If democracy fails in the United States . . .
will it survive anywhere else?
Many people (including me) are worried about the failure of democracy here. But what happens in the rest of the world if democracy fails here, with the leading countries outside Europe authoritarian or leaning authoritarian, and European democracy looking a bit frayed around the edges? And if authoritarianism is ascendant around the world, what would be the chance of a democratic restoration here? This is above my pay grade, but I’m not optimistic . . . thoughts?
You are more optimistic than me.
The racists are winning all over the world. And it is absolute proof that how you win elections was best shown in “The American President” more than 20 years ago:
“We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. “
And right on cue, more evidence that democracy is dying. All signs point to Russia, where there will be excessive partying in St. Petersburg tonight. Putin has hit the daily double, and the 2020 election may well enable him to hit the Pick 3.
Our democracy is on its edge of existence. led there by fearful men.
“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men…
—Edward R. Murrow, March 9, 1954
We may not be descended from fearful people, but we certainly have evolved into them. Late Thursday night, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, pretty much sank the effort to have witnesses testify in the impeachment trial of the president, and Alexander did so in a statement that is going to go down in the annals of unmitigated weaselspeak. Gaze in awe.
‘I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense. There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a “mountain of overwhelming evidence.”‘
Alexander believes that the president* shook down the president of Ukraine in order to help the president* ratfck the 2020 presidential election. Alexander believes this is what happened. Alexander believes that the House managers have made that case. Alexander believes that the House managers have made that case so convincingly that calling further witnesses and demanding further documents would be superfluous. And because Alexander believes all that, he believes that the president*…should be acquitted on the charges of which Alexander believes the president* is guilty as hell.
Alexander is being a poltroon on so many different levels here. In addition to arguing that a guilty president* is guilty but should go unpunished, Alexander is claiming that the solution to a ratfcked election is to hope the next one isn’t ratfcked. Good Christ, what a waste of a handsome piece of office furniture in the Senate chamber this man has turned out to be.
Now, it’s possible that this latest spasm of political cowardice will cost Mitch McConnell his Senate Majority. (I, for one, don’t think this is going to rescue Collins in Maine. Cory Gardner likely is a dead fish in Colorado, and Martha McSally of Arizona can’t get out of her own way. In their fondest dreams, the Democrats will come out of Georgia with at least a split.) So, on Friday, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago will skate, and Brexit will become formalized in the UK. At the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, the moles and trolls are going to throw themselves a party.”
I appreciate the thoughtful comments above.
Besides the appeal of despots, both real and wannabe, across the globe, our two major parties are an archaic anti-democratic infrastructure, efficient only in hoovering up the money. Each party’s component members have wildly different constituencies, with winning, or winning back, power in DC their only real organizing principle. The old notion of the two party system forcing and forging a lower-case ‘d’ democratic national consensus is dead. Not that this would ever happen – I’m pessimistic as well – but given that our country has irreversibly frayed into its various identities – racial, economic, geographic, etc – the best way to forge any consensus would be a parliamentary system. Not a perfect system by any means – there are plenty of bad examples out there – but at least more transparent,\.
Of course, changing the federal government in the US to a parliamentary system would require a wholesale re-write of the Constitution.
For much of our history, there was no democracy in the US for women or black Americans. Without downplaying the significance of current events, it is also fair to say that history gives reason for “optimism” that something like the US approximation of democracy will endure. At least until 2050 or so, when the global resource wars ramp up in earnest.
And therein lies the rub. The biggest problem with our democracy is the makeup of Congress. Small states have way, way more power than they should have. It’s why the GOP can pursue their agendas that really go against the majority of the American people.
Changing to a parliamentary system would be all but impossible. In order to do so you would have to have the tail that is wagging the dog, to give up that power.
Can’t happen in my lifetime or the lifetime of my children.
Where does democracy fit in a policy of live and let live?
The problem with our democracy is that it is a government by and for the rich. This is a feature, not a bug, it was built that way from the start, and it persists.