we need to better realize that any democracy works best when it has a soundly-regulated mixed economy.

Neither capitalism (which is private or “free market” enterprise) nor socialism (which is public or “state” enterprise) benefits people well enough when pursued in their more extreme or pure forms; a well-balanced mix of the two can best ensure stable and ethical societies.

For example, the socialistic elements of a mixed economy are very important because higher profits or specific types of products and services often conflict with individual, social and environmental needs and preferences. Public enterprise, while not always perfect either, can certainly help to fill the gaps and correct problems when changes are needed.

Extreme capitalism in the U.S. has not been sufficiently reined in where critically needed, allowing significant harm to people’s education, incomes and wealth, health, environments and social structures.

All of these elements of people’s lives should be better protected by people’s constitutional rights along with their international human rights and the world’s 17 new Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 which the U.S. also helped to adopt as recently as 2015.

With the 2020 election coming up, I cannot overstate how important it is that voters give Democrats even more sustained, majority power across the United States including in Congress with a Democratic president.

It is the only way that Democrats will be able to create and deliver on effective government agendas that can far better solve our country’s most urgent challenges.

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