January 6, 2021 — November 8, 2022: Electing Democracy

Georges Ugeux
4 min readOct 11, 2022

On November 11, 1947, almost thirty years after the World War I armistice, at the British Parliament pronounced those words: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…” [1] World War II had just ended. Today the fear of a nuclear conflict reemerges in the words of a dictator, a copycat of Joseph Stalin, responsible for three million deaths in his own country.

On January 6, 2021, a renegade and autocratic President of the United States, incited his followers to stop democracy by assaulting its symbol and heart: the Capitol. Yet, denial continues to spread through the ranks of politicians pretending that the beacon of democracy, the popular vote, was, against all evidence, “stolen” by the current President.

On November 8, 2022, the voters will not just elect lawmakers and governors. They will vote to eject those who deny them of their democratic rights and support the denial of the votes, democracy as we understand it will be in check. The pundits who explain the why and the who of next election are missing the point. It is about democracy and equality.

The US democracy is in play

This is not about one party or another: it is about the faith of every citizen of this country in democracy. As Joe Biden stated in his address in Independence Hall in Philadelphia: “Equality and Democracy are under assault. We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise.”[2] There is no ambiguity: this election is about those two realities. Why did the media ignore the inequality? Eleanor Roosevelt, on October 12, 1944, made it abundantly clear: “Without equality there can be no democracy.”[3]

The various measures promoted by the Republican Party since the Biden Administration took office have been single handedly aiming at reducing our freedom: the right of women and minorities to exercise their fundamental human rights without being threatened by ideologies that are willing to murder their opponents.

The situation in Iran demonstrates what religious male autocracy needs to do to rule: crush women. The so-called “supreme” leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said it all before being interrupted: Universities are worse than a bomb. The regime’s face-off against Iran’s colleges and universities on the first day the mullahs obtained power, dates back 43 years.

It is also the core of the Western intervention in Ukraine to defend a democratic country against a neighboring military aggressor who sadistically plays with the threat of nuclear action. If we fail in Kiev, we will fail in Taipei.

To the young voters: climate change needs your rescue

Your vote has never been as essential as it is on November 8. If, as I believe you do, you are concerned about climate change and the risks that our planet could become inhabitable, you cannot limit your actions to demonstrations: you have to express your voice through your ballot. Demonstrations do not move the needle. A democracy needs, at the top of its political leadership, a Congress that will force a change in our energy mix, our endless waste of resources and our inequalities.

You are the generation that will stop the impossible. To achieve that goal, you need an equitable access to education and jobs in an inclusive society. It is your right to be educated on the basis of your talent and capabilities. Money should neither be the discriminator it is now, nor should it be a life time debt burden.

The November 8 election is totally about the values that you believe in.

It’s all about electing the right people

The political parties have inflamed the political debate to make a democratic debate on the future of the United States of America impossible. The current system has no future because it is corrupt by money and favors. The replacement of the entire leadership of a country when the President changes is unnecessary. Putting party funders in embassies rather than diplomats undermines the ability of the United States to act in the long term. Adding to an Act a series of financial rewards for donors is corruption of the legislative branch.

That, however, is not a reason to renounce to our previous voting rights. Joe Biden is not on the ballot, nor is his administration. Hundreds of women and men will be elected by us, and keep, lose or gain elected office. In each of our constituencies, we have the right, and I would say the duty, to gauge what they stand for, how they are financed, what are their values.

We must be educated voters if we want our decision to count. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic. We cannot be naïve: they are powerful and supported by large financial interests. But that morning of November 2022, US electors have a rendezvous with democracy, and more importantly their own conscience. Don’t miss it.

“The chance of a true constitutional crisis — in which the rightful winner of an election cannot take office — has risen substantially. That combination shows that American democracy has never faced a threat quite like the current one.” Wrote David Leonhardt in a powerful New York Times.[4]

[1] https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/quotes/the-worst-form-of-government

[2] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/09/01/remarks-by-president-bidenon-the-continued-battle-for-the-soul-of-the-nation/

[3] https://www2.gwu.edu/~erpapers/myday/displaydoc.cfm?_y=1944&_f=md056922

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/17/us/american-democracy-threats.html

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Georges Ugeux

CEO at Galileo Global Advisors and Adjunct professor Columbia Law School.