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There are 6 ways American democracy is failing in recent times. Politics is becoming very divisive and chaotic in the United States recently. The country has always been a byword for toleration, pluralism, and freedom of speech and action.
But, in recent years, it has become highly tumultuous. Some critics may try to okay it by relating it to the bigger picture and the rise of populism and unrest globally. This might be somewhat correct but that is not the whole truth.
This has come especially from the Republicans (their fixation on negotiable issues). This crisis of democracy will have enduring impacts on the socio-economic and political landscapes of the country.
John L. Bowman in his, “Democracy: and why it will fail in America” (2016) argues that the rise of divisiveness and intolerance is the result of impatient and nonchalant political leaders. I highly recommend this book on America’s standing in 2021.
Bowman argues that the leaders lack the political acumen and will to set things in the right swing. He even believes the United States is bound to fail because it is not addressing the real challenges such as racial tensions, flawed economic policies, and maladroit diplomacy.
American democracy is Failing: The Rise of Polarization
The rise of polarization between the Democrats and the Republicans is one of the ways American democracy is failing. It has become more pronounced and relevant in recent times. This has far-reaching implications on the socio-economic, cultural, and political landscapes.
It can even lead to degeneration and chaos, so much so that it may no longer compete with the rising hegemons like China.
Mark Goodwin in his ”American Meltdown: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale of America’s Coming Financial Downfall” predicts that the American economic model is flawed and unsustainable in modern economics.
The author sees a big economic recession in foreseeable future, which will mark the end of America as a hegemon. To better understand the economic future of the United States, this is a great book to read.
For example, the followers of Donald J. Trump and the Republicans are not ready to listen to anything that their leaders believe. They regard climate change as a myth and believe in protectionism.
On the other hand, the Democrats lambast anyone who speaks against their manifesto or any idea that does not fit their opinions. It is increasing the gulf between the two parties which can compromise on the national interests.
How is American Democracy Failing?
The rise of polarization and the widening differences are a sign that American democracy is failing. It lets down the state by making decisions not based on national interests but personal ones. The specter of polarization is a part of every society but in recent decades it has become more pronounced and extreme.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans are going beyond their call of duty. Resultantly, they are hurting their own country. If a party is in power and by the stroke of luck has Kick-started some good project, the next party is going to come hard and put everything upside down.
Compromising on National Interests
American democracy is failing because the Democrats and the Republicans are compromising on national interests. For example, the Obama administration did make a good deal about Universal Healthcare, a decision that seemed to be pending for ages.
But as soon as the new president came, Donald J. Trump, the whole story got reversed. He discarded that effort, labeling it as a “Nasty” and “Stupid” decision. This gave health coverage to 45 million “Americans” which the Trump administration littered.
Trump’s Pull of JCPOA
Another piece of evidence that suggests that American democracy is failing is the US pull out of JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Now, the US has made the issue of Iran’s nuclear program even more complicated.
On the other hand, it has also estranged its Western allies on it. It is important to note that the International Atomic Energy Agency report explicitly stated that Iran’s nuclear proliferation was a mere 4-5% while it needed to be nearly 97% to complete a nuke.
But the new president not only threw it away, causing dissent among the European allies who were wary of it. Adding salt to the wound, he rescinded his own campaign narrative to bring cessation in the hostilities, saving the budget, he killed an Iranian leader which cost the US an arm and a leg.
By now he has foolishly sent over 12000 army men to the Persian Gulf, which has further added to the State’s exchequer. This whack-a-mole strategy has proved a debacle.
Rising Internal Strife
Another point that shows that American democracy is failing is the rising internal strife. If the gulf between two political parties in the USA further increases, it is likely to hamper its progress.
There is a lurking danger of China locking horns on any issue if its national interests seem compromised. From building artificial islands in the South China Sea to clamping down on Hong Kong people, it is conspicuous that China is not going to allay.
On this critical point, American democracy is failing. Instead of making strategies to undo or weaken China’s gambit of power or political leverage in the wake of the Belt Road Initiative, the United States is busy with paltry and resolvable issues such as climate change, the emigrant crisis, Iran nuclear issue, dealing with China, North Korea, and Russia, or strengthening ties with European Union, ASEAN countries, India, etc.
Goldman Sachs has already warned that China may take over the United States as the biggest economic power by 2027-2028. Therefore, the internal unrest and lack of communication and dialogue may cause incalculable harm to its hegemony.
Republicans are Becoming Ever More Divisive
American democracy is failing because of the divisiveness of political leadership. Even though both the Republicans and the Democrats are to be blamed for the ever-increasing turbulence, radicalization, and divisiveness in the country, it is the Republican Party that is somewhat more maladroit.
The Coming Collapse of the American Republic: And what you can do to prevent it (2011) by famous author Robert A. Hall also argue that American democracy is failing. If you want to comprehend the ensuing decline of the United States, this should be your next month’s read.
Robert Hall pinpoints four major causes that can devastate the country.
The incomprehensible debt and unfunded financial liabilities
The threat of uncontrolled, illegal immigration to our economy and culture
The asymmetric war waged against us by Islamic Jihadists
China’s rise as a competitive military and economic power determined to dominate Asia.
There is no second thought that climate change is real and it’s serious. Maybe it is not as serious as some reports may say, but it definitely is a real challenge. Its stance needs to change slightly. All-out rejection of the issue will only aggravate the plights.
The allies such as the European Union countries have felt disappointed with Trump’s sudden pull-off. They have also felt disgraced after Trump’s decision to leave the climate change accord (Paris Accord). Therefore, it is pertinent to say that American democracy is failing.
American democracy is Failing: Climate Change Policy
Any rise in temperature of more than 1.5° Celsius is catastrophic. Various places like Mumbai, Miami, Maldives, etc. will be underwater soon.
According to IPCC, more than 40% of the world population will be affected by climate change over a century if the temperature keeps on shooting up at the present pace. There is an average global sea-level rise of 1-2 millimeters per year over the last century. There is a 1° Celsius rise in global temperature since 1870 which is not a welcoming reality.
Despite this alarming situation, the United States does not have a consensus on climate change policy; and therefore, American democracy is failing. We stay in a state of lethargy and Nature will play its role. This is an existential crisis that has challenged world security.
It is quite conspicuous that American democracy is failing. This partisan polarization has strong undercurrents and it is detrimental to the country. The need of the hour is to get some guidance from the past.
The Democrats and Republicans should sit together on issues of national interest and pass unanimous legislation. Baby-Dol Act and the Refugee Act are precedences. This is the only way to salvation.Share