Glenn Beck Cluelessly argues that the US is a Direct Democracy

On his radio show today, Glenn Beck argued that democracy does not work because voters have the ability to directly elect the president. Beck said, “This direct vote just put Barack Obama into office. Congratulations on that direct vote.” The problem is that the United States does not directly elect the president, and the system isn’t a direct democracy.

Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:

Beck said, Direct-issue voting is a democracy. Democracies have never, ever stood. They — our Founders did an awful lot of work and an awful lot of study of different systems. Democracy does not work. You need a republic. You can’t have direct voting.” (If he is discussing direct democracy that is correct, but not democracy itself, as there are many forms).

He then continued to mix up his terms, “We have the government that quite, frankly, we deserve. We have the government that — we have direct vote. Here it is: This direct vote just put Barack Obama into office. Congratulations on that direct vote. The last direct vote put George W. Bush in office, and the one before that put Bill Clinton in office.” (Has Glenn never heard of the Electoral College? Was he asleep or drunk in 2000)?

Beck started to make a good point later, but he went off the rails, “That’s not what this is. We take our elections as seriously as we take American Idol, and that’s a slam, I know, on how seriously we take American Idol. I think we take American Idol perhaps a little more seriously as a people, but once we said in our own lives, “You know what? It really doesn’t matter.” I mean, you can be a good guy at work and a bad guy at home, or a good guy at home and a bad guy at work. Well, as soon as we accepted that in our own lives, we started to accept that from our leaders and that’s when we became unhinged. We have the directly elected representative government that we deserve.”

I agree with Beck that there is something wrong in this country when we take more seriously than a presidential election, but did he forget about 2008? That election was taken very seriously. People were paying attention and they went to the polls and voted. The problem is that it took something as dire as the Bush years and an economic collapse to get their attention.

Let’s break out a little Civics 101 here. The United States is not a direct democracy, some states have a version of direct democracy when voters can directly vote up or down on ballot measures, but presidents and not directly elected. It is an indirect election where voters are voting for a slate of Electoral College electors, and state laws determine how the electors are allocated.

This is basic stuff that kids learn and elementary school, and Beck is completely clueless. How any person can take a man seriously who doesn’t know how his own country elects a president is beyond me. Beck is always evoking the Founding Fathers, but I think he needs to go back and closely read their work, because he obviously doesn’t get it.

5 Replies to “Glenn Beck Cluelessly argues that the US is a Direct Democracy”

  1. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The Constitution gives every state the power to allocate its electoral votes for president, as well as to change state law on how those votes are awarded.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. This national result is similar to recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Delaware –75%, Maine — 71%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%, and Vermont — 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, and Virginia — 74%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 73% , Massachusetts — 73%, New York — 79%, and Washington — 77%.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 29 state legislative chambers, in small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes — 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  2. […] Glenn Beck Cluelessly argues that the US is a Direct Democracy … By jmeasley I mean, you can be a good guy at work and a bad guy at home, or a good guy at home and a bad guy at work. Well, as soon as we accepted that in our own lives, we started to accept that from our leaders and that's when we became unhinged. … Politicususa.com – http://politicususa.wpengine.com/ […]

  3. […] when their party is in power. Remember that Beck is a person who thinks that the U.S. is a direct democracy, so he is far from an expert, or even intelligent about these matters. Featured […]

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