Special Opinion by Paul Plante
As to electoral bribery in America today, which I posit is how Joe Biden managed to win the white house, by bribing the electorate with all sorts of extravagant and grandiose free government give-aways that Joe would provide them if only they would put him in the white house to save the soul of America, in an academic article entitled “Electoral Bribery in The Roman Republic” by Andrew Lintott published online by Cambridge University Press on 24 September 2012, we learn about the term “electoral bribery” in the political context as follows:
In Western Europe to-day we tend to assume automatically that electoral bribery is pernicious, in that it distorts the democratic process, the selection by the people of their own representatives, by shifting whatever power lies in the generality of the electorate back into the hands of the people who seek office, so that a democratic procedure becomes in effect oligarchic.
We even term bribery the presentation of attractive policies to the electorate by a person or party, which we believe will not be in the people’s long-term interest or will be rapidly discarded in favour of policies which suit those in power.
That, of course, is precisely what we observed regarding the Biden/Harris campaign in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections in this country, and it well can be said, and should be said, as I stated above, that Joe Biden is the president because of successful electoral bribery made possible today because of the impact of “social media” as a propaganda tool for politicians, where electoral bribery is considered to be bribery of masses of people, as opposed to the old tried-and-true Democrat Party tactic of buying individual votes.
For a good example of electoral bribery by the presentation of attractive policies to the electorate by a person, Joe Biden, and party, the Democrats, which have not been shown to be in the people’s long-term interest, nor can such a demonstration be made, let’s go to Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Speech Transcript from Crystal Lake, Illinois on July 7, 2021, to wit:
Those of you who have children under the of seven, you’re going to get three and depending on your income and your income taxes, you’re going to get a cash payment back up to now.
And guess what?
You get $2,000 is declared a dependent.
If you have two children you get $4,000 off a $10,000 tax bill, it’s important.
But if you don’t make enough money to be able to owe that kind of tax you don’t get a tax credit, you don’t get anything.
While under this proposal guess what?
You’re in a situation where if you have a child under the age of seven, you get back $3600 in cash.
In addition to that those of you are in that situation are going to start to see that coming in by the end of this month on a monthly basis.
It can change the lives of people.
Starting next week families will begin to receive one of the largest ever single year tax cuts aimed at families and children.
And every child under the age of six is $3,600.
Every child between six and 17 is 3000.
And not as a credit against your taxes, but as a direct payment.
You’ll get cash.
Cash that’s what we’ll get.
For example middle-class family with two children – … cash, that’s what you’ll get.
For example, a middle-class family with two children can expect to receive $7,200.
You get the first half, the $3,600 paid out at $600 a month between July and December.
And you get the rest between January and tax day.
And of course, we will be told in response that that is simply how American politics works – people are going to vote for who makes the most outlandish and extravagant promises if they believe that it will result in free money in their pocket, regardless of the true costs to the nation of what is in reality a huge welfare scheme, like the Corn Dole in Rome, to buy votes.
For another example of electoral bribery as a political strategy, let us go to the political document “Resistance Rising: Socialist Strategy in the Age of Political Revolution – A summary of Democratic Socialists of America’s Strategy Document – June 2016” from June 25, 2016, where we have as follows:
Free public higher education is a key example of what we might call a “transformative” reform that helps to popularize the idea of socialism and to make further, more dramatic reforms possible in the future.
Free public higher education would mean taking what should be a universal public good out of the marketplace, putting it under democratic control and guaranteeing it as a right to all citizens — and funding it by a truly progressive tax system that makes the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of government revenue.
Beyond its inherent benefits, such a campaign would also show people that socialist policies are both desirable and achievable.
Gaining free public higher education could serve as a crucial step in making democratic socialist politics more attractive to a wider cross-section of the U.S. public.
