This article from the Guardian's foreign affairs commentator, Simon Tisdale, begins...."Nineteen months into the Trump presidency, US democracy is running into serious trouble – but it is not all, or even mostly, Donald Trump’s fault. This crisis of governance has been building for decades. It is only now, as Trump’s iconoclastic assaults on established beliefs, laws, institutions and values test the system to destruction, that the true scale of pre-existing weaknesses and faultlines is becoming apparent."
It continues..."This deep crisis of confidence, bordering on national meltdown, comes as the US hurtles towards midterm elections in November..."
And there you have it. Elections, candidates, voters....the appearance of a democratic process that is functioning normally and under control - when in fact it's anything but. The fact is, as a democracy - and upholder of democratic values and process - the US is no longer fit for purpose. It's an embarrassment. A disgrace. Almost every aspect of the nation as a democracy is deeply flawed or compromised.. ...and that's before we even look at the way probably a majority of all voters have dumbed down and have been deliberately rejecting the truths and facts they find unpalatable. Truth is no longer an important value in itself - as Trump well knows.
The country's political system and national networks are also corrupt and have sold their soul to lobby groups, big business and bent donors. If you have an organisation or a business that wants real political influence, do you try to influence 200 million voters - or do you buy 51 Senators? It's a no-brainer.
Previous articles in States of Mind have looked at the way Christian fundamentalists and billionaire conservatives are working the system to squeeze out marginal victories by promoting their issues in marginal states; the notorious Koch brothers are an example of this, as is the blindly pro-Israeli casino magnate and anti-democrat, Sheldon "konte" Adelson (see SoM passim). They spend billions on subverting the process to produce the outcomes they want. Much of this can be traced to the "new" thinking the Christian, Republican, Conservatives introduced in the 1990s under the former speaker (and arch-hypocrite) Newt Gingrich (what a name, what a guy!). This pillock (re)defined the issue very succinctly: "The purpose of democracy is to achieve a majority." Wow! Screw the values: it's all in the vote.... Except it isn't. That's not democracy, it's an electocracy.... and it's yet another form of tyranny - as that great liberal John Stuart Mill pointed out.
This is exactly what is wrong with the system as process. 50.01% beats 49.99% of the vote and Hurrah! you have a majority. But you also have a divided and polarised country. The next 4 years are spent agonising how to keep the other guy out rather than actually working for the key democratic values like pluralism, compromise, respect for "the other" and social justice. Indeed, anything that further polarises and demarcates is considered good - and the idea is to squeeze out the "swing" voter by radicalising your base.
The article looks briefly at the way the court appointments are also so politically partisan that they are guaranteed to be anything other than independent. The way the 2001 Conservative majority Supreme Court ruling was used to steal the election for George W Bush is a case in point. America has never recovered. Since then, the nation effectively militarised and started more wars in more unthreatening countries than any democracy ever has. Every day it is still murdering people with extra-judaical drone killings. The national mentality was driven by armchair warriors, op-ed pieces and lunatic "security experts" and commentators. And of course, politicians in the pay of the military industrial complex. Security completely dominated all other democratic values - and this is what the country is paying for today: it's fear. No other democracy has ever - EVER - behaved in this way, so today, "American Exceptionalism" really does mean something not very complimentary.
Tisdale argues that in relation to Trump...."Many were shocked to discover that a US president could issue diktats and fatwas like the worst kind of unelected despot or ayatollah." And this is yet another problem. In a democracy of more than 320 million people, with alleged checks and balances, how come a freaky moron like Trump has the power to unilaterally behave like an inbred Roman tyrant-emperor and unilaterally decide - without requiring any further approval - to push the nuclear button? Seriously, how is the world a safer place for the world's largest nuclear arsenal being in the hands of a patently unstable muppet? This is actually the rule of the infantile tyrant.
Just read the article... but the important thing is this. It just refers to - and deals with - the failure of democratic processes in the US. But the worst thing about the US right now is the mindset of the voters that enable Trump -- and who will probably see him re-elected. For too long the US has got off on refusing to engage in any serious degree of self-examination, continually telling itself and the world "we are the best"... just like the new "master race" too many believe themselves to be.
If America is still a democracy, it is the worst kind of democracy. The only question now is, is it too late to save it?
Says it all.