The American Dictatorship

Eric Zuesse

Even for the post of U.S. President, the preferences of the American people have only a marginal, if any, impact upon the selection of the person to occupy that post.

In Colorado’s Republican race to win delegates to the Republican National Convention for selecting the Republican Presidential nominee, there was no primary, and there was no caucus. As the Republican magazine National Review headlined on April 11th, attempting to justify what a Republican wag had just headlined as “Cruz Celebrates Voterless Win”: “Donald Trump Laid a Colorado Goose Egg because He Was Disorganized and Amateurish.” Their argument (since they campaign for any Republican but Trump) was: he lost “because he was disorganized and amateurish” — not because he had been cheated by the Party-hierarchy.

National Review explained that, in the process which had been set up by the Colorado Republican Party (it’s set up by each individual state’s Republican Party, not by the National Republican Party), “delegates to the national convention would be selected at congressional-district conventions and the Republican’s state convention” [NR’s illiterate writer there meant “the Republicans’ state convention” and couldn’t distinguish between “Republican’s” and “Republicans’,” so used the wrong one], and this was done in order to “give Colorado’s delegates more flexibility,” not done in order to require delegates to reflect the Republican (or any other) electorate in Colorado (since NR doesn’t like even its own Party’s electorate). 

This was the explanation that was provided by that magazine, which backs Cruz, and which has been campaigning ferociously against Trump. Their article was built upon, and extensively quoted, the justifications put forth by one particular Cruz delegate, who said, “The grassroots made the decision that Ted Cruz was the best candidate for us, and the grassroots made the decision to come out for Cruz and absolutely swept the table.” He called it “our caucus system.” Whatever it was, it shut out all rank-and-file Republican voters, and left everything to people like himself, who could afford to do this: “You have to put in the work, you have to put in the effort, and you have to do it months ahead of time.” In other words: only Republican Party activists in Colorado could participate in selecting the delegates who would participate in selecting the Republican nominee. No one else was allowed to. Their conception of the Colorado Republican Party is that it’s only the Party’s activists; and, if you’re not a Republican activist, you have no say. It’s as if to say: Only people who work in the government can have a say in how the government is to be run. It’s for insiders only — and, of course, indirectly it’s for whomever pays those insiders and so enables them to “put in the work” to participate.

National Public Radio had a different take on this matter. Steve Inskeep headlined there, “GOP Delegate: Trump Primary Wins ‘Absolutely Irrelevant’ At Convention.” He interviewed Curly Haughland, a member of the Republican National Committee who lives in North Dakota, and who said: “No matter what the popular belief might be, … there is no connection between primaries and the actual convention.” Well, that’s putting it rather bluntly. Haughland:

“cited the GOP’s convention Rules 37 and 38. He interprets these convoluted rules to mean that delegates may ‘vote their conscience.’ The rules do not explicitly say this. Rule 37 is a detailed explanation of the procedure for roll-call votes. However, Rule 38 does say that no delegate may be ‘bound’ by the ‘unit rule,’ meaning that delegates from a state can’t all be forced to vote the same way. … Another of Haughland’s points is indisputable: ‘When the convention convenes,’ he said, ‘the delegates adopt their own rules, which haven’t been adopted yet.’ There is a standard template for conventions, but delegates could tweak the template, changing the game in any way that they want.”

In other words: the National Republican Committee says that all of the delegates to the Republican National Convention are allowed to “tweak the template, changing the game in any way that they want.”

So: the delegates at that Convention won’t actually be representing anyone but themselves there — they are entirely free to push for anyone whom they personally want to win the Republican U.S. Presidential nomination. They’re not bound, not even on the first ballot. They might pretend to be, if they feel a need to put on a show that looks ‘democratic’, but any who don’t feel the need to make such a pretense, can do whatever they want on the first ballot, just like on any successive ballot. They are free; all of them are free. It’s only the electorate who aren’t — they’re not represented, at all.

