THE UNITED STATES AND THE STATE OF DEMOC­RACY

The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - ARAB MEDIA -

Asharq al-Awsat, Lon­don, Oc­to­ber 25

As the midterm elec­tions in the United States draw near, three key fac­tors emerge as the defin­ing traits of the Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal arena to­day.

First, the po­lit­i­cal de­bate in the US to­day does not re­volve around pol­icy. If you ask a Demo­crat about their eco­nomic world­view, he or she will likely com­plain about how Repub­li­cans ru­ined the econ­omy. Sim­i­larly, if you ask a Repub­li­can about their eco­nomic views, he or she will de­nounce Democrats for al­ways find­ing a rea­son to com­plain. In the midst of this po­lar­iza­tion, no­body talks about con­crete po­lit­i­cal agenda any­more.

Sec­ond, the Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal arena to­day lacks any cred­i­ble op­po­si­tion to Trump. The Demo­cratic Party has not mus­tered the courage it takes to stand up to Trump and pro­vide a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to his rule.

This brings me to the third point: unity within the Demo­cratic Party has reached an all-time low. In­deed, the up­com­ing elec­tions are less about who will stand up to Trump and more about who will lead the Demo­cratic Party. Three main strands have emerged within its ranks.

The first are rad­i­cal left­ists such as Bernie San­ders who seek to im­i­tate Trump-like pol­i­tics with a so­cial­ist spin.

The sec­ond are mem­bers of the Party’s Old Guard; peo­ple like Hil­lary Clin­ton and her gen­er­a­tion.

The third are the Obama loy­al­ists who seek to re­vive their pre­de­ces­sor’s charisma and win over the Amer­i­can pub­lic. No mat­ter how we look at it, these three phe­nom­ena spell out grave trou­ble for Amer­i­can democ­racy.

The lev­els of divi­sion and ha­tred we wit­ness in the United States to­day are sim­ply un­prece­dented. Heated ar­gu­ments that lack any sem­blance of re­spect or courtesy have be­come the norm. For a coun­try that prides it­self on its long-stand­ing demo­cratic tran­si­tions, the United States seems to­day much more like a bat­tle­ground in which ex­clu­sive groups of elites fight for ul­ti­mate power. –Amir Ta­her

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