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    美式民主的局限与弊病(3)(中英对照)

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    (III) Money-dominated American democracy

    (三)美式民主的金钱化

    The followers of American democracy usually regard free election campaigns as the pride and joy of American democracy. They hold that an election campaign helps the people independently choose their own political representatives and ensures the people’s equal right to hold public office. Candidates who want to win the election must demonstrate their competence and express their views to the people as comprehensively as possible so that voters learn about the candidates’ competence and governance pledges.

    美式民主的拥趸们通常将自由竞选视作美国民主最引以为豪的标志。在他们看来:自由竞选不仅有助于民众自主择定政治代表,而且预设了民众平等担任公职的权利;竞选者倘若想要赢下选举,必须尽可能全面地向民众展示自身能力、表达自身主张,让选民提前了解竞选者的工作能力和施政承诺。

    However, free election rings hollow under the money-dominated American democracy. In the U.S. general election, financial support is indispensable for both pre-election preparations and the follow-up period. Candidates have to bear the costs for media promotion, staff salary, and campaign organization. These costs increase as the campaign time is extended. For example, the U.S. general election cost nearly US$4 billion in 2004, about US$5 billion in 2008, about US$6 billion in 2012, about US$7 billion in 2016, and up to US$14 billion in 2020. The above data illustrate that contemporary American democracy is intimately linked to capital, and the free election campaign hinges on capital support. This profoundly shapes the logic behind the running of American politics.

    但是,美式民主的金钱化,让自由竞选成为一句空洞的口号。在美国大选中,无论是竞选前期准备,还是善后工作,都离不开金钱的支持。竞选者需要负担媒体宣传、工作人员薪资和竞选活动组织等费用,这些开支也随着竞选时间的拉长而不断增长。例如,2004年美国大选耗费近40亿美元,2008年美国大选耗费约50亿美元,2012年美国大选耗费约60亿美元,2016年美国大选耗费约70亿美元,2020年美国大选耗费高达140亿美元。上述数据表明,当代美国民主政治同资本联系紧密,自由竞选有赖于资本支持,这深刻塑造着美国政治的运转逻辑。

    The removal of the cap on political contributions has sped up the integration of American politics with money. Initially, the U.S. adopted a strict attitude towards governing the source and use of political contributions. Some politicians were aware that the involvement of interest groups in elections might undermine democracy, and therefore the political contributions made by private entities must be strictly controlled. Back in 1907, the U.S. adopted the Tillman Act of 1907 to restrict legal persons from making direct political contributions to candidates for federal elections. Following the Watergate scandal, the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 included several stipulations. First, individual donations to each candidate shall not exceed US$1,000, and the total annual contribution to candidates, political parties and political action committees shall not exceed US$25,000. Second, groups such as companies can set up political action committees to raise campaign funds. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) stipulates that the upper limit of individual donations to each candidate in the primary and general elections is US$2,000, and the upper limit of donations to the national committee of each political party is US$25,000. In recent years, however, the U.S. has relaxed restrictions on political contributions on the grounds that limiting political contributions is tantamount to restricting freedom of speech. For example, in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that companies and trade unions were allowed to make donations to political action committees without restrictions. In 2014, the Supreme Court abolished the restriction over the highest donations made by individuals to federal candidates and political parties that they support in election campaigns. The continuous relaxation of the restrictions over political contributions facilitates the connection of capital and politics, and interest groups can intervene in the democratic election process lawfully.

    政治献金上限的解绑,加速了美国政治运作同金钱融合的进程,让美式民主加速走向金钱化。对于规范政治献金的来源和运用,美国起初秉持相对严格的态度。一些政治家们认识到利益集团介入选举可能会败坏民主,为此,必须严格控制私主体的政治献金。早在1907年,美国就通过《蒂尔曼法案》限制法人向联邦选举候选人给予直接的政治献金。水门事件以后,1974年修改通过的《联邦竞选法》规定:第一,个人给每个候选人的捐款不得超过1000美元,每年度向候选人、政党和政治行动委员会的捐献总额不得超出2.5万美元。第二,公司等团体可成立政治行动委员会筹集竞选基金。2002年通过的《两党竞选改革法》规定个人在初选和大选中向每位候选人捐款的最高限额为2000美元,向每个政党全国委员会捐款的最高限额为2.5万美元。然而,近年来美国以限制政治献金等于限制言论自由为由,放宽了对政治献金的限制。例如,2010年,联邦最高法院判决允许企业和工会组织可以不受限制地向政治行动委员会捐款;2014年,联邦最高法院又取消了个人向自己支持的联邦候选人以及政党参与竞选活动的最高捐献额度。美国不断放宽政治献金的上限便利了资本同政治联姻,利益集团进而可以合法介入民主选举过程。

