Voting shenanigans in the land of Oscaristan
Author: - February 20, 2010 - Updated: February 20, 2010
Politi-Flix is amazed that there has been so little reporting of the breakdown of democracy in the balkanized and secretive Oscaristan. With all the attention being paid to the election discrepancies in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and the stifling of dissent and access to outside media in these countries as well as places like China, it’s to be expected that the scandals in Oscaristan would get lost in the din.
But we here at Politi-Flix are not about to let this go. We are endeavoring to bring the travesties of Oscaristan to your (and the world’s) attention so that you can do something about it — whether that be to boycott Oscaristan’s March 7 world-wide broadcast of its annual glamorous election ceremony, or refuse to buy any of the goods and services that Oscaristan supplies to your malls and entertainment districts.
Oscaristan has been perpetrating an elitist, anti-democratic agenda since 1929 — the very year of the global economic crash that led to the Great Depression. Coincidence? It has been doing this in secret, where a select group of individuals gather together, exchange secret ballots, and develop a list of who will win important contests for honor, recognition, wealth and glory.
Up to now, the unwitting populous of Oscaristan has been oblivious to this travesty. Oh sure, there have been the occasional odd results of winners in previous elections, but these have been shrugged off as favoritism, payback to certain factions, incompetence, judicial activism, or simply to be expected in Oscaristan’s societal structure.
But recent reforms in Oscaristan have begun to shine a bright, luminous spotlight on these past transgressions and have caused many to call for an accounting.
Recently, the secret powerbrokers in Oscaristan have decided to double the number of candidates who can run for highest honor. This was done in order to seemingly promote greater acceptance by the populous of Oscaristan; the more candidates eligible to run for the highest honor, the more people will be willing to participate in the celebration. This was felt necessary as apathy has been growing in Oscaristan.
But, they only allowed this reform for the highest honor in Oscaristan; those very same powerbrokers refused to apply such reforms to a host of other elections all down the ticket. The unfairness is appalling! These other races involve people who work hard and pour their heart and soul out for the benefit of others. They deserve the chance to have a shot at being elected as much as those for the highest honor in Oscaristan.
And, even more shockingly, Oscaristan tried this very system in the past and yet abandoned it, as it was too unwieldy (unfair? misguided?)! And yet now, while we are again in a global economic crisis, Oscaristan’s elite is bringing back this very same travesty.
If that were not bad enough, with this reform of the number of candidates for only one race, the behind-the-scenes wheeler-and-dealers in Oscaristan have preserved the same skewed voting system that it has used many years since that first global economic malaise. Unfortunately for us (fortunately for them?), the kingpins of Oscaristan have made this voting system exceedingly complicated — and secret. So, it’s been hard to piece together this scheme. But, we here at Politi-Flix will do our best to unspool this and show just how horrifying it is.
First, and most undemocratic, Oscaristan refuses to elect its winners by popular vote! Just because a candidate is well-liked and supported by Oscaristan’s ticket-buying throngs does not mean that it will be selected. In fact, the people behind Oscaristan’s curtain have been loath to even nominate these candidates. After all, just what do these very throngs know about what they want and what is worthy of selection for highest honors? Because this transgression has been so glaring — especially last year when one particularly popular cape-wearing candidate was snubbed — Oscaristan has resurrected the doubling of the nomination ballot.
Second, Oscaristan turns a deaf ear to those whose very job it is to extensively examine each and every potential candidate for their fitness to win the Oscaristan elections. These people, who think about, assess, compare, critique, argue, and marvel at these candidates, are not even allowed to cast ballots. They are not even allowed to join the popular throngs by voting with their feet and wallets as they get access to the candidates for free. Not only that, but Oscaristan has been endeavoring to silence these very voices — hampering their free speech rights — by working tirelessly to make them irrelevant to the throngs who partake of Oscaristan’s economic output.
Third, Oscaristan preselects candidates through favoritism. If the handlers behind the powers that be think a candidate should be given special consideration, they will make sure that this candidate is widely seen by the citizenry. Anyone that they disfavor will be relegated to out-of-the-way venues, or even banished to foreign display circuits, where very few if any in Oscaristan can hear or see them.
Fourth, Oscaristan uses the equivalent of an “electoral college.” No matter what the citizenry may say about the legitimacy or viability of potential candidates, there is a cabal of members (and just how one can get to be a member is a mystery) of some secret guard called the “Academy” that puts together a list of candidates from which the final winners are drawn. No one knows just how they arrive at these selections, and the leaders of Oscaristan like to keep it that way.
Fifth, even among Oscaristan’s secret guard, the voting system is rigged so that it could potentially produce odd or skewed results. That’s because these “voters” use a system called “instant runoff” — that’s where the electorate is asked to rank a list of nominees (remember the flaws with producing this list mentioned above) and discern a majority winner. In some cases, such a winner can be obvious — that is, when a majority list the winner as their first choice. But if there is no such obvious choice, the system allows second, third, fourth and fifth choices to be aggregated to candidates that many — and possibly most — felt were unworthy and yet eventually receive a majority of the votes through this aggregation process.
This is the system that has been — and will be — used by Oscaristan in this election cycle. It means that we will be in the dark as to who might win on March 7th. And, if the results are surprisingly odd and disappointing, Oscaristan may have only itself to blame.
But we will never be able to help Oscaristan impose more fair and acceptable voting systems. That’s because Oscaristan uses a super-secret vote counting accounting firm to tabulate the results. We are never — ever — allowed to see these results, which are locked in a vault or in a bomb-proof briefcase chained to some accounting tuff’s arm. Without this “sunshine” outside the darkened rooms of the “power guard” of Oscaristan, we will never know the truth about how many votes each candidate received and if these were in fact the worthiest of contenders.
You are now in possession of the election indiscretions of Oscaristan. Politi-Flix hopes that armed with this knowledge reforms will be forthcoming. Nevertheless, we know that this is a very entrenched system and that is hard for any one person to effectuate change. After all, life outside the confines of Oscaristan must go on.
And, as many in Oscaristan are heard to say, “Our system is the worst system yet devised — except for all the others!”
Doug Young is The Statesman’s outstanding film critic. He works for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall as an environmental policy advisor.