Israel’s 50-Year Time Bomb

In the quest to change Israel’s very nature, the Netanyahu government is pushing Palestinians to the edge – with the support of the Trump White House, says Dan Steinbock.

By Dan Steinbock
Special to Consortium News

The Trump White House and the Netanyahu government are fostering an extraordinary time bomb between Israel and Palestine in the name of “peace and progress,” warned a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The report unsurprisingly said that “deepening rifts between key stakeholders and surging violence in Gaza further imperil prospects for peace.”

While economic and strategic polarization is steadily deepening between the two sides, the “peace initiatives” of the Trump White House are undermining half a century of American diplomacy and pushing the region closer to an abyss.

In the past, the Netanyahu government has vehemently opposed all parallels with South African apartheid. Unfortunately, new data suggests that under apartheid South African blacks had more to hope for than Palestinians today.

Unsettling Parallels

Between 1994 and 2017, Israeli GDP per capita, adjusted to purchasing power parity, increased by 150 percent; in the West Bank and Gaza, the comparable figure was 160 percent. Yet, the Palestinian starting-point is so low that progress in living standards is largely fiction.

Figure a: GDP per Capita PP: Israel Vs West Bank and Gaza (1994-2017) (World Bank).

In 1994 – amid the peace talks in Oslo – Palestinian living standards were only 6.4 percent ($1,526) of the Israeli level ($23,693) (Figure a). At the time, the hope was that peace would bring increasing stability, which would foster prosperity and rapid catch-up growth – until the radical-right assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin triggered still another cycle of violence.

Last year, Palestinian living standards were about 7.3 percent ($2,494) of the Israeli level ($34,135). After more than two decades of new wars and friction, terrorism and restrictions, the catch-up has amounted to less than a percentage point.

Let’s set aside political debates about the causes and only focus on economic facts; i.e., changes in income polarization. And let’s compare the last two decades of apartheid South Africa with the past two decades between Israel and Palestinians. In the mid-70s, black South Africans’ annual per capita income relative to white levels was about 8.6 percent; that is, two percent higher relative to the Palestinian level vis-a-vis the Israelis.

As the apartheid came to an end in a series of steps that led to the formation of a democratic government in 1994, black South Africans’ annual per capita income relative to the whites climbed to almost 14 percent whereas the comparable Palestinian level remained only half of that figure last year (Figure b).

Ironically, South African apartheid was more conducive to economic progress in its last two decades than life in the West Bank and Gaza in the past two decades.

Moreover, the Netanyahu government’s economic policies have also dramatically increased economic polarization in Israel. In the early 1990s, the Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, was around 35 in Israel, at the level of Portugal and Italy. Closer to 43 today, it is among the highest in OECD countries, and at the level of Nigeria and Zimbabwe. But there may be still worse ahead. 

Undermining Israeli Constitution

Protests in Gaza ahead of, and turbulence since Israel’s Independence Day and the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in May, mark the most serious escalation since the 2014 war. With his decision, President Trump departed from the decades-long U.S. executive branch practice not to recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.

Figure B: Living Standards: Palestinians/Israelis and Black/White South Africans (Source:  Palestinians/Israelis: World Bank. Black and White South Africans: OECD.

Meanwhile, a steep decrease in Palestinian Authority and external funding to Gaza since 2017 has worsened already dangerous humanitarian conditions there. According to the World Bank, Gazans’ real per capita incomes have fallen by one-third since 1994, owing largely to the West Bank-Gaza split and to Israel’s and Egypt’s tight controls on goods and people transiting Gaza’s borders.

Instead of seeking to alleviate acute distress in the region, the White House has given de facto support to the new nation-state law, which defines Israel as a Jewish nation-state, despite a significant Arab minority. Unsurprisingly, the new law has been opposed by demonstrations and a high-profile petition by Israeli intellectuals – including Amos Oz, David Grossman, A. B. Yehoshua, Eshkol Nevo, Etgar Keret and Orly Castel-Bloom – who demand the Netanyahu government to abolish it: “The nation-state law, according to which the State of Israel is the national state of the Jews only, expressly permits racial and religious discrimination, nullifies Arabic as an official language alongside Hebrew, does not mention democracy as the foundation of the country and does not mention equality as a basic value.”

