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Democracy is a form of government in which all participants have equal vote on decisions that affect the group. Democracy does not appear to have a prominent place in Transformers society, as the vast majority of their leaders and policy appear to be decided on either by the departing previous leader, the interpreted will of the Matrix, or a High Council. (It is unknown whether any High Council is elected into office, and most known members seem to serve for millions of years, until assassination.) The specter of perpetual war looms large, lending itself to a state of global martial law on Cybertron.
Examples of democracy in Transformers fiction
Marvel Comics continuity
- Optimus Prime explains to Jetfire the terms of his leadership of the Autobots. He states that if the Autobots wish him to step down, he will. It is also their right to leave individually. Though Optimus Prime was appointed to Autobot Commander by Emirate Xaaron, he suggests that it is the will of the people that keeps him there. Whether this is only Optimus Prime's feelings or an actual, enforced policy is never discussed.
- When Optimus Prime dies in battle, the Autobots must select a new leader. The seven Autobots who held a "position of authority" (Perceptor, Jetfire, Blaster, Hot Spot, Silverbolt, Omega Supreme, and Ratchet) hold a private conference to nominate a replacement. This practice is not strictly democratic, as not every Autobot present was eligible to participate. If the "positions of authority" were electable positions themselves, the conference could be categorized as republican. (It should be noted that Grimlock was also eligible to participate, as leader of the Dinobots, but he showed up late only to tell everyone they were stupid and weak, that Optimus Prime was a loser, and to nominate himself. The conference eventually decided on Grimlock, of course.)
- During the disastrous rule of Grimlock, the entirety of the Earthbound Autobots (save the Dinobots, of course), rallied together to show their support for Blaster as his replacement. This enthusiasm for regime change disappeared once Blaster turned himself in to Grimlock to guarantee the safe release of the Spacehiker children. (It is perhaps telling that the Autobots will do nothing to better themselves in the absence of a strong leader.)
Generation One cartoon series
- After suffering heavy losses in the battle for Autobot City, the Decepticons take a vote on whether or not to jettison their damaged comrades in order to make it back to Cybertron. The results of the vote are split entirely along the boundaries of who would be personally affected by this decision, but the damaged are outnumbered and tossed into space. (Unsurprisingly, the Decepticons do not appear to have any mechanism to protect the rights of the minority). After this, the Decepticons hold a debate as to who should succeed the ejected Megatron as leader of the Decepticons. This is handled by a more traditional Decepticon process—beat the slag out of each other.
- Later, the Decepticons take a vote as to whether or not they should ally themselves with the Quintessons.
- When the Decepticons invaded Paradron, one native claimed that, since their society was a democracy, they didn't have to obey the Decepticons' commands. As it turns out, Cyclonus and Scourge didn't particularly care how Paradron's government worked.
Beast Wars animated series
- When Optimus Primal goes missing, a secret ballot is cast among the four remaining Maximals. According to Rhinox, voting in this manner is a Maximal tradition. The vote results in a tie, and Dinobot laughs at the process' revealed faults. Presumably, Predacons do not believe in democracy. Optimus Primal was able to contact them soon after, and he declared Rattrap the leader in his absence.