Thursday, November 05, 2020

America's sick "democracy"

Like everyone else, I spent yesterday glued to the internets, doomscrolling the disaster of the US election. As I write, the outcome is still undetermined - while it looks like Biden will win, margins in key states are close, and the US's decrepit (and in some cases, intentionally sabotaged) election administration means a slow count (which, predictably, Trump is now trying to disrupt). And yet, from the popular vote, the result is clear: Biden leads by over three million votes. In any normal democracy, that would settle it without question. The only reason this is in any doubt is because of the racist gerrymander of the electoral college.

The flaws in American "democracy" are naked: gerrymandering, voter suppression, partisan electoral administration and the electoral college. These flaws undermine the legitimacy of the entire system. Unfortunately, it looks like the Democrats failed to win the Senate, so they are not going to be able to fix them - or anything else. On past Republican behaviour, Biden is going to face at least two years of obstruction, maybe more. And that's without even thinking about the Supreme Court (which a Democratic Senate could have fixed temporarily). The question is, how long can this structurally dysfunctional and illegitimate system totter on for, before enough people grow sick enough of it to demand real change?