What about on the Democratic side? Wyoming had held its Democratic Party caucuses August 9th, and there really were caucuses. Two days later, CNN headlined “Wyoming Democratic Caucuses: Bernie Sanders Picks Up Another Win”, and reported: “Bernie Sanders won the Wyoming Democratic caucuses Saturday, providing his campaign with one more jolt of momentum before the race against Hillary Clinton heads east. Even so, he made no gains in Clinton’s delegate lead, as each earned seven delegates as a result. On April 12th a youtube was posted, “MSNBC Morning Host Admits The ‘Whole Voting System Is Rigged’ After Bernie Get’s Cheated!” Here the co-hosts had a conversation about the results: “Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by twelve points, 56 to 44, … He wins by twelve points.” The accompanying image showed the delegate-count, in this contest that Sanders had won by 56% to 44%: “18 total. Hillary Clinton 11, Bernie Sanders 7.” It wasn’t 7 to 7, after all. Though Sanders had outscored Clinton by 12%, it was worse than even-steven for him; he had actually lost by 11 delegates to 7 delegates. “This system is so rigged!” said one host. “There’s absolutely no reason any of those people voted,” said the other. A Hillary Clinton supporter was the ‘expert’ on the panel, and he said, “It’s not rigged. These are the rules.” He wasn’t given time to explain that fine point — or how “the rules” were necessarily “not rigged.” Also on April 12th, Public Radio International’s Todd Zwillich headlined (falsely), “Six Reasons Bernie Sanders Won Wyoming, But Still Tied in the Delegate Race”, and Zwillig failed to explain that word “Tied.” He opened: “How, many of you ask, could Bernie have won Wyoming 56 percent to Hillary’s 44 percent, but still split the delegates with her 50-50?” Then, he repeated that there had supposedly been “The 7-7 split,” but he also said “Wyoming has a total of 18 delegates” (which obviously isn’t the sum of 7+7) and he was also likewise incoherent, all the way through. 

Maybe, “the rules” in the Wyoming Democratic Party are like that; but, whatever they are, is so convoluted, America’s news-media couldn’t explain what they were, much less were they able to argue persuasively that this was somehow a democracy.

The only thing that’s clear is that the electoral system in the United States is so convoluted, so complex and so different from state to state and party to party, that whatever the intent of the writers of America’s Constitution might have been, the system as it is today, can be successfully gamed and won only by interests who can afford to spend whatever billions of dollars are necessary in order to win. It’s certainly anything but democratic.

Right now, there are only two Presidential candidates who are shown repeatedly, and almost consistently, to be preferred by the majority of the U.S. electorate, across all parties and no party: the Democrat Bernie Sanders is strongly preferred over the Republicans Trump and Cruz, and he is barely preferred over the Republican Kasich; and the Republican Kasich is strongly preferred over the Democrat Clinton. (Clinton loses strongly to Kasich and barely beats Cruz, while Trump is the weakest general-election candidate of all.) 

The strongest general-election candidates are, clearly, Sanders in the Democratic Party, and Kasich in the Republican Party. In a democracy, those would be the candidates. Throughout the contest thus far, neither of these two has been favored likely to win his respective Party’s nomination, much less the Presidency.

Whatever America is, it isn’t a democracy — a one-person-one-vote majority-rule republic. In fact, the only scientific study that has ever been done of the U.S. political system, finds that it’s no “democracy” at all, but instead an “oligarchy,” a nation ruled by its aristocracy, its billionaires. It represents them, not the citizenry. That might not be the theory, but empirically it is the fact. An oligarchy is the commonest type of dictatorship, and it certainly is never a ‘benevolent dictatorship,’ even if that phrase is not an oxymoron in itself.

To sum up: the U.S. is ruled by and for the corrupters. Or, at least, this study showed that it has been like that since at least 1980.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • tom

    “[T]he two political parties are the two wings of the same bird of prey. The people are allowed to choose between their candidates, and both of them are controlled, and all their nominations are dictated by, the same money power”.

