The pattern of autocratic candidate selection should now be depressingly familiar to the citizens of Jacksonville. A political office opens up; a narrow wealthy elite segment of the population, or usually just one single member of the elite known as the “local kingmaker”, endorses a candidate; said candidate immediately becomes the odds on favorite to capture the election, and invariably emerges victorious.
The wishes and desires of the demos – that is, the participation of the people on whom democracy presumably rests – play absolutely no role in this process. We saw this with the endorsement of Mayor Brown, the anointment of Mayor Curry, and now it is playing out with lightening quick speed in the open 4th Congressional seat recently vacated by Ander Crenshaw. Former Sheriff John Rutherford has been chosen by the local powers that be. Case closed; citizens and democracy be damned.
More disturbing still, no one seems to care. Compare this with Hong Kong where recently tens of thousands of people hit the streets to protest the role of the Chinese Communist Party selecting acceptable candidates for their Chief Executive position. What we have in the United States generally, and in Jacksonville in particular, is comparable. Instead of a political elite, it is a corporate elite. But here in Jacksonville, as elsewhere, there is hardly a word of dissent as citizens have become habituated to the faux democracy that is our electoral political system.
Regarding the chosen candidate, there has been nothing said about the qualities Rutherford possesses that would recommend him as a member of Congress. Not a word on his policy positions on national issues, his aspirations, or his ideals. Apparently, the local oligarchy is content that he will represent their interests; but what about the interests of the congressional district’s larger constituency?
It is time that citizens demand a more democratic process and procedure for determining who will be on the ballot, and the choices they will be faced with when they vote for their Congressional representative.