In this status quo, Trump’s indiscriminate support for the Netanyahu government effectively nullifies any remaining impression about the U.S. as a “neutral arbiter” in the peace process. What makes the moment even more dangerous is Netanyahu’s inclination to ignore the warnings of Israel’s highest defense authorities, the willingness of the Trump administration to embolden these fatal shifts, and the erosion of any remaining hope on the Palestinian side.

Half Century of Missed Warnings

At the eve of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when I toured the West Bank and Gaza, what was most striking was the apparent calm on the surface and the lingering tensions behind the official façade. It was this odd mixture of hollow expectations and raw realities that accounted for the nightmares that ensued.

After the Yom Kippur War, the Labor coalition began to expand the boundaries of Jerusalem eastward, which encouraged a group of Messianic settlers to create a foothold in the West Bank, including Ma’ale Adumim by the Gush Emunim which sparked a protest by the “Peace Now” movement. I was there, as was my good friend Amos Oz, the famous Israeli author and one of the leaders of the peace movement. The concern was that if the settlers were permitted to create a substantial de facto presence, it might be legitimized over time with de jure measures, which would undermine Israel’s foundations, polarize the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, while fostering cycles of terror and conflicts.

Despite a relatively broad popular opposition against the settlements, successive Israeli governments failed to contain them, despite Egyptian President Sadat’s bold peace initiative. Once again, the writing on the wall was ignored and the ‘80s wars in Lebanon ensued, along with the first large-scale Palestinian uprising against Israel in the West Bank and Gaza at the turn of the ‘90s. That’s when the Madrid Conference in 1991 and the subsequent Oslo Accords offered a glimpse of an alternative future scenario – but one that perished after Rabin’s assassination.

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Today, half a century has passed from the Six-Day War and the Israeli conquest of the West Bank and Gaza. According to the Peace Index by the Israel Democracy Institute, last July three out of every four Israelis (74 percent) viewed the chances of Trump’s peace plan being a success as low or very low. According to the most recent survey, 89 percent of Israeli Jews do not see peace in the horizon. Almost half of Israeli Jews believe the Palestinians should have a state of their own. More think the two-state solution would be impossible to implement. After a generation of increasing bitterness, the share of the skeptics is relatively higher in younger age groups.

The message is fairly clear. Most Israelis believe that President Trump’s initiatives are undermining peace in the region. Most support a two-state plan. But since Washington is not seen as a neutral arbiter, a lasting peace plan is not enforceable.

As the U.S. provides one-third of the annual budget of the UNRWA, the vital relief agency for Palestine refugees since 1948, and has refused to make further contributions, some 5.4 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, and in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria find themselves in a new situation.

Reportedly, Israel supported only gradual reduction of the UNRWA’s funding and no reductions in Gaza until Netanyahu changed course without consulting his own security officials. Meanwhile, leading Israeli defense authorities have suggested that steep UNRWA cuts could further radicalize Gaza and destabilize the West Bank.

As the IMF data suggests, the status quo is entering an entirely new stage, in which economic agony could result in a failed state before an actual state is formed, while militarization of the crisis and the absence of hope on the Palestinian side could unleash even more desperate waves of terror internationally. 

Half a century of policy mistakes should be an adequate warning.

Dan Steinbock is the founder of Difference Group and has served as research director of international business at the India, China and America Institute (US) and a visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more, see http://www.differencegroup.net/

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30 comments for “Israel’s 50-Year Time Bomb

  1. karin brohers
    October 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Let’s be clear: it is Israeli terrorism that is the problem, not Palestinian; the so–called “cycle of .terrorism/violence” is actually (further) egregious Israeli crimes generating a response from those who have already been beaten down. If Israel had really wanted a second, Palestinian state, it would not have grabbed all of the Palestinian land and resources that would be required for one.
    A major reason that Israel has been against cuts to Palestinian humanitarian aid is that 1) Israel gets the first cut off the top and 2) the foreign exchange — everything is forced into shekels — props up Israel’s currency. .

