We are taught that the concept of "democracy" originated in the 'city-state' of Athens approximately 5 to 6 hundred years before the birth of Christ.

The population was small and homogeneous and limited to the confines of the city of Athens the size of a contemporary small or mid sized city by today's standards.

"The United States Census of 1790 was the first census of the whole United States. It recorded the population of the United States as of Census Day, August 2, 1790, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution and applicable laws. In the first census, the population of the United States was enumerated to be 3,929,214...."


"The original United States Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790(1 Stat. 103) provided the first rules to be followed by the United States in the granting of national citizenship. This law limited naturalization to immigrants who were free white persons of good character. It thus excluded American Indians, indentured servants, slaves, free blacks and later Asians although free blacks were allowed citizenship at the state level in certain states. It also provided for citizenship for the children of U.S. citizens born abroad, stating that such children "shall be considered asnatural born citizens," the only US statute ever to use the term. It specified that the right of citizenship did "not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States."[1][2][3]"


"The United States has an ethnically diverse population.[1] The United States Census officially recognizes six racial categories: White American, Black or African American, Native American and Alaska Native,Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and people of two or more races; a category called "some other race" is also used in the census and other surveys, but is not official.[2][3][4] The United States Census Bureau also classifies Americans as "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino", which identifies Hispanic and Latino Americans as an ethnicity (not arace) distinct from others, and comprising the largest minority group in the nation.[2][3][5]

The United States Supreme Court unanimously held that "race" is not limited to Census designations on the "race question" but extends to all ethnicities, and thus can include Jewish and Arab as well as Polish or Italian or Irish, etc.[6] In fact, the Census asks an "Ancestry Question" which covers the broader notion of ethnicity initially in the 2000 Census long form and now in the American Community Survey.

As of July 2016, white Americans are the racial majority. African Americans are the largest racial minority, amounting to 13.3% of the population. Hispanic and Latino Americans amount to 17.8% of the total U.S. population, making up the largest ethnic minority. The White, non-Hispanic or Latino population make up 61.3% of the nation's total, with the total White population (including White Hispanics and Latinos) being 76.9%.[7]

White Americans are the majority in every region[4] except Hawaii, but contribute the highest proportion of the population in the Midwestern United States, at 85% per the Population Estimates Program (PEP),[4] or 83% per the American Community Survey(ACS).[8][verification needed] Non-Hispanic Whites make up 79% of the Midwest's population, the highest ratio of any region.[5] However, 35% of White Americans (whether all White Americans or non-Hispanic/Latino only) live in the South, the most of any region.[4][5]

55% of the African American population lives in the South.[4] A plurality or majority of the other official groups reside in the West. This region is home to 42% of Hispanic and Latino Americans, 46% of Asian Americans, 48% of American Indians and Alaska Natives, 68% of Native Hawaiians andOther Pacific Islanders, 37% of the "two or more races" population (Multiracial Americans), and 46% of those self-designated as "some other race".[4][9]"


In 1790, there were 807,094 white  males "of 16 years or more".

At that time, the states generally limited the right to vote to property-owning  or tax-paying white males.

Today, there are more than 300 million people currently living in the United States. 200 million people are registered to vote

So here's the question:

Is the voting population of the United States too large and too diverse for Democracy to work effectively? 

Views: 309

Comment by koshersalaami on December 24, 2017 at 7:00am


Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on December 24, 2017 at 7:12am

Nope.  The voting population of the United States is just fine.

The problem is that the political candidates are not diverse enough.  Thanks to the two party duopoly that is inflicted upon us, with its pre-ordained "winners", we have repeatedly been offered the choice of Brand A "Lesser evilism" cola and Brand B "Lesser evilism" cola which tastes exactly the same because it is made from the exact same ingredients, using the same recipe, in the same corporately owned factory.

Stop the locking out of third parties (thereby preventing them from becoming truly viable) and you will see change.  Till you do, via your support of the "Big Two That Are Really One" you get (and deserve) what they give you.