    The money-dominated American democracy damages the interests of voters. As a Chinese saying goes, “If you accept bribes, you have to relieve the giver of misfortune.” In order to safeguard the “political tacit agreement” established with interest groups, the elected candidates often give back to the interest groups, explicitly or implicitly. This is mirrored in the following aspects: First, reward according to merits. The elected can reward representatives of interest groups through personnel appointments, etc. For example, after taking office, Obama designated those who raised funds for his election as ambassadors as a reward. Second, benefit transfer. The elected will implement policies in favor of the interest groups after taking office. Amendments to the U.S. Constitution stipulate the right of citizens to possess and carry firearms. The U.S. has also become the country with the largest gun ownership in the world due to its loose policy governing gun control. Successive presidents of the U.S. have done nothing in response to shooting incidents that have occurred from time to time except expressing “deep sorrow.” As the National Rifle Association of America provided US$30 million in support to Trump in his running for the president, the reason for the abortive introduction of the gun control bill is self-evident. It can be seen that the legalization of political contributions paves the way for capitalists to “blatantly” intervene in policy formulation. Capitalists often attach extra political conditions to contributions. While the elected are elected by the people, their behavior logic is, in fact, deeply driven by interest groups. In the event of a conflict between interest groups and the voters, the elected with dual identities may be caught in a dilemma and will invariably betray the interests of the voters.

    美式民主的金钱化使得选民利益受损。常言道:“拿人钱财,替人消灾”。当选者为了维护同利益集团建立起来的“政治默契”,时常以或明或暗的方式回馈利益集团。这表现为:第一,论功行赏。当选者可以通过人事任命等手段犒赏利益集团代表。例如,奥巴马上台以后,即通过派驻大使的形式奖掖为其大选募资的功臣。第二,利益输送。当选者上任后实施有利于利益集团的政策。美国宪法修正案规定了公民持有及携带武器的权利,美国也因相对宽松的枪支管控政策成为世界第一大枪支持有国。美国历任总统面对不时发生的枪击事件,除了“深表痛心”之外,无所作为。联系到美国步枪协会曾向参选总统的特朗普提供3000万美元支持的背景,美国枪支管控法案出台受阻背后的缘由便不言而喻了。由此可见,资本家通常在捐献背后附加额外的政治条件,政治捐献合法化为资本家“明目张胆”地介入政策制定大开方便之门。虽然当选者是由民众选举产生的,但其行为逻辑实际上深受利益集团影响。一旦利益集团同选民立场对立时,兼具双重代表身份的当选者可能陷入抉择两难,不免会背弃民众利益。

    Money kidnaps politics, and capital distorts public opinion. American democratic elections degenerate into an arena where capitalists compete for power, and American democratic politics gradually becomes politics in which “money talks.”

    金钱绑架政治,资本扭曲民意,美国民主选举沦为资本家角逐权力的游戏场,美式民主政治日渐走向“钱主”政治。

    (IV) Formalized nature of American Democracy

    (四)美式民主的形式化

    The fulfillment of democracy requires complicated systems. Once the system causes the substance of democracy to fail, it is inevitable that democracy becomes formalized. Regardless of its merits, the system of American democracy has defects that make democracy formalized.

    民主的实现需要配以复杂的制度设计。一旦制度设计导致民主的实质落空,那么民主的形式化便不可避免。美式民主的制度设计,固然有其可取之处,但也存在导致民主形式化的缺陷。

    On the one hand, the Electoral College system has made the practice of democratic elections in the U.S. formalized in the long term. The Electoral College system is implemented for the U.S. presidential election. This system was the product of compromise between the large states and small states when the U.S. Constitution was enacted. Whether a candidate wins the support of the majority of voters in a state will directly affect whether such candidate can win the votes of the electors represented by that state in Congress. Essentially, the Electoral College system can be summarized as “winner takes all.”

