Life support

Reviews | American democracy dwells on life support | Part III

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Wikkimedia Commons

Former United States President Donald Trump speaks with attendees of the ‘Rally to Protect Our Elections’ in Phoenix on July 24, 2021. Senior columnist Andrew Prozorovsky discusses Trump’s past actions as president and others flaws in the American political system.

Former President Donald Trump, using his signature populist message, correctly identified Washington, DC as a swamp, but he failed to demonstrate that it was any different from the corrupt and rewarding caricature he illustrated.

One of the last acts of the former president on leaving was revocation an executive order he signed early in his term to curb the “revolving door” and ban White House staffers from joining lobbying firms. At best, his executive order was dishonest grandstanding. At worst, it was a deliberate way to prevent former Obama officials from becoming lobbyists while intending to grant that privilege to his own people from the start.

In Washington, politicians are rarely held accountable. Asked about Hatch Act violations, a common occurrence in Trump’s White House, then chief of staff Mark Meadows attested“No one (outside of Washington) really cares.”

Campaign finance violations, such as the misuse of campaign funds, are difficult to track, but when they are find, they are systematically ignored. Politicians, like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are accused to use staff members for personal errands, a violation of ethics, with impunity.

When a Republican commits the offense, his party refuse to hold them accountable, and if the Democratic Party then pursues an investigation, it is called politically motivated. Democrats do a better job of holding themselves accountable, down to the occasional foul.

Many countries grant their politicians some form of parliamentary or legislative immunity, free from criminal or civil prosecution. While America tries not to be so explicit about its lawsuit protections for politicians, it would be almost more respectable to codify it.

Why even fund surveillance agencies if their discoveries do not lead to real consequences? Why bother hiring inspectors general if President Trump could fire or replace five from them on a whim?

America has been brutally awakened to the paradox of prosecuting politicians: prosecute politicians and risk emulating the banana republics where political prosecutions are more common or choose to actually grant amnesty to politicians who engage in behavior corrupt.

The electoral system is clearly broken, a conclusion the country should have reached after Bush vs. Gore. The fact that a reversal of the 2024 election through state legislative channels is even a plausible reality reflects the fact that there are more than just cracks in the system – the system is made up of pieces of a broken vessel. grossly glued together as we all collectively claim he will. hold.

And election denial has invaded even the least competitive races. Instead of conceding, a Republican House candidate in Florida, who won less than 20% of the vote in the heavily Democratic district, chose file lawsuits alleging wrongdoing. Although the lawsuit is likely to be dismissed, the idea that a resounding election result can be overturned by a judge presents problems with the process, media coverage and the character of candidates like this.

While campaign finance laws remain tragically inept after Citizens United v. FEC makes it more than difficult to organize big donors (whose disclosure obligations have become increasingly thin over the years) and difficult to overcome corporate media apparatuses like Fox.

American democracy is heading for the rocks. A potential death spiral. Canadian political scientist and professor warns that the United States could succumb to authoritarianism as early as 2030 (a scenario like Viktor Orban’s reign in Hungary, which Trump has praised). Now is the time to act and radically reform, not sit idly by. Of course, filibuster is not worth inaction.

Congress must ban lawmakers from buying and selling stocks. Congress must pass either of the bills regarding the renewal of voting standards nationwide. Currently, that looks bleak, as Senator Kyrsten Sinema prefers to keep her head in the clouds, where allowing 50 members, a majority, of the Senate to pass legislation would be tantamount to signing the US death certificate.

Either way, the Democrats must pursue the lawsuit (fun fact: The Voting Rights Act of 1965, during its debate, was also criticized as a “federal election takeover” and a ” takeover”. Some things never change).

American institutions are worth believing. But this commitment to institutions must be translated into a commitment to reform them if necessary. This must be reflected in our ability to recognize toxic politicians and oust them for fairer candidates. The Constitution is a living document. Let’s not ignore the ugly, ramshackle parts of American democracy in the name of fake patriotism. Let us work to heal and save the sick.

Andrew is an LAS senior.

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