    – Upton Sinclair, 1905

    • You got that right tom. Mar 2, 2014 Jeremy Scahill: The One Party State, The War Party

      Is the United States of America an Oligarchy? During the 2014 ISFLC, Jeremy Scahill speaks on the fact that in today’s world behemoth corporations are able to buy off politicians and pull the strings to impact legislature.

  • tom

    ‘A Hillary Clinton supporter was the ‘expert’ on the panel, and he said, “It’s not rigged. These are the rules.”’

    It’s rigged BY the rules – that’s always the best way.

  • SteveThom

    Here is a look at Ted Cruz’s upcoming meet and greet at the NYC Harvard Club and how much donors are expected to pay to attend:

    So much for Mr. Cruz and his populist views on Wall Street.

    • FYI – Sep 26, 2013 Ted Cruz’s Corporate Contributors

      Much of his personal wealth is tied to the financial firm as well. “Americans owe Senator Ted Cruz a debt of gratitude,” a Club for … firm Baker Botts’ corporate PAC — it contributed $7,500 to his campaign. … A vote for another politician; Ask Ted how much big banks backed him legislate law like TPP?

  • Michael McNew

    People who are awake to what is going on in the nation need to seize the opportunity to get other people away from conformist thinking, mainstream media and other tools of mind control.

    As there ever been more blatant exercise of power, coercion and manipulation in an election year than there is today? And the media justifies it. People can be reached — so throw them a line. Approach them, get them questioning. If the powers-that-be get away with it this year you may as well forget representation of the people in the future. Just helping one person break away from the matrix chips away at the power structure that is suffocating free thought today.

  • Apr 14, 2016 Complete MSM Blackout as Americans Protest Their Fake Presidential Election Process

    Over 500 people have been arrested now for “unlawful demonstration activity” as protests against our rigged presidential election process continue on Capitol Hill this week with over a thousand people showing up in just that one city alone, maybe more.

  • Ted Overton

    Putin does more spying and manipulation of individuals in the USA
    than the NSA has ever done !
    True or False?

  • Apr 11, 2016 US elections a ‘charade’ – Ron Paul

    Colorado’s process of electing GOP delegates drew condemnation from front-runner Donald Trump and voters alike. But he’s not the first politician to get shut-out of a rigged system. Former Republican candidate Dr. Ron Paul discusses what he calls the ‘charade’ of US elections with RT America’s Lindsay France.

  • MyWikiDisQus

    Ted Cruz is not eligible to be elected president. He is not a person born or naturalized in the U.S. per the Constitution. He is a citizen by federal statute (Title 8 USC) alone and no where in that statute is any person who is granted citizenship by birth (Cruz) or by the alien naturalization process is deemed to be ‘natural born’. For whatever reason, the congress omitted the granting of natural born status to persons qualifying for U.S. citizenship under the current statutory law enacted under Title 8 USC. The qualification for president explicitly requires a candidate to be natural born, there can be no confusion or doubt about that.

    Ted Cruz is a U.S. citizen entitled to all the rights and privileges of citizenship with the exception of being able to run for the Office of President of the United States because his legal right to citizenship did not include the distinction of being ‘natural born’. Natural born is not a nebulous term, it has a specific and historical meaning in common law parlance as a position of standing and a legislative body can bestow or deny such a privilege as it sees fit.

    If this presidential ‘birther’ issue is brought before the federal judiciary (assuming it is justiciable), they must refrain from the temptation to infer what the U.S. Congress meant or implied as they have often done in the past such as the recent landmark case dealing with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”). Judicial activism is a dark pool filled with the waters of potential tyranny as Americans are currently suffering with being forced to buy health insurance or be penalized and also having to compete with corporate money used to fund political campaigns which sadly are nothing more than payola seeking legislative favors.

    • fuster

      you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.

      although he’s certainly no credit to the nation, Cruz is a citizen by birth and entirely eligible.

      • MyWikiDisQus

        I clearly wrote Ted Cruz is a U.S. citizen by birth, how did that escape you?

