A party which blurs Far-Right and Middle-Right just got a parliamentary majority in India with only 31% of the vote.
This is not a uniquely Indian problem! Leftists often think it’s not sexy enough to focus on, but electoral reform is something we have to actually take up. In order to legitimize a socialist revolution, we are going to need a socialist electoral movement first.
Otherwise we just seem like we are coming out of the blue with a putsch by people who have no track record, public familiarity, or legitimacy.
These sorts of legal reforms — are they disconnected from people’s immediate economistic passions? I don’t think so. I think people in the USA care about democracy. Now of course, the classic rule applies, that if you offer people wimpy reforms they don’t give a damn but if you advocate sweeping systemic change they are more likely to turn out, so watch the video about voting from your smartphone.
Actually this is one more wedge we can drive. If we fix the system’s ridiculous archaic electoral laws, some might think that we are only further legitimizing the fundamentally broken electoral system. The opposite is true. We are further exposing it. We are drawing an even sharper line between the professionals who run the system and the people who feel constantly locked on the outside. We are proving that the professional bureaucrats cannot even run their rigged system properly, let alone un-rig it.
At some point we are going to have to begin casting suspicion on the legitimacy of the state itself. The best way to do this is not to yell at it from the sidelines, but to get people involved in concrete fights over its machinery while at the same time providing a vision of a radically more democratic system.