    一方面,选举人团制度的推行令美国民主选举实践长期形式化。美国总统选举实行选举人团制度。选举人团制度是美国制宪时大州和小州妥协的产物。因为竞选者是否赢得一州多数选民票,将直接影响竞选者能否赢得该州在国会所代表的选举人的票数,选举人团制的要义也可简单归纳为“赢者通吃”。

    Due to the Electoral College system, there are many cases in the U.S. in which the candidates lost a majority vote in universal suffrage but eventually won the election in the presidential elections. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the votes of less than half of the voters, but he was finally elected president thanks to his dominant voting at the Electoral College. In 1912, Woodrow Wilson was finally elected president of the U.S. despite the fact that he lagged behind his opponent by about 1 million votes. In 2000, although Albert Gore received 530,000 more votes than George W. Bush, Bush won the presidential election thanks to the voting results in the key swing states. In 2016, Hillary Clinton received 2.9 million more votes than Trump, but still failed the presidential election. The voting results in key swing states determine whether candidates can win the electoral votes of these states, and the key swing states directly determine whether a candidate receives more than 270 electoral votes. Therefore, candidates of the two parties usually concentrate most of their energy on the key swing states that affect the final outcome.

    由于推行选举人团制度,历届美国总统选举多次出现竞选者输掉了普选多数票而最终胜选的情况。1860年,林肯虽然只得到不到半数的选民票,但依靠占优的选举人团票最终当选总统;1912年,威尔逊在比对手少约100万张选民票的情况下,最终当选美国总统;2000年,虽然戈尔比小布什多出53万张选民票,但是小布什依靠关键摇摆州的选举结果最终赢下总统大选;2016年,希拉里在获得超过特朗普290余万张选民票的背景下,最终与总统宝座失之交臂……由于关键摇摆州的得票情况影响候选人能否赢下这些州的选举人票,而关键摇摆州直接关系着候选人的选举人票是否超过270票,因此,两党候选人通常将绝大部分精力投入到影响最终结果的关键摇摆州。

    The most fundamental requirement for democracy is democracy and equality, but the operation of the Electoral College system actually violates the basic principle of democracy and equality for a long time. On the one hand, the effectiveness of elections varies according to different states. The Electoral College system is designated to maintain the federal system. The Electoral College system works in favor of small states as a whole and constitutes reverse discrimination against some large states. On the other hand, there are differences in the effectiveness of voting by voters in different states, and this also constitutes discrimination against some voters. People eligible to vote should be treated equally, and every vote they cast has the same effect on the election result. Although the U.S. has universal suffrage, does the effectiveness of votes really comply with the democratic principles of “one person, one vote” and “the minority subordinate to the majority” under the Electoral College system? The electoral votes in different states symbolize the will of voters of varying numbers, and it is difficult to realistically reflect the collective will of the people nationwide by relying on electoral votes alone. Under this circumstance, does the election winner really enjoy popular support? The answer is obviously no.

    民主政治最基本的要求是民主平等,然而选举人团制度的运行实际上长期违反了民主平等的基本原则。一方面,不同州的选举效力并不相同。创设选举人团制度旨在维护联邦制,推行选举人团制度整体利于小州,对部分大州构成了逆向歧视;另一方面,身处不同州的选民投票存在效力差异,这也构成对部分选民的差别对待。享有选举资格的民众理应平等,其投出的每一票对选举结果能够产生同等效力。虽然美国对外宣称自身实行普选制,但是依照选举人团制度,选民投票的效力真的符合“一人一票”“少数服从多数”的民主原则吗?不同州的选举人票背后象征数量不等的选民意志,仅凭借选举人票难以真实反映全国范围内民众的集体意志。在此情况下,胜选者真的具备足够厚重的民意基础吗?答案显然也是否定的。

    On the other hand, American politics controlled by a small number of elites in the long term also exposes the formalized nature of American democracy. Advocates of American democracy are often proud of universal suffrage implemented in the U.S. They believe that standardized election procedures ensure that election results conform to the requirements of formal justice and that everyone has an equal opportunity to an election. Although the universal suffrage system presupposes the possibility of the people independently choosing representatives and running for public office, ordinary people cannot afford the exorbitant costs of a long campaign due to limited funding. Involvement in democratic elections requires a great deal of funds, an invisible hurdle for ordinary people. Except for making regular votes, it is difficult for the majority of ordinary people to get involved in American democracy. Only a few political elites supported by the consortia can be nominated by their party. As a result, American politics has long been dominated by a few political families, such as the Roosevelt family and the Bush family. American democracy is nothing more than a power game for a few political elites. As time passes, ordinary people have dwindling enthusiasm for elections because they know that their votes can hardly change the dominance of American politics by the elites.