        The point of law that I made is his citizenship standing was solely accorded to him by federal statute which does not include the additional right of being deemed ‘natural born’. I suggest you read Title 8 USC for yourself and you will see that nowhere does it confer upon him or anyone else including an alien who applies for naturalization, the privilege of being considered natural born. Therefore Cruz is not eligible to be president.

        See: .

        • fuster

          read the Constitution . learn what it means

          Cruz is eligible and a court challenge to his eligibility has been defeated

          ” the more persuasive legal analysis is that such a child, born of a citizen-father, citizen-mother, or both, is indeed a ‘natural born Citizen’ within the contemplation of the Constitution.”

          • MyWikiDisQus

            It is you that has failed to read the U.S. Constitution, not me. No where in the constitution does it say that an alien born to U.S. parents is deemed to be naturally born.

            The challenge to Cruz’s presidential eligibility in Illinois was not defeated but dismissed due to the plaintiff failing to serve Cruz with the complaint (see: ). The other case in Houston has not been scheduled yet. As far as your quote, it is not from the U.S. Constitution nor is it from any federal statute passed by the Congress of the United States or a federal court ruling. It’s some person’s opinion, regardless of their stature in the legal community.

            Let me simplify it for you … how can a person be naturally born in one or more countries at the same time? It is an impossibility and therefore the only way for a person to be considered naturally born in a country other than the nation where the birth occurred is by a legislative act. Does Title 8 USC award the right of being natural born to an alien at birth (Part I, applicable to Cruz) or an alien granted citizenship by naturalization (Part II)? The answer is no.

            Since Ted Cruz is a U.S. citizen by virtue of this federal statute alone and not the constitution, he cannot be affirmed to be “natural born” as the law proscribed that right of title by omission and therefore is ineligible to hold the Office of the President of the
            United States.

          • fuster

            child, go to school if you want to learn Con Law.

            ” The Constitution directly addresses the minimum qualifications necessary to serve as President. In addition to requiring thirty-five years of age and fourteen years of residency, the Constitution limits the presidency to “a natural born Citizen.”

            1. U.S. Const. art. II, § 1, cl. 5.

            ” All the sources routinely used to interpret the Constitution confirm that the phrase “natural born Citizen” has a specific meaning: namely, someone who was a U.S. citizen at birth with no need to go through a naturalization proceeding at some later time. And Congress has made equally clear from the time of the framing of the Constitution to the current day that, subject to certain residency requirements on the parents, someone born to a U.S. citizen parent generally becomes a U.S. citizen without regard to whether the birth takes place in Canada, the Canal Zone, or the continental United States.”



            no court supported your opinion. and courts have repudiated it.

            you can be correct in your own mind….. but you’re full of spit in the real world.

          • MyWikiDisQus

            Your coarse rebuttal to me is wasted.

            The Harvard Law Review article you included is an opinion by two prominent attorneys at law (Messrs Katyal and Clement) who both served in a number of high official positions within the federal court system as well as teaching law but never acted in a capacity as judge in either a State or federal trial or appellate court in the United States where they had to render a decision in a criminal or civil case.

            The authors’ commentary are based on legal proceedings from pre-constitution British common law and U.S. federal statutes that were in place in early American history. For example they cite documents where subjects of the King of England born abroad were considered natural born citizens. I say to you; who cares what the musings of British jurists wrote? In case it escaped you, the American colonists separated its tether from English law and economic control on July 4, 1776.

            The article goes on to refer to the first congress of the United States that enacted the Naturalization Act of 1790 which explicitly declared children board abroad of parents who were U.S. citizens being granted the right of natural born status. However the authors conveniently left out the fact the Act of 1790 was repealed in 1795 and replaced with a naturalization act that did not include natural born status for foreign born children of U.S. parents in addition to their U.S. citizenship birth right.

            The authors then go on to write regarding Ted Cruz “… has been a citizen from birth and is thus a natural born within the meaning of the Constitution.” However the constitution never defined what constitutes a “natural born” citizen and left it up to the Congress to do so. The constitution only addresses persons born or naturalized in the U.S. and makes only reference to such persons as citizens, not natural born citizens. As I wrote earlier, the Act of 1790 was repealed and the subject of natural born was never again written into any of the subsequent naturalization acts signed into public law.