Comment by koshersalaami on December 24, 2017 at 7:34am

That and the fact that both political parties have effectively locked out their own memberships. Kind of like what happened in microcosm inside the NRA, the corporate supporters bought the leadership and restructured the power centers of the country to perpetuate their own power (such as reducing FCC enforcement of limiting common ownership of media outlets in metropolitan areas). I don't think the Republican rank and file likes all this getting rid of the inheritance tax stuff and enormous deficit spending and the Democratic Party is being run by a DNC that is corporatist (and not diverse) in a way the membership is not. 

I'm not sure I agree with Amy that it will be more efficient to support third parties than to take over the existing parties. That would be an interesting logistical discussion, not to mention a valuable one. 

But I absolutely agree with Amy that the voting population is not the problem. Even if true, the priorities of the majority of the public are so ignored by those in power at the moment that we can't even tell if they're the problem, because they're mostly politically impotent. 

Comment by Steel Breeze on December 24, 2017 at 7:44am

the trick is to capture the attention of that '100 million'....who so far are not 'involved'...

Comment by Phyllis on December 24, 2017 at 7:52am

What Steel said. People need to vote, and when half of the voting age public sits on their hands, nothing is going to change. 

Voting is what we have to work with. If you want it to change you have to elect people who are willing to change it.

Comment by marshall bjohnson on December 24, 2017 at 8:23am

capitalism -practiced by nearly all of us populace has far surpassed democracy in terms of importance. people act in their self-interest, people act as sheep, people want safety and freedom - ideals they believe can be bought. an active democracy may help create the conditions for safety and freedom but people like to create binaries- simple choices so they don't have to engage. do we want a meritocracy or a communal society? do we want predatory capitalism where there are winners and losers? do we want to exclude others? i live in the epicenter of white flight and fear- the result is rich, unsustainable suburbs surrounding depleting inner city...poorest living standards for blacks, latinos and whites in syracuse in the country...there are no easy answers when every child in us has a smart phone - they are inured against democracy-they are thrilled with the latest msg from their friends...schools are bankrupt. institutions are morally bankrupt...foucault named them all in his classic The Order of  Things...people will need to die in the street for things to change- and they have the tyrant to facilitate that...

Comment by koshersalaami on December 24, 2017 at 8:38am

Capitalism isn't being practiced optimally. In order to function properly it needs a lot of regulation, otherwise it leads to a social Darwinian nightmare where even production and supply and demand suffer. What amazes me most about the Republicans is how blind business is to policies that decimate all business with the exception of those big enough to make money gaming the system. Actually, not about Republicans but about the business community - after all, Democrats are too stupid to figure out how liberal policies help business and take advantage of that. 

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on December 24, 2017 at 9:24am

"What amazes me most about the Republicans is how blind business is to policies that decimate all business with the exception of those big enough to make money gaming the system."

"Those big enough" ARE the problem!  Ma & Pa Kettle's buggy whip store isn't the problem because if buggy whips go out of demand they go bankrupt.  "Those Big Enough"s (aka Multinationals and/or firms like Bain Capital & Goldman Sachs) have a vested interest in sucking a specific industry dry then moving on to the next then the next.   It isn't a matter of being "blind" it is being too damn big to care.

Comment by Ron Powell on December 24, 2017 at 9:47am

To be effective and viable, Democracy requires the active participation of a well informed and knowledgeable citizenry.

How can Democracy be sustained in a political and social environment which is marked by lethargy, apathy, complacency, indifference, ignorance, and stupidity?

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on December 24, 2017 at 11:27am

Despite Ron's latest comment, I have no idea why diversity and numbers would be harmful to Democracy, particularly when I consider that the politics of 1790 was so much less expansive than it is here, now. I think the premise of Ron's query makes little sense. The 1790 system was, if anything, by definition thoroughly gamed.


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