    Israel has no reason to push for peace: it is just waiting now for its genocidal policies to work in Gaza, so it can mop up what will be left of Gazans after starvation, lack of potable water, eating contaminated food, and their radiation baths from Israel’s bombings…

  2. dean 1000
    October 18, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Democracy is not a republic with a constitution. It is direct government by the citizens rather than government by representatives and senators. The polity at ancient Athens had constitutions before it was a democracy. The democracy had a constitution too. Constitutional questions were decided by a jury-like body of 1501 citizens chosen at random.
    If anyone wants to refresh the opinions they formed by reading ‘The Politics’ it can be downloaded free from gutenberg.org. Also download the Constitution of Athens by Aristotle. At one point Aristotle defined democracy as “government by the poor.”
    Aristotle was a wise and learned man. He was employed by King Phillip of Macedon to tutor Phillip’s son who became Alexander the Great. He was also employed by the wealthy at Athens to teach their sons how to live with democracy and how to subvert it, in my opinion.
    I don’t consider Aristotle the last word on the Democracy at Athens or its constitution. There are contemporary works at the university level more objective than Aristotle. I am critical of Aristotle but “The
    Politics” is well worth reading. So is ‘The Republic’ by Plato.
    If you want to know where Humanity is going find out where it has been. I think the U.S. is going back to the future and it will find the democratic procedures of the ancients invaluable.

    • Sam F
      October 20, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Perhaps you meant to reply to my comment below on this, Dean.
      You insist that “Democracy is not a republic with a constitution. It is direct government by the citizens rather than government by representatives and senators.” Actually that is an ancient definition used by Aristotle, simply to name a category of direct-vote city-states, no longer of any value because all democracies are constitutional republics. Aristotle cannot define modern democracy, and to accept his narrow nomenclature would invalidate most political literature for the sake of a quibble about one obsolete ancient usage.

      Those who insist on that are usually naive Republicans who owe their jobs to oligarchy, trying to create the illusion of historical authority for propaganda that anything but oligarchy is “mob rule.” They smirk that a “constitutional republic” is a stable democracy, meaning that they can bribe the representatives. Any deeper discussion and they accuse one of subversion, but it is they who subvert democracy by subverting our formerly constitutional republic.

  3. Anne Jaclard
    October 18, 2018 at 10:49 am

    The US’s position as a “neutral” party has always been pure propaganda put out by US presidents & media who want an excuse to be the decision-makers in the region and shore up the Israeli government. The US has fully taken the Israeli side since the 1967 war. Almost every state today is anti-Palestinian, but not usually pro-Israeli, the US, however, is both. Russia or China would be far more fair if they acted as “brokers,” but that is never going to happen, is it?

  4. Sam F
    October 17, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    All groups have their tyrants, their least ethical persons, creating threats to the group to demand power as protectors, and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty. They seek money and power from their kind, and then aggressive wars to steal the resources of others to distribute to their followers. The extreme zionists cannot admit that they have retraced the path to fascism in reaction to fascism, just as the bully produces more bullies by example and defensive response.

    Their propaganda has become offensive and absurd:
    1. The idea that a group deserves special privileges because some of their ancestors were persecuted, although there are no surviving victims of WWII among them, and no special privilege is accorded to other victims;
    2. No one has a right to an empire anywhere, least of all in the Mideast, where everyone’s ancestors had an empire in the million years of human migration from SE Africa;
    3. The fake “anti-semitism” attacks are offensive: Semites includes both Arabs and Jews, I have never met an anti-Jewish person (my Jewish friends agree), and no other group demands a unique word to describe their opponents, so as to redefine it to attack anyone at all.

    If Israel had been founded in an isolated area without land theft, or if it had made peace instead of wars for land theft, its zionist tyrants would have no support and would be gone. The rationale for Israel is gone, it has left the Mideast in ruins, and the US would do well to abandon it entirely. But we cannot, because our politicians and mass media are the best money can buy.

  5. October 17, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Mr. Lauria sorry about the rancor about censorship and the brouhaha about Facebook. Hope things get back to what we might call normal. Best of luck and I’m sure CN will get us all back on track, reading provocative articles and receiving thoughtful commentary. It may sound patronizing but I do think CN is a great website. Look forward to reading every morning.

  6. Danno
    October 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Yes its true that the nation state law is stupid and Israel should make a plan for what to do with the west bank other than to continue to rule over it, but the other facts you forget are that the Egyptian GDP per capita is $4000, Jordan is $3500 and the West bank AND gaza is $3000 for 2017, according to the world bank (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD?view=chart).

