No. 3




Constitutional Shock from America: Elections in the Postmodern Revolution

18 June 2001


RiTo No. 3, 2001

  • Igor Gräzin

    Member of the Riigikogu, Estonian Reform Party

The electoral crisis in the USA got the unusually lively coverage in Estonia for the following reasons: being the most important strategic partner and ally of Estonia the future of American developments and the nature of its democratic institutions are of vital interest for Estonia. The role of the USA and the preservation of America’s democratic values is even more important for Estonia today as we face the strong gravitational forces from basically socialist and bureaucratic institutions of the EU. Until Estonia has to cope with the threats like the ones exercised by the EU against Austria the ally able to balance out these challenges remains in the USA.

Although the last presidential elections in the USA proved that the system of democracy in the US remains less developed than that in Estonia the American society still moves in the direction of approval of the new political structures corresponding to the society that is entering the era of IT technologies. American democracy did not survive the recent crisis because of its Constitution (as stated by Clinton) but in spite of it and due to the democratic traditions and grass-root organisation of US communities.

Last elections in the US shattered some principal concepts that had prevailed both in American and the global political mindset as well. The ability of US people and of the political establishment to grasp these new realities is going to determine the path of future developments of American constitutionalism and its influence upon the global society.

The most unexpected legal result of the last elections came in the form of the conclusion that the current text of the US Constitution is not workable anymore and can’t be preserved or that it can be preserved at very high societal costs. As the electoral mechanism covers about a quarter of the whole text, it can’t be changed in the form of added amendments. On the other side: the extreme flexibility of US Constitution (opposing solutions for Roe v. Wade came within the framework of only two decades!) has drastically diminished its regulatory role (or: predicting value as supposed once by O. W. Holmes). The outcome of the last presidential elections was unpredictable till the very last court decision and could be determined rather by flipping the coin than by expensive legal procedures.

The outcome of these elections was determined rather by the rule of big numbers and accidental probabilities than by any social factors: in the one-bit-choice cases (or: as I have named it elsewhere: Hamletian cases – to vote or not to vote, to vote for GOP or the Dems) the results were 50:50 and the differences remained within the percentage points from the margin of error (sic!). From what we may conclude that the two-party system as such (in America and elsewhere) has outlived its life and has to be replaced by other, now – by postmodern socio-political structures. Both voting for Democrats and republicans as well in America keep it in the shadows whom you are voting for anyway – as Democrats include such mutually parties as New-English socialists (Kennedy & Co) and Reagan and Southern Democrats and GOP extends from the Christian Coalition to fiscal libertarians like Jack Kemp (was). Thus the two-party system has been replaced in the US by a one-party-system (of political insiders) or a multi-party system that has not been recognised by the existing official system of voter-registration and the mechanisms of electoral machinery. (The last word if taken literally points at the voting mechanisms themselves that do not correspond to the technical levels of the Microsoft and Silicon Valley country!)

The outcome of the last elections had to be predetermined by economic boom of the country and the incumbent-president’s party had to win hands down. Not to the last extent the fundamental failure of the Democratic Party was predetermined by the scandals created by the Clintons and made public by the new media: the Internet. Thus a “citizen-journalist” Matt Drudge with his fundamentally influential and truly independent site ( became one of the most crucial factors of the current electoral outcome. (Drudge published the materials that had been censored out by the pro-Clinton mainstream liberal media.)

From these facts we can conclude that America is moving away from its modern past into the new political era of post-modernism. Until we traced these tendencies in Estonia we could interpret them as our uniqueness and kind of a (risky) exceptionality; now after having experienced the same tendencies in the American mega-society we can say that we are on the right track although a little bit ahead of the others.

Full article in Estonian