We are at the end of the age of elections. The legitimacy of elections is plummeting across the globe. The words “free and fair” rarely apply to most of the elections happening in the West. Elections are won in the gerrymandering, media corruption, and governmental corruption that both parties do beforehand, and the outright stealing of elections that Democrats do during the counting and re-counting of votes. But before we get to all of that, we have to get to the core purpose why we have elections, and by doing that we will see how tribalism ended the age of elections long before gerrymandering and corrupt recounts even came into the picture.
Tribalism might be the most over used word within modern political discussion. I listen to left-wing podcasts and read left-wing books, newspapers, and magazines on a regular basis and there is not one week that goes by without all or some of these left wing outlets talking about the crisis of tribalism in America. When the term tribalism is used it is almost always used to castigate the Right for acting like the Left, but more specifically, and more importantly, it is used to castigate White gentiles for acting and thinking in the same way that Jews, Blacks, and Latinos already act and think. Over the past one hundred years, Blacks and Jews in America have acted with extreme tribalism in their approach to politics and how they organize their communities. The Leftist response to this charge has always been that Blacks and Jews had to behave in such a fashion because they were being oppressed by the dominate White society. That was certainly the case when it came to Blacks in America, but Jews have never been oppressed in this country. America has been the most Jew friendly country to have ever existed, and Black Americans certainly aren’t being oppressed in 2018 and yet they are still voting and thinking about the world in very tribal ways.
What does all of this tribalism have to do with elections? Well, free and fair democratic elections are based around the assumption that individual voters are actually coming to reasoned conclusions. There have always been political coalitions, but those coalitions have typically been based around economic interests or genuine differences of opinion among the population. Both people’s economic status and their opinions can change and thus people’s votes can change, but people cannot change their race. Now, things like race and ethnicity have always been factors in the votes of Americans, but when they become the only factor, that is when we begin to get a break down in the ability of our republic to function. Race and racial struggle are not compatible with stable democratic institutions; the two cannot co-exist for very long because racial struggles throw gasoline onto already existing social tensions.
A similar threat to the legitimacy of American elections took place around the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when we had tribal voting based upon European ethnicity. Irish voters would all vote for the Irish candidate because he was Irish and because they wanted to get an Irishman in office as a sign of Irish racial and ethnic power. Similar things would happen with other European ethnic groups that had immigrated to the United States like the Italians and the Polish. This, of course, called into question the very legitimacy of our system. If our electoral system is merely a proxy for racial and ethnic struggles then what is there to prevent it from digressing into civil war? The United States was able to mostly avoid this fate through perhaps the most restrictionist immigration policy in the Western world, the 1924 Immigration Act. Add to that the massive social pressure placed upon immigrants to assimilate to White Anglo-Saxon culture and what you get is America barely avoiding mass ethnic violence.
Free societies are not very good at dealing with racial and ethnic factionalism. When people are able to freely organize and there is a high level of racial and ethnic diversity in a society, then people are going to organize themselves based upon their ethnic and racial identity. Theodore Roosevelt was absolutely right on this issue. The moment you begin to have “hyphenated Americans” (Irish-American, Italian-America, etc.) , you flirt with disaster. As Roosevelt said, “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.” That is exactly right. Your citizens must have one common identity that they all submit to or they will be a single, unified country for long. The same applies to voting. If your citizens are not all voting on the same, shared basis of improving the country as a whole, but are instead only voting in the interests of their tribe and in the hope that by voting they might bring as much power to their tribe and as much harm to the enemy tribe as is possible, then democracy has already begun to fall apart.
Elections are not meant to be a substitute for war. They aren’t a very good substitute because no one dies at the end of an election, and winning an election does not guarantee you total victory or power in the way that winning a war does. Many Americans were hoping that, after 2016, Donald Trump would crush the Left, deport all of the illegal immigrants, and essentially become a dictator. Similarly, after 2008, many on the Left wanted Barrack Obama’s win to be the last nail in the coffin for White America. Democracies are for nice countries with cohesive, White majority populations. When you give democracy to a country that is as divided and full of hatred as America, you are only asking for trouble.