    So the problem is — there is no evidence here that lack of occupation will result in improvement in GDP per capita. Instead, all the evidence is the opposite. Unless the Palestinians are somehow radically different from the Egyptians and Jordanians, they will have the same GDP per capita.

    What you are really doing is taking an extreme position and making it look like truth. Lets deal with the facts. Israel would be way better off without the west bank. The best thing Israel could do is somehow to relocate as far away from the west bank as possible. The other alternative, to withdraw completely. Of course, we see what happened there with gaza (don’t tell me its still occupied — if the hamas would decide to actually do something positive, declare an end to the conflict and make the best of what they have, they would be swimming in money and aid.). If Israel withdrew to the 1967 lines and everybody made peace, guess what, the GDP per capita would be the same in the west bank as in Jordan, and Gaza would be a mess. So stop it. You’re not helping anybody with this propaganda.

    Oh and South Africa? GDP per capita has fallen from $8000 in 2011 to $6000 today. So much for that. Must be apartheid as well.

    • druid55
      October 18, 2018 at 11:51 am

      Sticking to your false talking points makes you either ignorant or a apologist for tyranny!

      • danno
        October 18, 2018 at 5:32 pm

        tell me where i’m wrong, buddy. lets see some rebuttal instead of an opinion.

    • brian
      October 19, 2018 at 7:57 am

      The governments of Egypt and Jordan are not trying to systematically drive off or kill their citizens. Israel has, for 70 years, sought to solve the problem of the indigenous population in the same way the United States solved it in the 29th century. First, the Palestinians were driven from their land and for 70 years told they cannot return. When they try to return, Israeli snipers using US-made rifles shoot dum-dum bullets to either kill or severely wound Gazans who gather at the Israeli border. Over 200 unarmed men, women, and children have lost their lives at the hands of those snipers and over 10,000 wounded. Because the infrastructure in Gaza has been bombed regularly by Israel, hospitals that might care for the wounded are overwhelmed.

      The Gaza strip is home to 1.7 million people that the right-wing government consider sub-human and they are on the record saying that they are trying to make sure they only have enough food to survive but not thrive. If their fishermen venture to far out on the Mediterranean, they can be killed. Israel and Egypt, in cooperation with Israel, makes sure nothing or no one can enter or leave Gaza without their permission. It is an open air prison that gets regularly attacked with the most deadly and sophisticated weaponry on earth.

      Why do you think their economic plight would be a signal concern to those living under such inhumane conditions?

  7. Mild - ly - Facetious
    October 17, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Thank You, Dan Steinbok, for your restoration of Facts – and huge gratitude to Consortium news for your bravery in publishing these determinative, and very relevant facts that’ve been, apparently, shoved-into-the-ash heap of history, vis-a-vis Determinative Causes.

    [Elections for the second Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), were held on 25 January 2006. The result was a victory for Hamas, contesting under the list name of Change and Reform, who won with 74 seats of the 132 seats, whilst the ruling Fatah won just 45. In terms of votes received, Hamas took 44.45% of the vote, whilst Fatah received 41.43%[1] and of the Electoral Districts, Hamas party candidates received 41.73% and Fatah party candidates received 36.96%. The second PLC first met on 18 February 2006.

    The Prime Minister, Ahmed Qurei, resigned, but at the request of President Mahmoud Abbas, remained as interim Prime Minister until 19 February 2006, when Hamas leader Ismail Haniya formed a new government.]

    *** The scenario which led to this ‘election’, as I recall, was a push by U S president George W. Bush to (encourage)/ force Palestinians in Gaza to politically join the COMPROMISED, PLO/ Fatah wing of “Palestinian Authority” and be forced to accept Israeli demands for more and more Israeli control of historically territorial agricultural land with more and more encroachment / occupation of historically
    (centuries old) Palestinian olive groves, grape vines , sheep and goat farms and more that had sustained a peaceful race-of-people for decades. …

    So, as the world turns, the Bush “let – the- Palestinian People- decide” turned out to be a referendum Against the PLO / Fatah regime of sell-outs with a Unanimous vote in full on favor of Self-Determination under a Hamas government.

