Original report published July 4, 2016. Updated: July 5, 2016.
Understanding the Differences Between a Democracy and a Republic
U.S. History Education Series, written by Net Advisor™
EXCERPT. There seems to be continued apparent confusion, misunderstanding or incorrect characterization by many members of the public, some in the media, and by some leaders in government as to what form of government the United States has. We uncover the dependencies and explore the differences between a Democracy and a Republic in a historical context.
 President Obama Incorrectly Calls the USA a “Democracy”
During the interview, President Obama made a couple points and a technical error in his speech.
“…a democracy only works if everybody’s following the rules. That there’s going to be some give and take. And I think that’s actually true for a whole lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill.”
— President Barack Obama (Source: CNBC Transcript) (red text emphasis added above)
My interpenetration of this message is that the President is essentially saying, Republicans need to get together with other Republicans, Conservatives, Tea Party and work out all their issues; then come back to the table and be in agreement to whatever the Democrats want? That is not a Democracy or anything close to it.
However, this is exactly what happened on October 16, 2013 when Senate and House GOP’s voted in favor of Harry Reid’s (D-NV) Continuing Resolution (official doc) that funds government for 90 days including ObamaCare. Republicans got together and gave in to the demands of the Democrats. No negotiation, just give in and accept our will? Does that sound like a Democracy?
 Harry Reid’s Version of “Democracy:” Do Things My Way
On or about December 18 then House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hammered out a new “budget” deal with Senate Budget Committee Chairperson, Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Despite the misleading rhetoric that this budget someone reduces the deficit, the deal increases total government (deficit) spending by about $1 Trillion a year for the next two years.
The bill needed only a simple majority in the U.S. Senate after then Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unilaterally changed the Senate rules to make it more difficult for anyone block Reid or Obama’s political ideology.
This was the third time in U.S. history when the Democrat Party controlled the U.S. Senate changed the rules to make it easier to get their agenda passed and ignored the political minority at the same time.
Dictionary.com defines Totalitarianism as:
“absolute control by the state or a governing branch of a highly centralized institution…the character or quality of an autocratic or authoritarian individual, group, or government…”
— Source: Dictionary.com
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was also instrumental in shutting down the government on September 30, 2013. Reid managed to persuade many blind members in the media to blame the shutdown on Republicans; specifically blaming Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). Cruz had no authoritative power to single-highhandedly shut down the government.
The fact is, only the Majority Leader in the Senate could call for a (partial) government shutdown which Reid did live TV [Source: C-SPAN Library, Sep. 30, 2013 video @10:00:00].
Again, here we have one person in government (Harry Reid) who changed the rules and thus making decisions for the other 99 Senators who have no say. Does that sound like a Democracy or a Republic?
When Republicans and Democrats united in the House and passed legislation 407 to zero to allow furloughed government employees to get retroactive pay, it was again Democrat Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid who decided that he would ignore 100% of Democrats and 100% of Republicans who supported this bill in the House. Reid BLOCKED government employees from getting paid (Full Report).
If one disagrees with Reid or the other left ideologists, one is then chastised in public, made out to be “hostage takers,” “terrorists,” or “anarchists” (Report).
The U.S. Constitution permits the People (including elected officials) to redress (have their voices be heard in government under the First Amendment).
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.“
— First Amendment, United States Constitution. Source: Cornell Law School (red text emphases added)
 President Obama’s Constitutional Error
President Obama made another Constitutional error in characterizing what form the U.S. has as a government during this interview. The U.S. does not (or should not) operate as a democracy. Per U.S. Constitutional law, the United States is not a democracy; the United States is a Constitutional Republic.
This was not the only time the President referred the U.S. as a democracy. Here are just a few samples citing errors of what type of government the U.S. has.