There is electoral bribery as political strategy, and guess what, people, it works, as we can see from the Washington Examiner article entitled “More Democratic voters favor socialism than capitalism in major shift: Poll” by Zachary Halaschak on 13 August 2021, to wit:
Democrats have grown considerably more accepting of socialism since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to a new poll.
A survey by Fox News conducted this week found that 59% of Democratic voters hold a favorable opinion of socialism, compared to 49% who said the same of capitalism.
Furthermore, 44% of Democrats hold an unfavorable view of capitalism, compared to 31% who view socialism negatively.
The new results are a marked shift from February 2020, when 40% of Democratic voters said they held a favorable view of socialism, compared to half who said the same about capitalism.
The poll comes as the House has become imbued with a vocal contingent of socialists and those who support socialist priorities.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York was elected in 2018 after a shocking primary upset and has since championed policies such as “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal.
Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts made waves after entering office, with the self-proclaimed “Squad” having outsize influence within the party and attracting much media attention, at times to the chagrin of party leadership.
Reps. Jamaal Bowman of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri, both members of the Democratic Socialists of America, were sworn into Congress after last year’s election.
Yes, indeed, promise them the sun, moon and stars for free and you win their hearts and minds every time, and if the result is destroying the economy, hey, that’s the cost of doing business in politics today, where what you gave them the last time is now not enough, which takes us to the academic work “Electoral Bribery and the Challenge to the Authority of the Senate: Two Aspects of Dio’s View of the Late Roman Republic (Books 36–40)” by Marianne Coudry, where we are told that electoral bribery or ambitus, was a fatal weakness of the Late Roman Republic, and so it turned out to be, given the Roman civil war after Dio.
As to ambitus, Lexico defines it as the action of seeking to obtain an office or position through underhand means; especially the use of bribery to gain electoral support, which takes us to Wikipedia, as follows:
In ancient Roman law, ambitus was a crime of political corruption, mainly a candidate’s attempt to influence the outcome (or direction) of an election through bribery or other forms of soft power.
The Latin word ambitus is the origin of the English word “ambition” which is another of its original meanings; ambitus was the process of “going around and commending oneself or one’s protégés to the people,” an activity liable to unethical excesses.
The Lex Baebia was the first law criminalizing electoral bribery, instituted by M. Baebius Tamphilus during his consulship in 181 BC.
The lex Tullia was passed in the consulship of Cicero (63 BC) for the purpose of adding to the penalties of the Acilia Calpurnia.
The penalty under this lex was ten years’ exile.
This law forbade any person to exhibit public shows for two years before he was a candidate.
It also forbade candidates hiring persons to attend them and be about their persons.
Which brings us back to present time and a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Pelosi Braces for Showdown With Moderates Over Infrastructure Vote” by Andrew Duehren and Eliza Collins on 18 August 2021, where we have yet another clear-cut case of electoral bribery by the Democrats in the making right here in America, to wit:
WASHINGTON—Top House Democrats said the chamber would move forward with voting on the budget blueprint for a $3.5 trillion healthcare, education and climate package next week, rebuffing demands from a group of centrist Democrats to first vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and urging their caucus to stay unified around President Biden’s agenda.
“I would hope that none of us, that none of us, would do or say anything that would jeopardize passing these bills.”
“These bills are critical for us maintaining our majority, and that must reign supreme,” Democratic Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) told members on a Tuesday telephone call, according to a person listening to it.
Translation: if the Democrats aren’t able to loot our treasury with which to gain the money they need to buy off enough voters to keep them in power, they will lose the majority.
So they are not doing anything for America.
To the contrary, all their efforts are aimed at solidifying their grasp on power in America, and what better way to do that than to lavish free gifts on the electorate?
Promise them the sun, the moon, the stars, free education, and guaranteed money in their pocket each month, even of they don’t work and refuse to work, and you own their vote!
That is what electoral bribery is – buying votes through policies that are attractive to the voters, but not good for the nation in the long term, as the Romans found out to their detriment.
So what will the future bring us?