    另一方面,少数精英长期把持美国政治也暴露出美式民主的形式化。美式民主的鼓吹者时常为美国推行普选制而骄傲不已,他们认为通过规范的竞选程序确保选举结果符合形式正义的要求,确保人人都有机会享有平等的选举机会。尽管普选制预设了民众自主选择代表、成功竞选公职的可能性,然而因为经费限制,普通民众无法负担起漫长竞选活动所需要的巨额成本。参与民主选举要求筹集大量资金,这已为普通民众设置了隐性门槛。多数普通民众除了定期投下选票,很难深度介入美国民主过程。只有少数受到财团支持的政治精英才能得到所在政党的提名。这一情况导致美国政坛长期被罗斯福家族、布什家族等少数政治家族所把持。美式民主政治终究不过是少数政治精英的权力游戏。久而久之,普通民众对待选举的热情也不断下降,因为他们深知自身的选票很难改变精英把持美国政治的局面。

    IV. Conclusion

    四、结语

    In today’s world, democracy has become a common human value. However, value commensurability does not mean that value can be realized by a single method. The models of democracy in various countries, including American democracy, are essential for brilliant political achievements. For the progress of democracy in any country, it is necessary to draw on the benefits of foreign civilizations and all the more to combine general principles with national realities. Therefore, no country should point fingers at other countries’ democracy, nor has the right to export democracy. However, the U.S. has an illusionary sense of confidence in its democratic system, thinking that American democracy is a one-size-fits-all system truth. The U.S. gives sanctimonious preaching on democracy all over the world and forcibly promotes its democratic model. Such an attempt will, of course, be boycotted by other countries because if we assert that there is only one democratic model in the world, it is in itself anti-democratic.

    当今世界,民主已经成为全人类共同价值。但是,价值通约性并不意味着价值实现方式的单一性。包括美式民主在内的各国民主模式,都是绚丽多彩的人类政治文明所不可或缺的底色。任何国家的民主发展,固然要借鉴外来文明的有益资源,更需要将普遍原理与具体国情结合。因而,一国不应该对他国民主模式指手画脚,也没有资格输出民主。但是,美国却对其民主制度充满迷之自信,认为美式民主是放之四海而皆准的制度真理,在全世界范围内充当民主的“教师爷”,强行推广其民主模式。这种企图当然会遭到其他国家的抵制,因为如果坚持世界上只有一种民主模式,这本身就是反民主的。

    Past experience fully illustrates that the U.S. export of democracy to some regions caused new humanitarian disasters instead of bringing prosperity and development to the local areas. For this, the U.S. remains impenitent and even brings the domestic two-party internal power struggle to the international community by gathering some vassal states and regions in the so-called summit for democracy. The U.S. organizes the summit for democracy in an attempt to monopolize the right to define democracy and act as a judge, form a clique in the name of democracy, and establish a world system based on the standard of American interests and ideology. In fact, the so-called summit for democracy is doomed to failure because the limitations and practical ills of American democracy have been exposed, and it gradually loses its persuasiveness and appeal. More and more countries and people become aware that American democracy does not represent the development direction of democracy. The people of all countries should and can independently pursue democratic development with their own traits and contribute their wisdom and power to the diversity of political achievements.

    历史充分证明,美国在一些地区搞民主输出,不仅没有给当地带来繁荣发展,反而带来新的人道主义灾难。对此,美国不仅不思悔改,反而变本加厉,将国内两党内斗的恶习带入国际社会,纠集一些附庸国家和地区召开所谓的民主峰会。美国操办民主峰会,无非是企图借此垄断民主的定义和裁判权,借民主之名拉帮结派,建立一套以美国利益和意识形态为标准的世界体系。其实,美国搞所谓民主峰会注定是徒劳无益的。这是因为,美式民主已经充分暴露出诸多历史局限和现实弊病,已经逐渐失去说服力和吸引力了。越来越多的国家和人民已经深刻认识到,美式民主并不能代表民主的未来发展方向。各国人民应该而且也能够在独立自主的基础上走出一条具有本国特色的民主发展道路,为丰富人类政治文明多样性贡献智慧和力量。

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