Basic ingredients: universal suffrage and fair elections.
What makes this a democracy? At this point, to think the 2004 elections were fair and correct, can only be ignorance, whether willful or otherwise. Here's a good wrap-up of the situation in Ohio.
If you saw the movie Unprecedented - and if you didn't, rent it now! - you'll vividly recall the heartbreaking scene where Congressperson after Congressperson - all African Americans, by the way - were not allowed to object to the Florida vote count.
Who will object to the Ohio count?
Tomorrow, January 6, Representative John Conyers of Detroit will rise and object to the vote count in Ohio. He will not be allowed to speak unless at least one member of the Senate agrees to let him have the floor.
Who will let him speak?
It takes only one member of the House and one member of the Senate to stop the acceptance of the Electoral College vote and force a legitimate debate and investigation. Just two officials out of 535 can halt the final acceptance of the election. The law was written that way because nothing is more important than the integrity of the vote.
Will anyone rise from the Senate floor to second Congressman Conyers?
I ask again: If we don't have fair elections, what makes this a democracy?