- Obama and Democracy (2009)
- Obama: Extortion can’t be routine in U.S. democracy (2013)
- Obama Decision on Syria Good for U.S. Democracy, but His Case Is Weak (2013)
- Money, guns and Democracy: Why Obama Admin is obsessed with India (2013)
- Obama at the U.N.: Still Absent on Freedom and Democracy (2013)
- Obama needs to support democracy, oppose a coup in Egypt (2013)
- Obama Recognizes as a Democracy, We Need Consensus and Debate on Syria (2013)
- President Obama embraces democracy promotion once again (2014)
- Quote: “…Strong democracies accountable to their people…” (2015)
- President Obama makes a rousing case for democracy in Cuba (2016)
- Obama: Democracy at stake in November elections (2016)
- Obama also discusses American “Democracy” in for example: this (video), this (video), this (video), this (video), and this (video) – get the idea right?
After doing various searches using “Obama democracy, Obama republic, and Obama Constitutional republic,” I could not find a single reference of the President supporting or correctly referencing the U.S. as a Constitutional Republic.
 Cuban Democracy or Obama Fantasy?
Mr. Obama argued for Democracy in Cuba. Do you think a sovereign nation is going to get another sovereign nation to just change their form of government? Cuba has ignored President’s Obama’s suggestion to change from communism to a democracy.
The people in power, (The Communists) control all the votes, most of the money, the economy, the courts, the prisons, the police and everything else they see fit. Complain if you want however under communist control, one will probably go to prison. Forget about rights, protesting, because under communism there are no Constitutional rights.
— NetAdvisor™ (@NetAdvisor) March 20, 2016
Photo Above: Cuba looks like their economy hasn’t changed much since 1950’s or since the Communists took control.
 President Obama on Open Government: “The Essence of Democracy” – A Citizen Collective, Not a Republic
In 2011, President Obama outlined his vision of a U.S. democracy at the United Nations. One needs to critically look beyond his context and understand the real meaning of what exactly is the president putting forward.
In this speech, President Obama did not make a single reference as to the U.S. being a Constitutional Republic, or that the U.S. is seeking to share that kind history with other developing nations.
The President promoted the idea that, “governance (should be) transparent and accountable.” That part is true.
Mr. Obama is really saying that other governments need to be transparent and accountable, but not his Administration.
 Promises of Open Government and Transparency.
Got Elected. Results: Closed Government. Minimize Transparency.
In 2008, President-elect Barack Obama made a series of promises that the U.S. should have more open government and transparency. The Obama Administration has been anything but open or transparent.
Promised Government Transparency?
- Obama’s lack of transparency (2009)
- Government Could Hide Existence of Records under FOIA Rule Proposal (2011)
- Obama Rule Would Allow Feds to Lie about Existence of Official Records (2011)
- Testing Obama’s Promise of Government Transparency (2012)
- Obama Transparency – 4th Year Assessment (Wash College of Law) (2013)
- White House Inflated Transparency Achievements (2013)
The White House also came to this same conclusion that transparency was just not going to happen and then closed its ‘transparency website‘ down in July 2013. Does the lack of transparent government sound like what a Democracy or Republic should be like?
A 2004 university paper suggested that Democracies are more transparent. But Obama has shown a lack of transparency, and even closed down the government transparency website. Is that a transparent Democracy?
Question: What type of governments tend to be less or non-transparent?
 Lack of Benghazi Transparency?
There has been little transparency on Benghazi where President Obama vowed in 2012 to ‘bring those responsible to justice.’
In 2013, the Obama Administration (DOJ and the State Department) blocked Congressional access (Obstruction of Justice) to survivors of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. What we have here are members of the Justice Dept. and the State Dept. suppressing the truth from the American people by those were actually there? Does that sound like an ‘open and transparent government’ that Obama promised?
Releasing documents and interview transcripts from the Benghazi survivors might confirm what I already argued since 2012: That the Obama Administration knew of the risks of an attack in advance; knew of the attack in real-time; that it had nothing to do with an “Anti-Muslim” internet video, and the Administration (Pres. Obama and Sec of State Hillary Clinton) choose to do nothing about it (Official 2016 Report).
The Obama Administration withheld 25,000 pages of documents related to Benghazi.
An October 2013 report shows that there are rewards for information on tracking down wanted terrorists by the USA. However anyone wanted in connection to the Benghazi terrorist attack are not on that list.
