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New York Times Op-Ed Declares Elections ‘Bad For Democracy,’ Changes Headline After Online Mockery

We ‘might be better off eliminating elections altogether,’ argued Adam Grant, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania.


The New York Times published an op-ed this week declaring elections are “bad for democracy.”

“[W]e might be better off eliminating elections altogether,” argued Adam Grant, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, in the piece, which subsequently had its headline changed from “Elections are Bad for Democracy” to “The Worst People Run for Office. It’s Time for a Better Way,” hours after publication following online mockery. Despite the new title, the message remained unchanged.

According to Grant, elections are counterproductive to democratic governance. Grant claimed that randomly chosen leaders would be more effective and cited ancient Greece as his prime example, as if ruling an ancient city-state were comparable to managing global affairs in the 21st century.

If you think that sounds anti-democratic, think again. The ancient Greeks invented democracy, and in Athens many government officials were selected through sortition — a random lottery from a pool of candidates. In the United States, we already use a version of a lottery to select jurors. What if we did the same with mayors, governors, legislators, justices and even presidents?

“When you know you’re picked at random, you don’t experience enough power to be corrupted by it,” Grant added. “Instead, you feel a heightened sense of responsibility: I did nothing to earn this, so I need to make sure I represent the group well.

If the author had ever examined the histories of recent lottery winners, he might rethink that claim. Lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy than the average American within three to five years of winning, with nearly a third eventually doing so, according to Next Gen Personal Finance. Money — like power — goes to people’s heads.

While acknowledging random selection might “deprive us of the chance to select a leader with distinctive skills,” Grant was clear: “that’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

Grant made his “final” point that “voting also means no boundaries to gerrymander and no Electoral College to dispute.” In other words, no more objections to election results. Odd that this proposal would come two years after President Donald Trump raised concerns over how the 2020 presidential election was conducted instead of following Democrats’ objections in 2001, 2005, and 2017.

“Instead of questioning whether millions of ballots were counted accurately, we could watch the lottery live, just as we do with teams getting their lottery picks in the N.B.A. draft,” Grant wrote.

He warned against using elections “to roll the dice on the hopes of finding the best” candidates, as if the lottery system he proposes were not a way to “roll the dice” on who oversees one of the largest enterprises in human history: the federal government.

The proposal to eliminate elections altogether for the sake of “democracy” further goes to show that “bad for democracy” means anything left-wing activists don’t like, from particular candidates to free speech, the Electoral College, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

[READ: Here Is Everything Democrats Claim Is ‘A Threat To Democracy’]

Other entries in the Times op-ed pages have joined the pile-on too, smearing Republican leadership as antithetical to “democracy.”

“The Republican Party Is the Anti-Democracy Party,” read an August 2022 headline.

“Inside the Completely Legal G.O.P. Plot to Destroy American Democracy,” read another from last September.

Meanwhile leftists, who apparently have free rein to call for completely abolishing elections, have chastized any Republicans raising concerns about election administration as “election deniers.”

But Republicans aren’t the ones who are advocating to deny Americans free and fair elections in the name of “democracy.” Nor are they the ones who exploited lockdown-era panic measures to remove legal election safeguards and jeopardize confidence in American elections. It’s not elections that are “bad for democracy.” It’s the fight to eliminate them, whether by dismantling election laws or siccing the feds on the top political opponent of the incumbent regime.

[READ: Putin Handed His Political Rival A Lighter Sentence Than Biden Wants To Give Trump]

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