Even Iran Does Presidential Elections Better than the US

We need to vet our Presidents better.

Supporters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a rally in Tehran on April, 29. (Vahid Salemi/Associated Press)

Supporters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a rally in Tehran on April, 29. (Vahid Salemi/Associated Press)

The US has something to learn from Iran about Presidential elections. Donald Trump’s election has proven that the US Presidential electoral system has failed its electorate completely. The Achilles heal which has been exposed is that in a Western-style democracy like ours, an unqualified, mentally ill, dangerous bigot like Trump can easily be elected to one of the most powerful positions in the world. And even worse, once he is there our legal and electoral system has provided us with few ways in which we can get rid of him, and we are bound to keep him for four more years during which time he may indeed blow up our country and the rest of the world.

What we do not understand is that the Iranian electoral system could prove a better and more helpful guide to us on how to run an election properly. Six candidates are chosen by one of the regime’s power centers, the 12-man Council of Guardians, which usually excludes the most extreme candidates at both the hard-line and reform ends of the spectrum. After that, voting is generally unimpeded; larger turnouts — ranging historically from 50 percent to 80 percent — usually favor reformers. One of the candidates is expected to patch together a majority, but if no one does, a runoff will be held. 

Imagine an impartial electoral board which determines whether or not candidates on both sides of the aisle are qualified to run for President. Trump wouldn’t have made it to first base under these rules. 

It’s time we in the US stopped smugly sitting on our high horses and thinking we’ve got the best democracy in the world. I think that the last 100 days have shown us all too clearly that we do not.

As they say fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Isn’t it time we stopped touting the infallibility of our democratic process, and admit that the system we run our Presidential elections by majorly fucked us over this time, and has every possibility of doing so again? 

The question I’m asking is what do we need to do to fundamentally change the way we run Presidential Elections — Republicans and Democrats alike — so this never happens again? Perhaps take a leaf out of the Iranian's book and determine first whether or not candidates are qualified to run for the highest office in the land — one that controls a massive military and nuclear arsenal? I don’t know a job that’s more important than President of the US and a man less qualified to hold it than Donald J. Trump.

The Burning Years

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