 Prosecuting Truth.
Not only has the Obama Administration not been transparent, anyone – including the public media who publicly disclose potentially unlawful acts committed by the Obama Administration has been meet with prosecution.
“Since 2009, the Obama administration has prosecuted more people as whistle-blowers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all former presidents combined…”
Does the prosecution by a government against whistle-blowers sound like an open, transparent, Democratic or Constitutional Republic? Again, think of the answer: What kind of government suppresses speech, seeks to imprison those (working in the media and whistle-blowers) who publicly disclose potential wrong doings?
 Violating Constitutional Rights.
The purpose of government transparency is to help insure that government does not operate in total secrecy from its people.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled that Obama’s NSA spying (bulk data collection without a warrant) on the American people violated the U.S. Constitution.
“The court concludes that plaintiffs have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the government’s bulk collection and querying of phone record metadata, that they have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their Fourth Amendment claim (of unlawful search and seizure), and that they will suffer irreparable harm absent…relief…”
Does a government spying on its own people without a warrant (Unconstitutional per Fourth Amendment) sound like a Democracy or Republic to you? Again, think about what type of governments would most likely engage in this behavior?
 Obama Admin. Member Incorrectly Calls USA a “Democracy”
“It’s going to be these two democracies that shape the destiny of the 21st century,” he said. “These are beacons of freedom and democracy on opposite sides of the planet and we’ve got to stick together with our close friends and believe in these principles.”
— Ron Somers, President of the U.S.-India Business Council (Source: NBC News) (red emphasis added).
We have been establishing the fact that the Obama Administration is not operating within a Democracy let alone Constitutional Republic.
Mr. Somers should know that neither the USA nor India are “democracies” either. Some people call India a Republic, but its system of government is not like the USA at all. India operates as a Federation using a parliamentary system composing of 28 states and 7 territories.
India has a president who is elected for a 5 year term, however the Prime Minister is really the head of the government and who has most of the executive power. Recall India was once under British rule, hence the likelihood of some government similarity to the UK.
 AP Journalist Incorrectly Called USA a “Democracy”
AP published an article regarding that the Middle-East was somehow seeking a Democracy form of government, and that a Western Liberal Democracy was the final form of government?
“Almost a quarter-century ago, a young American political scientist achieved global academic celebrity by suggesting that the collapse of communism had ended the discussion on how to run societies, leaving “Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government”.“
— Source: Associated Press (AP) PDF (red emphasis added).
Separately, Donna Brazile at ABC News wrote an opinion article about Syria. Ms. Brazile incorrectly referred to the U.S. as a “Democracy.” Media referring to the U.S. as a Democracy is quite common, albeit their characterization is incorrect.
 Does the U.S. Have a Liberal Democracy?
As the AP journalist tried to argue that Western Liberal Democracy was the final form of government. A Liberal Democracy is too broadly defined to be called a specific form of government. Liberal Democracies can include allowing the people to vote on every issue, every measure, every bill, and overrule their elected officials.
“Some liberal democracies have additional systems of referenda — or public votes on proposed measures — to give citizens who are eligible to vote the possibility to overrule the decisions of the elected legislature or even to make decisions without giving the legislature a say.”
— Source: Wise Geek
The AP journalist has an interesting media opinion, but it is not part of the framework of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution never outlined changing the form of the U.S. government. In fact, government is accountable to the laws of the Constitution itself (Article IV).
 Despite Arab Spring Social Unrest, the Middle-East is Not a “Democracy”
Anyone who has cable, satellite television or access to the Internet should clearly understand that government by Democracy does not exist in the Middle-East.
Middle-Eastern and North-African counties are generally ruled by Kingdoms, Sultanates, Emirates, Constitutional Monarchies, Religious governments – a Theocracy, such as Iran; together who have no intention of stepping down or releasing their power without a fight (see Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Syria).
Despite the Arab Spring and related uprisings, the real issue in this region is fundamentally based on religious differences between the Muslim Sunnis who follow Sunni Islam, and the Muslim Shiites who follow Shia Islam.
