Joe Nation wrote:
Thanks for the 'sorry' with the 'shallow', but if your final paragraph is true, and it may well be, then the results must have been unintended consequences, but I don't believe that for a minute. The system of elections was set up so that people just like them (Any carpenters, oxmen, wheelwrights or tinkers at the Convention? hmmm?) would control just who would get to work the controls of the new nation. Did they do that unconsciously? Someone should ask Abigail Adams.
Perhaps you'd have an argument if you could demonstrate how the composition of the Senate, or the electoral process, has assured that only an elite were members of the government. Your more vague reference to those who attended the convention does not either address the issue of how any part of the constitution mitigates against mediocrity or for elitism in the United States government.
It was elitism in it's best sense, but still elitist and probably necessary to get the nation off the ground.
You fail to demonstrate how either the creation of the Senate, or of the electoral college, assured an elite in government. You have failed to respond to Thomas' call for a political elite by your references to the United States Constitution because of your failure to demonstrate how any part of that document promotes elitism, or prevents mediocrity in government office.
Andrew Jackson began his adult life as a mule-skinner. Abraham Lincoln worked as a clerk in a general store, and split rails in his spare time for the extra cash.
I have argued against the claim that the constitution enshrines elitism, and have done so from the perspective of how and why the measures to which you allude (the Senate and the electoral college) were created; and i have argued against the proposition that there has been a political elite in our nation's history.
Thomas called for a political elite to govern us, on much the same principle that we apply when we want the best doctor, or the best plumber, when we need the services of either of those professions. My consistent position has been that, first, no reasonable definition has been advanced of what would constitute an identifiable member of an elite class of people best fitted to serve in government; and, second, that the profession of politics attracts people who desire power and control. In regard to this latter point, i see no reason to assume the the profession of practical politics is going to attract any kind of elite, other than those with exceptional skills in manipulating public perceptions. Of course, if that is what Thomas has in mind for his political elite, i'd say he has nothing to worry about--that system is already in place.
Americans like the idea of democracy, but those in power are always finding ways to slow things down in order to keep control. Example: the selection of delegates by election or caucus is almost entirely offset by the system of superdelegates who somehow choose themselves.
I don't personally consider myself (or you) as qualified to say definitively either what Americans genuinely like or what "those in power" (a sufficiently vague description of an amorphous group) do or can do to "keep control." Primary elections and caucuses are productions of the machinery of the political parties, and are not provided for in the Constitution, nor are they carved in stone. If it is deplorable that such things continue as they do, i'd have to say that were a symptom of the apathy of the American public who you claim so much like the idea of democracy. Is that like it as in "i like that idea, but don't expect me to get up off the sofa to do anything about it?"