To: New York Voters
From: Dictators, Inc.
Re: Your So-Called Elections
Attention, Mr. and Mrs. Voter Person: Please forgive us for noting certain similarities between the elections we rig from time to time to keep the human-rights activists off our back, and those that are held in your province. While we frequently see people laughing at our elections, especially when they appear on one of those Fox News Channel shows, it seems to us that the average New York voter has about the same choice that we offer. Which, of course, is none at all.
We like it that way. It’s good for business. But every time we are re-elected with 99 percent of the vote, we are accused of running phony elections and presiding over a sham democracy.
Oh, yeah? Well, Mr. and Mrs. New York Voter Person, have you checked the results of your own so-called elections this year? Pardon us if we guffaw hysterically about these results on our own highly rated cable show, The Executioner Factor . (It is highly rated because we allow no opposition show. Ha, ha, ha!) As far as we can tell, members of the State Legislature in New York collect winning percentages that would do most of us proud. Take, for example, some of your honorable Assembly members from New York City: Nick Perry won 99 percent of the vote in the 58th District last week, Joseph Lentol had 97 percent in the 50th District, and Vito Lopez had 97 percent in the 53rd District.
Those are very admirable numbers, and we congratulate your so-called opposition parties for putting up such a poor fight. If only we could convince our own dissenters of the futility of political opposition. Instead, they take inspiration from so-called democratic states like yours, because they hear the big speeches about the beauties of the ballot box. If they only knew!
By the way, we don’t mean to pick on those Assembly members we mentioned above. First of all, let’s not for a moment believe that because they can command 98 or 99 percent of the vote, they are somehow dictators. Ah, far from it! They are merely members of the New York Legislature, which means that they have no power whatsoever, except perhaps to get a relative or friend hired in an inefficient government job. You see-the comparisons between our system and yours are not so out-of-hand!
But let us also remember that many dozens of New York politicians face only token or no opposition. Of the 62 winning candidates for State Senate, 20 had 80 percent or more of the vote. And 28 other winners had between 60 percent and 79 percent of the vote. And these results reflect only what your vote-counters called “contested races.” A dozen Senators won election without any opposition at all! And only two winning candidates had less than 60 percent! Wonderful! Marvelous! What a fine thing it is, this two-party system that provides competitive elections for your places of honor and power!
In your State Assembly, of the 150 victorious candidates, only 21 had less than 60 percent of the vote. In New York City, most winning candidates had over 80 percent, and many had 90 percent. Hurrah for democracy!
After closely studying your system of government, we would like to request that the next time your White House lectures us about electoral reform and political corruption, you, the voters of New York, send us your state legislators. We would like them to implement in our countries the same freedoms you have in your state. In that way, we can claim to have a democracy as free and functional as that in the great state of New York, but with none of the hassles of actual choice. Just like your politicians!
What we find especially worthy of praise and admiration is the system that allows your legislators to draw their own political districts every 10 years. This is truly an innovation deserving of export to the Unfree World. By drawing the boundaries themselves, your political leaders can ensure majorities of 80 percent, 90 percent and even, as in the case of Mr. Nick Perry, a Third World–like 99 percent.
As you surely know (because your spunky free press covers state politics so well), legislators have been known to draw up districts that deliberately exclude potential opponents and hostile voting blocs. Tremendous! Spectacular! Worthy of our endless admiration and emulation!
And so, Mr. and Mrs. Voter Person of New York, we ask that you share your democratic values with the rest of us. In the past, we have sent you our huddled masses. In return, we now ask that you send us your muddled asses, yearning to be free of opposition. Let them teach us democracy!