The likelihood that establishing Democracy in the Middle-East will have a Kumbaya moment, where everyone will come together, think the same way, follow the same faith and act upon it the same way is probably the worst display of Western foreign policy arrogance in world history.
 Dictionary.com Incorrectly Called USA and Canada, “Examples of Democracies”
1. “Canada is a constitutional monarchy” (Source: The Canadian gov).
2. The U.S. is a Constitutional Republic.
 A True Democracy is Probably Not What You Think It Is.
In 1990, one person came up with his definition of a Democracy.
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
— Gary Strand, Usenet, 04-23-1990
Democracy is based on the notion of ‘popular opinion rules,’ rather than a Republic which is based on the notion of following the ‘rule of law.’
In a Democracy, those who have the ability to reach out to the most people via media, grassroots campaigns, people who stand at Target all day asking you to sign their petition for some social cause would have advantage an in a Democracy for of government.
All they have to do is get enough people to popularize an idea, and then that idea is voted on by those masses and then becomes law. That is called an Ochlocracy or Mob Rule.
— Source: Wikipedia
An example of this is anytime several innocent people get shot around the same event. The suspect is seemingly never to blame, but rather the weapon that is used is subject to the highest criticism. The incident is used by those wanting to strip away Constitutional liberties with the false notion that somehow no similar event will ever happen again or will happen in less frequency.
Thus we can see that laws could be created NOT by rational thinking, but rather by appeal to emotion – a fallacy of logic. Many people can be sucked into these emotional arguments after a tragedy, sometimes resulting in quick irrational decisions by politicians.
The use of mass media by politicians, organizations, etc., including TV, newspapers and social media use appeal to emotion to try and sway public opinion.
This is fine if you understand that the movement is an emotional tactic. However, when such an argument infringes on the rights of broader law-abiding citizens, or violates existing Constitutional laws, you better be careful what you are asking government to do.
One could end up deferring their power to a body of people who may decide you are no longer important, and we will make the rules and laws without you from here.
If one has been paying attention to the 2016 presidential election this exact situation is occurring right now with the two major political parties.
 Not a Democracy? Not a Republic? Welcome to 2016 Politics.
The Democrat Party has gifted Hillary Clinton over 500 delegates to effectively and artificially create another third of U.S. states. This gave Mrs. Clinton a huge political advantage within her party. The Party hand-picked these Super Delegates to mostly bureaucrats and big political donors who will make the decisions about who they want to be their party’s candidate.
The people think they have a choice, but they really don’t. If the Democrat Party did not have these Super Delegates, Hillary Clinton would have been short at having enough delegates to win her party’s nomination (Chart below).
Out of the few Democrat candidates, only two had a real chance to run for office. The Democrats are choosing from the only person who has been pre-selected and favored by the Democratic Party.
When a small group of people (712) control about 15 percent of the total national delegate vote, does that sound like Democracy let alone a Constitutional Republic?
The funny part about this is the Clinton camp is using psychological projection to her Democrat opponent Bernie Sanders, effectively blaming him for her political advantage. This of course is not true. Sanders had nothing to do with Clinton getting some 500 delegates from the DNC.
On the other hand, the Republican Party did present 17 candidates with most of them capable for the job as President. As it turned out, the people in the Republican Party choose a lead candidate by way of voting. The Republican Party does not have “Super Delegates” to help rig an election.
However some people in power, influence and wealthy donors have decided they don’t like the candidate that the people in the party choose. These elitists have been attempting to fight against the will of the People, circumvent their votes, and attempt to install another candidate like a 3rd world corrupt dictatorship.
Does either of these parties sound like they are representing a Democracy or a Constitutional Republic?
Welcome to Totalitarianism.
Had the Republicans done their job and listened to the voters especially after the 2012 and 2014 Mid-term elections, they would not be in their so called mess.
 Ochlocracy vs. Anarchism
The difference between Ochlocracy and Anarchism (“Without Government”) is the anarchists tend to see themselves as Socialists who seek to remove government with effectively popular social-driven ideology through democratic structures.