            To summarize, when a federal statute omits a point of law from an act such as what was not incorporated into Title 8 USC, that being the entitlement of being natural born for foreign born U.S. children, it must be allowed to stand on its own and not be ruled otherwise by a “venture in activism” from a judge or justice who attempts to extrapolate beyond what the congress intended or did not intend.

            Again, Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president because he doesn’t meet the constitutional requirement of being natural born due to the omission of the natural born status anywhere under Title 8 USC which is the only federal body of law where Cruz can be granted citizenship due to his birth in the foreign country of Canada to a U.S. citizen parent.

          • fuster

            I previously posted to you notice that a challenge to Cruz’s eligibility was tossed out by a judge.

            you simply don’t know the law.

            if you wish to keep insisting on telling people the law, you should how attended a law school…or in some other way earned the right to pontificate.

            instead you repeatedly spout an opinion that has never been accepted…but has been rejected several times.

          • MyWikiDisQus

            As I stated earlier, the case in question (i.e., Illinois, supra) was dismissed due to a procedural flaw by the plaintiff; it was not a ruling by the judge as to the subject matter of the complaint. How many times do I have to explain that fact before you understand it or do you simply have a reading disability?

            My personal opinion as to Ted Cruz’s presidential ineligibility is based on constitution law (Article I, II and the 14th Amendment) and Title 8 USC which is the statutory law that governs foreign births to parents who are U.S citizens and legal immigrants who seek U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process. If you object to that I am sorry for you but it is my constitutional right known as free speech. But then how would you know that since it is apparent you are incapable of comprehending simple discourse and have to rely on other peoples’ research and outright flippant remarks to bolster your shallow and unsubstantiated arguments.

            Your last remark shows your ignorance on this topic as there are legal historians who share the same position as myself (see: ).

            I suggest you try and think this issue through for yourself step by step instead of cherry picking adverse opinions on this topic and blindly standing by them.

          • fuster

            see the New Jersey case

          • MyWikiDisQus

            I grow weary of your brusque posts where you expect me to do the leg work to point out facts of the matter. But I will indulge you one last time out of basic courtesy alone.

            The New Jersey case (ALJ Masin, presiding) and the Pennsylvania case (Senior Judge Pellegrini, presiding) both ruled that Ted Cruz is a natural born citizen and is eligible to be on their respective State election ballots for president.

            Two State courts have ruled on this issue in favor of Cruz but there are other cases pending (see: ).

            My opinion is unchanged; Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president and until a federal court rules he is eligible it will remain so.

          • fuster

            why not insist your opinion wont change before SCOTUS disposes of the matter?

          • MyWikiDisQus

            Do you agree with everything lawyers and judges tell you: in matters of law, education, economics, foreign affairs, religion, etc? I don’t. I am a free man born into a republican form of government who reserves the right to my muse whether others including politicians, bureaucrats and yes even you, choose to opine otherwise.

            As a further note, the aforementioned decisions regarding Cruz’s eligibility to be on the ballot in New Jersey and Pennsylvania were based on common law precedent (i.e., Stare decisis) and legal commentary outside written judicial decisions in effect, not statutory law such as enacted by a legislative body. The rulings by the two judges were done principally to expedite the political process for the coming presidential election. If you read the one page decision by the case appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (the highest appellate court), you can quickly conclude the matter was “rubber stamped” as the judges simply affirmed the lower court (Pellegrini) ruling without writing any commentary of their own.

            It is shocking how the judicial system in this country has been poisoned by the political system and yet it’s been that way since the very beginning of the nation. So much for equal justice of the law.

          • fuster

            I believe a pretty fair amount of what I was taught in my undergrad studies of law, legal history, political philosophy and far amount of what I learned in law school

            as well as in my independent study of the history and development of the common law and of American law.

            you’re free to believe whatever you wish, no matter how ill-conceived and erroneous

          • MyWikiDisQus

            Thank you.