    After this, Bush 41, led by Netanyahu and his regime of Zionists Totalitarians, PROVIDED ARMS AND TRAINING to the Fatah/PLO faction/ government and set them to a viciously brutal War / Palestinian against Palestinian, US Armed & Funded Fatah as a Military Force – against it’s Gaza City, Open-Air Imprisoned, (Blockaded and densely restricted into an area of land correctly termed
    AN OUTDOOR PRISON — AN ENTIRE HUMANITY OF PEOPLE / Ethnicity, Palestinian. !!! Treated w/ Disregard, Disrespect, and, if the Zionists have their way, Total Extinction.

    A closing question — to Dan Steinbock. I’m so grateful to you for your scholarship and the collective decades of crucial facts and information you’ve given in your piece. If I might ‘wander’ outside the lines, a bit… ?

    … what, if at all, do surmise is/are “the synagogue of satan” and are the ZIONIST an Israeli political force of Edomites… ?

    • Mild - ly - Facetious
      October 17, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      Lest we forget, the Hamas – Fatah, Netanyahu/Bush instigated factional war opened the door to Secretary of State Condelisa Rices’ 2006 boastful, compulsory,egotistical, banal/ nazi-istic declaration — I quote, “What we see now are the Birth Pangs of a New Middle East.”

      How dare she be SO BRAZEN as she pronounced the insidious desolation of
      the ENTIRE ARAB WORLD, and the introduction of ISIS, with all of it’s death,
      misery, migration/desolation, despair/emptiness, isolation/homelessness
      as our current POTUS GLOATS over $110 Billion in WEAPONs Sales for US made WMD’s
      how much more friggin ignorant and stupid can we-the-people be
      mesmerized by gadgets or opioids or “fake news” carnival barkers
      and BlockBuster toxic sensations of bomb Blasts and Mass Murders???

      (Pisst, the fascists are coming !! the Fascists, are, coming… .)

  8. Mark Thomason
    October 17, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    I agree, but there is more. Israel is on a road to self destruction. They refuse to see it, and the US leaders who see it and sometimes say it enable them anyway.

    There are less than half as many Jews in Israel today as in the Palestinian groups they have nominally subdivided into smaller packages. There are over 50 times more Muslims than Jews in the region, actively engaged in this dispute, and the Muslims have vast wealth even if they have so far handled it badly. Those are very long odds.

    What to do faced with long odds? Settle in your best, strongest moment for the best deal you will ever get, while the best deal is available.

    What does Israel do? It turns that truth around backward, as if it is the Muslims who face a longer run problem for which they need a damage-limiting deal now when the deal is as good as it could ever be.

    The only question is how long before this comes to an awful end for the Israelis, who will bemoan it for centuries after. I suspect the Jews will be cursing the name Netanyahu unto the 100th generation.

  9. Realist
    October 17, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    If the Palestinians were a conquered enemy in a land far removed from Israel, the Israelis would have major moral and legal responsibilities under international agreements with regard to their health, welfare, economic recovery and rebuilding. Not only does Israel ignore such responsibilities, it seems to take great pains to endlessly and systematically degrade the standard of living of all Arabs and Muslims within its claimed jurisdictions, giving them no rights, no redress, no participation in their fate whatsoever. They have even taken their battle against the locals to neighboring Syria and Lebanon. Whenever these aboriginal inhabitants of these territories even peacefully demonstrate they are ruthlessly cut down by returning bullets for words of protest.

    Call me a cynic, but Israel seems to allow the import of just enough primitive rockets, industrial-strength Roman candles really, past its impervious blockades on land, air and the sea into Gaza to facilitate the occasional launching of these harmless projectiles into random locations on the Israeli side of the border, in return for which the Palestinians are subjected to “counterattacks” which invariably kill scores of angry, frustrated Palestinians yet again. It’s as if the Israelis are looking to ultimately eradicate the Palestinians through attrition–70 years in the making now, since they have nowhere to flee. Excuse me for being objective, which they Israelis use as a synonym for “anti-Semitic,” though the Palestinians are the purest-bred Semites anywhere near the “promised land.”

  10. Jeff Harrison
    October 17, 2018 at 11:45 am

    The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. – Rev Martin Luther King Jr.

    Israel needs to pay attention.

  11. October 17, 2018 at 10:48 am

    “While economic and strategic polarization is steadily deepening between the two sides, the “peace initiatives” of the Trump White House are undermining half a century of American diplomacy and pushing the region closer to an abyss.”