In psychology, there are several terms for this including Mass Psychology where a majority of a group follows an ideology to its end regardless of consequences. Propaganda can be used to influence behavior which this has been done historically by people, government and used every day to deceptively shape public opinions.
The problem in a Democracy is, it doesn’t matter what the impact of mob rule is as long as the populace gets their ideology into law.
“When one with honeyed words but evil mind Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.”
The problem with a social-driven agenda is that it is ever-changing based on the collective emotional opinion of the crowd.
What this group apparently does not understand is that over time, there is a risk of losing liberty and freedom in exchange for perceived “security.” At one point the social-driven agenda actually surrenders all control to a centralized government, which is exactly what they didn’t want in the first place.
However, don’t let facts or reality become part of the social-equation; facts, details, thinking to fruition are not drivers of their agenda.
The main idea seems to be, ‘what will help me right now and I’ll vote for that.’ It does not matter what the costs are, the impact on other people’s lives, what law or rights it may violate.
 Losing the Republic to a Democratic Structure Inlaid with Socialism
In 2010, the Gallup organization conducted a poll (above) that found 36 percent of all Americans (more than 1:3) have a positive image of “socialism.” The vast majority, 61 percent of political liberals had a positive view of Socialism.
- 36% of all Americans (more than 1:3) have a positive image of “socialism.”
- 53% of Democrat leaning had a positive view of Socialism.
- 61% of Liberals had a positive view of Socialism.
— Source: Frank Newport, for Gallup, February 4, 2010
What this suggests is that the ideology of Socialism is fairly high. This ideology is in direct conflict of a Constitutional Republic.
 The United States is a Constitutional Republic Form of Government.
Although pushed by Anti-American forces, we have discussed how the U.S. is not a Democracy, Totalitarian, Socialist nor an Ochlocracy (mob rule) form of government. We have mentioned that the U.S. is a Constitutional Republic. Let’s define what is a Constitutional Republic?
“A Republic, by definition, has two principle elements. First, it is controlled by Law; therefore, it does not control Law. Second, it recognizes the private independent sovereign nature of each person (man or woman) of competent age and capacity; therefore, a Republic must be representative in its nature.”
— Source: TeamLaw.org (bold emphasis added)
The U.S. Constitution was designed to instruct the government how to govern. Government is not above the law, nor can it pass or exempt itself from the law; it is to only follow the law.
Next, each person is deemed independent from government (not dependent on government), and government must not infringe on the sovereign liberty of its people.
Under the Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution, each and every U.S. state is also deemed as sovereign territory, as an independent state, including from the federal government. However the federal government is required to protect the states from invasion.
“The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion…”
It also appears that the federal government has failed to protect states, especially border states from invasion of illegal immigration.
Thus one could make the argument that state sovereignty is being attacked, taxpayers are being unnecessarily burdened by citizens of foreign countries in re: United States v. Texas (2016) and thus the federal government must protect its borders.
Next, the idea of a Republic is written in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
— U.S. Flag.org (red emphasis added to make point)
The U.S. adopted the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. Note the U.S. didn’t add or substitute the word Democracy, because arguably that would conflict with the true form of the United States government structure.
Even states such as California still fly the traditional Republic flag before the state was recognized into the Union.
 Main Purpose of a Constitutional Republic: Resist Tyranny
The main purpose of a Constitutional Republic is to allow resistance against tyranny. It was theorized that we could have what appears to be a Democratic-style of government when what could really be taking place is tyranny.
“If, on the other hand, a legislative power could be so constituted as to represent the majority without necessarily being the slave of its passions, an executive so as to retain a proper share of authority, and a judiciary so as to remain independent of the other two powers, a government would be formed which would still be democratic while incurring scarcely any risk of tyranny.”
— from the work, Democracy in America, Chapter XV, UNLIMITED POWER OF THE MAJORITY IN THE UNITED STATES, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES, sub-chapter: TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY by Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859).
