With Hong Kong in the process of being consumed by the CCP and America’s Capitols under constant threat, here are two brief lessons on how shaping the rules of an Election can be used to erode a democracy.
How the CCP used Electoral rulemaking to shape Hong Kong power in its favor and how the Republican Party is doing the same in America are lessons those of us who care for democracy, our Constitution, and the Rule of Law must understand.
Hong Kong’s election system has been heavily tilted to favor pro-Beijing candidates (essentially pro-CCP) since its decolonialization. That system was designed to favor commercial and business interests with social, economic, and financial ties to the CCP. Even the head of government for Hong Kong, the Chief Executive, is elected by an Election Committee that is made up with majority pro-Beijing electors and she must be appointed by the CCP. Hong Kong could never elect its leader directly with a majority voice, the hallmark of a democracy.
In the U.S., electoral gimmicking takes form in gerrymandering, voter suppression, and currently electoral usurpation — the move by current Republican controlled state legislatures to retain the option to overrule their state’s popular vote for President. Instead of binding the electoral votes to the will of the people, Republican politicians in several states have resorted to creating a farce of popular will, the bedrock of democracy, while maintaining complete control of who they want in power. This has taken the form of consolidating election power away from independent boards and Secretaries of State into political control and working tirelessly to make voting as unbearable as possible for Black, Brown, and Asian voters (all of which tend to vote Democrat) in what has been called a “new Jim Crow” by leading Civil Rights organizations like the NAACP — an organization dedicated to the fight for racial equality for over one hundred years, including segregation and voter discrimination.
Both tactics seek to consolidate election power into partisan parties. Whether that is the CCP in Hong Kong or Republicans in the U.S.
In Hong Kong, Carrie Law, the Chief Executive, single-handedly postponed the elections using the pandemic as an excuse to deprive pro-democracy activists of momentum and say in the creeping overtake by the CCP. She effectively bought the CCP time in maintaining a stranglehold on power. That is what those who greed for power do, they use every excuse to maintain power for power’s sake.
What is more troubling however, is she announced postponing the election on Thursday July 30th, 2020.
Donald Trump, suggested on Twitter that America should do the same. On the same day Hong Kong announced it was delaying its elections. While, thankfully, he did not wield that power, the Republican President would have used the same tactic Carrie Lam and the CCP used.
What to Do
Power is something that must be handled by those with a sense of duty, responsibility, and devotion to the rule of law in our democracy. We, as individuals, must look at who we vote for, who our donations go towards, and what our companies do with their power. Standing up for democracy requires us to be all-in. No half-measures of “strong” statements. You need to exercise your right to vote. And that requires us to vote for the right politicians and weigh the need to maintain a democracy as greater than our own personal interests.