We hear many concerns these days about “our democracy.” We do not have a democracy. The Founders were unapologetically elitist. They created a republic in which the best (white) men would govern.
We now have many objections to their original idea. We now believe that skin color should not matter in choosing our representatives, nor genital configuration. We have amended their constitution to reflect our new beliefs about how we will govern ourselves. We have passed statutes to try to implement those beliefs more fully.
We are, thus, more democratic now than the Founders intended. The Constitution in some ways prevents further democratization because of the structure and method of governing it creates. The Senate allots two members to each state, so that very thinly populated states like North Dakota and Wyoming have the same number of votes as densely populated California. In the House of Representatives, which allots seats by population, in contrast, California has 53 seats. The Constitution ensures every state at least one member of the House, and seven states have only one member. The Senate is inherently anti democratic.
Also, as we have seen twice in the last 20 years, we do not choose our president by popular vote. The electoral college chooses the president. States get votes in the electoral college according to the number of House seats plus two for their Senate seats, so the electoral college also favors small states.
Both the allocation of seats in the Senate and the electoral college admit of change by constitutional amendment. The deeper problem with making the United States more democratic is the Christian hangover.
We are now seeing, more vividly than ever before, that the Republican Party is not much interested in democracy. They are the Party of old, white men who are terrified of the growing number and power of brown people and women. They cannot change demographics, although President Trump is trying his futile best, so they are trying to prevent the new, brown population, as well as the old black population, whom they have never liked, from having much input. So they persist with the absurd claim that voter fraud is a major problem for which voter ID requirements are the only solution, despite the near total absence of voter fraud cases.
They are also the Party of overt Christianity, so it should come as no surprise that they also oppose increasing democratization. Christianity is inherently anti democratic. The most democratic way to run the country is to allow everyone who is here to participate. Most people will likely accept restricting the vote to citizens, and to persons above a certain age, but some Christians want to restrict participation by non Christians. When he was running for president, Ben Carson asserted that we should not allow a Muslim to be president. He was apparently unaware that our Constitution, in the last clause of Article VI, forbids religious tests for public office.
Now Republicans in Texas want to remove a local Party leader because he is Muslim. It is not clear if this man is a public official for purposes of the Constitution. A judge may have to decide that issue. But Christians too easily turn their religion into a tribe in which only members get to have full rights. That is anti-democratic.
But we should expect Christianity to be anti-democratic. It posits an omnipotent deity whose rules we are all supposed to obey without question, which is an autocratic or monarchical government, not a democracy. In the Glorious Revolution in England, which produced the prevailing theory of liberalism that the Founders used in the American Revolution and the Constitution, the other side, the conservative side, was the position that the king got his authority directly from god, and was therefore immune to question by anyone else.
But the whole omnipotent deity thingy is obviously inconsistent with democracy, apart from the various ways in which vocal Christians want to restrict democracy.
Abandoning Christianity would advance the cause of democracy substantially in the United States.W