The phrase “tyranny of the majority” was used by John Adams in 1788. The phrase gained prominence after its appearance in 1835 in Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville, where it is the title of a section. It was further popularized by John Stuart Mill, who cites Tocqueville, in On Liberty (1859). The Federalist Papers refer to the broad concept, as in Federalist 10, first published in 1787, which speaks of “the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority” (Source: Wikipedia).
Liberty and Tyranny
Lord Acton gave a speech to Members of the Bridgnorth Institute in 1877, where he addressed liberty and tyranny. Lord Action discussed the fall of the Republic in part by the masses of people who were willing to follow the tyrannical leader (in this case), Napoleon, and his like-minded successors.
“The Bonapartes were despotic (tyrannical); yet no liberal ruler was ever more acceptable to the masses of the people than the First Napoleon, after he had destroyed the Republic, in 1805, and the Third Napoleon, at the height of his power in 1859.”
— The History of Freedom in Antiquity, February 26, 1877. (Source: Acton Institute)
Today, Napoleon would be deemed as a political liberal, who gave the majority of people who followed Napoleon whatever they wanted. The thinking is if you just grant the appearance of free stuff to just enough people, you have their votes.
“The poor had what they had demanded in vain of the Republic.”
— said Lord Acton, February 26, 1877
It is claimed that Ben Franklin said this:
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”
— Benjamin Franklin. (Source: AmericanHistoryCentral.com)
Today that would be unlimited welfare and entitlements. What many did not understand then or today is the granting of virtually unlimited or just enough entitlements have consequences.
Those consequences include lower wages, higher taxes on a minority of people until the Middle-Class is then laden with more taxes. Then there is the risk of government debt exceeding the ability for government to repay. The biggest risk is deferring more power to a centralized body of fewer people.
 Historical Figure Sentenced to Death for Criticizing Democracy
Socrates realized that people (supporting a Democracy) did not like to be challenged with questions. Socrates eventually withdrew from political life because he felt that a good person who fights for justice in a Democracy would be killed.
‘Because most people hate to be tested in argument, they will always take action of some sort against those who provoke them with questions…a good person who fights for justice in a democracy will be killed.”
The Democratic Greek government eventually put Socrates on trial for ‘corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of impiety (“not believing in the gods of the state”)’ Socrates was found guilty and subsequently sentenced to death where he was forced to drink a mixture containing poison [Sources: Wikipedia & Gadfly on Trial: Socrates as Citizen and Social Critic, Athenian Law in its Democratic Context (PDF 37 pps)].
Today, we have examples of groups such as the Tea Party who seek to restore the rule of law from our Constitutional Republic as intended by our forefathers.
Then we have other groups such as big government Democrats and Republicans (together, The Establishment) who want to keep the status quo even though the status quo is putting the United States at economic risk.
Classic Republicans, generally seek less government and more individual liberty. Modern Democrats are pushing to be more like Napoleon, and that didn’t end well – nor for its critics.
The U.S. broke free and declared its Independence from England, after being subject to years to tyrannical rule.
— NetAdvisor™ (@NetAdvisor) July 4, 2016
The Democratic ideology is more of a Ochlocracy: A social-driven (mob rule) where collective groups support bigger government, regardless of cost, risk of freedom and liberty, or risk to the economy.
If one opposes this social ideology, one is attacked as Socrates was then eventually killed by the elitists in 470 B.C. This group tries to force their will and compliance on others who resists their cause. They use character assassinations on others along with propaganda to reinforce their social agenda.
That my friends is not America. Debate is one thing; but character assassinations and propaganda might be part of a Democracy, but it does not represent a Constitutional Republic.
So when you hear people talk about America as a ‘Democracy,’ now we know they are not talking about America. They are talking about an entirely different form of government that historically has failed every time, and has proven to be an economic threat, and threat to liberty.
- U.S. Constitution Guarantee Clause
- A Republic, Not a Democracy? (Arguments Against Citizen Lawmaking) (PDF 52pps)
- First Amendment Under Attack
- History: How The USA Became A Gun Culture
- Congress is Finally United – Against the People
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