Friday, February 2, 2018

Democracies Are Not Easy To Build And Sustain

Its easy to look at Donald Trump's rise to the presidency and conclude that Trump is responsible for the erosion of democracy in the US.  That is giving Trump too much credit.  In a sense we are fortunate that Trump has been an inept autocrat.  We would be in more danger if General Kelly had won the election.  There is a lot of overlap between their values but a competent general, with the ability to wrap himself up in the flag, would be more dangerous threat to democracy. Trump took advantage of some of the issues that erode democracy, but it is important to understand those issues more deeply.  This article explores some of the factors that enable democracy but it also shows how difficult it is to preserve it.  One of the factors that undermines democracy is the degree of partisanship that prevails.  For example, Democrats and Republicans were less partisan during the period in which the South was controlled by the Democratic Party.  They tempered the policies advocated by the Northern branch of the party.  That made it easier for Democrats and Republicans to work more closely together.  Today the values gap between the two political parties is so deep that they regard the opposing party as illegitimate.  The solid South is now Republican and it this has moved the Republican Party much closer to identity factors that have always been prevalent in the South.  The Democratic Party has taken this opportunity to build a coalition among minority groups which have been growing as a share of the electorate. It should not be surprising that members of the Republican Party are so opposed to liberal immigration policies and to the policies of Obama.

There are many other well argued points about the foundations of democracies and how they are eroding in the US and elsewhere.  I will close with only one of the worrisome points discussed in this article. .

The simple fact of the matter is that the world has never built a multiethnic democracy in which no particular ethnic group is in the majority and where political equality, social equality and economies that empower all have been achieved.

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