The Masses

From Thinking the Twentieth Century by Tony Judt:

“Mass democracy in an age of mass media means that on the one hand, you can reveal very quickly that Bush stole the 2000 election, but on the other hand, much of the population doesn’t care.”

Or agree. And thinks it was all for the best.

Judt argues that it would have been more difficult for the Republicans to steal the election in an era of limited suffrage, because the people eligible to participate in the election would have cared more about the outcome. He doesn’t think that this is an argument for limited democracy, but rather for democracy in which the rule of law and the separation of powers have key roles.

All of which we had in 2000, of course. Even in a mass democracy, an individual or a small group (like the Congress or Supreme Court) almost always get to decide. The nine people on the Supreme Court cared a lot about the outcome of the 2000 election. Five of them cared too much.

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