    Let’s concede that Trump decisions on Jerusalem and aid to Palestinians are terrible, but please do not praise the results off half a century diplomacy. It is rather a century of betrayal of the Arab Palestinians beginning with the Balfour Declaration.

    Mentioning support for the two state solution as if it is progressive or enlightened does not fit either description but rather is a poison pill for any effort to improve the lives of the Palestinians.

    Off the subject, why the early cutoff on the whistleblower article?

  12. mike k
    October 17, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Israel is a racist regime. This is so obvious that arguing about it is ridiculous. How many people do you have to put in ghettos and kill to prove that? Seeking justice from those deeply committed to injustice is futile.

  13. October 17, 2018 at 4:18 am

    My comment Wednesday October 17, did not post though I submitted it twice. S.De K.

  14. michael
    October 17, 2018 at 4:16 am

    The main thing I appreciate about Consortium News is the comments, the observations of commentors is often more astute than the article itself. I was shocked when I tried to respond to a comment on John Kiriakou’s article on the FBI and whistleblowers which was less than 12 hours old (and has only a dozen comments), and received a message that “comments are closed”, which then also appeared under the story. Who’s censoring CN stories?

    • Joe Lauria
      October 17, 2018 at 4:26 am

      No one is censoring CN stories. The comments are closed on that article because a commenter repeatedly violated our comment policy by falsely and maliciously accusing Consortium News of censorship. The commenter was blocked, but created a new email address to repost the offending comment, which was deleted. The new email address was blocked, but new ones were created and had to blocked five times. To prevent this from occurring again comments on that article were closed. Because of the actions of one person everyone suffers.

      • mike k
        October 17, 2018 at 8:26 am

        Perhaps a false and malicious accusation of censorship could be countered by publishing it and publishing a response to it? Fear of false opinions should not outweigh fear of suppression of free speech.

        • Joe Lauria
          October 17, 2018 at 10:21 am

          It is not “fear of free speech” but application of the Comment Policy, which has just been reposted.

        • Tom Kath
          October 18, 2018 at 12:23 am

          Fair enough comment Mike, but we can’t expect or want Joe to conduct a “chat” forum here, responding reasonably to every unreasonable post.

      • michael
        October 17, 2018 at 9:51 am

        Wow,
        Any indication of who that person was affiliated with? Someone in government, someone unbalanced or both? Seems extreme to stop all comments on such a provocative article. I cannot imagine how bad the post was, but would think a measured response to that person’s post generally would have been viewed better by the CN community.
        Or it might be better to temporarily block new e-mail posters for a time, if technically feasible?

        • Joe Lauria
          October 17, 2018 at 10:12 am

          ” I cannot imagine how bad the post was”— Let me repeat myself. It was that this person kept posting the comment five times using new email addresses and there appeared to be no end of it. The only way to stop it was to close comments on that story.

  15. Tom Kath
    October 17, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Think of the quirk of “democracy”. Trump’s ONE STATE solution could work the same way it does in USA. You give all Jews and Palestinians the right to vote, but then gerrymander or count the votes so the desired group wins!

    • michael
      October 17, 2018 at 10:04 am

      The US isn’t and has never been a democracy. It is a constitutional republic, a compromise Sherman came up with to balance the Senate, each state two votes, with the House, crudely one (property owning) man, one vote. There is always grousing when a President wins the popular vote, as five out of 45 have, but loses the Electoral College. Constitutional amendments have to overcome a lot of vested interests.
      Gerrymandering could be prevented by proportional voting for representatives (the idea was gaining ground in the ’50s and ’60s), but LBJ made federal one member districts the law of the land in 1967. In theory that law could be more easily repealed but since the duopoly benefits, it won’t happen.

      • Tom Kath
        October 17, 2018 at 8:32 pm

        That’s what I meant by “quirk”. Democracy is a slippery term which too many see simply as permission to vote.

      • Sam F
        October 17, 2018 at 9:05 pm

        Etymologically democracy (from Greek) = republic (from Latin) = government by the people. There is a common misinterpretation of Aristotle’s Politics in that he calls small direct-vote cities “democracies” versus those with constitutions, which he calls “republics.” But nearly all democracies have been republics with constitutions for centuries.

        No doubt you were thinking of someone other than Sherman (WWI general). The Federalist Papers (Madison, Jay, and Hamilton) argued the point of Senate structure, and of course the Philadelphia Convention.

Comments are closed.