The decline of U.S. democracy

Democracy is defined as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. The U.S. is an example of a declining democracy, where voters are increasingly distrusting the elected and where partisanship and corruption have taken hold of the political institutions.

Voters in the U.S. are least likely to trust the legislative branch of the federal government, with only 32% trusting it. These data are from Gallup’s annual Governance survey. On the question to voters “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?” only 13% in the Gallup survey said yes. This is the lowest point ever and the yes percentage is normally around 50% with a peak in October 2001 after 9/11 with 84% approval rating.

The well-regarded Brookings Institution concludes that the once proud American democracy is facing a systemic crisis and is accelerating its decline. The impact is spreading to all fronts in domestic politics, the economy and society, posing a mortal threat to the legitimacy and health of the American democracy and to capitalism. There has been a steady drop in the levels of trust in political parties, elected representatives, and governmental institutions.

To anyone following American politics, it is not exactly news that Democrats and Republicans do not like each other. The parties have become increasingly far from each other in terms of politics, both parties becoming more extreme, and it has been increasingly impossible to work together and find common solutions. This level of partisanship, borderline hatred, has reached levels that are not just bad for democracy, but are potentially destructive. And extreme partisan animosity is a prelude to democratic collapse.

The upcoming election in November will be a test of the U.S. democracy. There are numerous ways to cheat in the American voting systems as controls and checks are weak and inconsistent in various states. The fact that a voter is not required to show a valid ID in most states seems bizarre and unheard of in other more advanced democratic countries. Mail-in votes are also without proper checks. There has been an influx of millions of illegal immigrants and in several states, they are encouraged to register as voters. There are also controversies related to electronic voting machines.

Nobody trusts anyone any longer as politics have become a matter of life or death between two increasingly extreme parties, not necessarily focused on democratic values and procedures, but rather beating the other party. This is evident in the political witch hunt of Donald Trump; the democrats’ hate object number one and Biden’s political opponent in the upcoming presidential election. The democrats and the military-industrial complex will do anything they can to stop Trump.

The extreme partisanship in combination with the structure of the U.S. democracy, with the executive branch, the president, the legislative branch, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the justiciary branch, the supreme court, are completely disconnected, making political decisions difficult, sometimes impossible. As it is expected that the senate will turn republican in November, the supreme court will remain conservative, it comes down to the presidential and the House elections to get a new balance that again will make it more or less impossible to have a productive and democratic functioning political system. The parties do not seem to care, they are more focused on winning the next election and to beat the opponent.

The ruling parties are also doing their best trying to stop independent parties, making it difficult for them to get on state ballots and to get financing. There are other signs that the American democracy is in decline such as censorship, media lies, fake news and an increased oppression of political enemies. The American democracy is definitely going in the wrong direction and the only ones that can save it seems to be the American voters. If they can vote out extremists and vote for partisan politicians who are willing to unify and work together, there is still hope. At this point though, there is only darkness, corruption, partisanship, nastiness, and a kill or get killed mentality. The state of the U.S. democracy is truly dreadful and getting worse.

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