January 11th, local time, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives officially submitted draft impeachment draft articles against President Trump on the 11th, accusing Trump of “sedition”.
Earlier that day, House Democrats also tried to push the House to pass a motion to ask Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remove Trump, but Republicans blocked it.
Just a few days ago, Washington had a shocking scene in the history of world politics. On January 6, when the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives were certifying the results of the 2020 electoral college, President Trump supporters launched a large-scale protest because they were dissatisfied with the election results, which eventually turned into a violent campaign to occupy the U.S. Congress.
Such a farce in the United States, which self-proclaims itself as the “beacon” of world democracy, is undoubtedly one of the biggest ironies of the development of Western democracy so far. U.S. President-elect Biden directly criticized “This is not a protest at all, but a rebellion”. Speaker of the House of Representatives and Democrat Pelosi called Trump a “democratic threat” in a letter on the 10th.
Although the chaos ultimately failed to have a substantial impact, outgoing Trump in the movement successfully molded himself into a certain “people’s leader” image, demonstrating to his successor Biden his ability to directly lead the mob to carry out a coup.
The farce led by Trump is a heavy blow to the already troubled democracy of the West. Although American politics has not fallen into a real crisis because of this farce, it reflects that the American political system is not as “perfect” and “impeccable” as it advocates, but may be quite fragile on the contrary.
The author believes that the current American politics has reached this point, which is not an accident under the heavy blow of the epidemic, but the inevitable result of the accumulation of various problems in the long-term development of capitalist society.
How does democracy go to death?
As early as 2016, after Trump unexpectedly defeated Hillary to be elected President of the United States, American politics and academia began to reflect on what kind of problems happened to the American political society, so that Trump, an unconventional political ordinary person, could be dramatically elected president.
Two professors of political science at Harvard University (Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt) published in 2018, How Democracy Die, compares and analyzes some democracy in Europe and South America.
How the regime was destroyed and eventually reached an impasse is intended to warn the American elite Trump, an unconventional politician, who is likely to bring American democracy to death. However, after all, “scholastic students are useless”. At present, American politics, led by Trump, seems to be developing in the direction of rehearsal by two scholars.
In How Democracy Goes to Death, it is believed that democratic politics goes to death in three main steps. First, in order to win votes, traditional political leaders lowered their lower limits and elected a populist, anti-establishmentist non-traditional politician as a candidate for the general election.
Second, after taking office, the unconventional politician found himself bound by existing political establishments and had no political foundation.
In order to break this bondage, he has stepped more firmly on the path of populism and anti-establishmentism to win the support of voters, and took advantage of what was given by law, often only in extraordinary circumstances.
The “administrative privilege” used to counter opponents only now breaks the original spirit of “mutual tolerance” and “self-control” among politicians in democratic politics.
Third, after this “mutual tolerance” and “self-control” were broken, the non-traditional politician completely tore his face with parliamentary opposition and traditional political forces.
Political antagonism is seriously polarized, and the struggle enters life and death, which eventually leads to the abuse of executive power, the break of the checks and balances and balances of supervision between the powers of democracy, and the death of democracy.
However, two scholars found that voters who held votes that determine the future and destiny of the country could not prevent the tragedy from happening.
Because, first, this populist and anti-establishment politicians themselves have been warmly welcomed and strongly supported by thousands of supporters.
Second, the death process of democracy is often accompanied by some huge social crises. In order to tide over these current social crises, voters will choose to tolerate the “discriminances” of these leaders.
Thirdly, the most important thing is that due to the imbalance in social development and the manipulation of vote politics, society has been deeply divided by rich and poor, ethnic, religious and other issues, and it is difficult for all ethnic groups in society to reach consensus to overthrow these “non-traditional politicians” with votes.
If Trump wins, will the world be at peace?
As political scholars, the two professors analyze the causes of the decline of democratic politics from the perspective of political system, and do not further discuss the deep social causes of this political confrontation.
In fact, the reason is not easy to understand. In the process of globalization, American capitalism has caused serious imbalance in the distribution of wealth and industrial layout.
Free market competition mechanism has spawned a number of high-efficiency and high-value-tech industries, while low-yield and low-value-added traditional industries have been transferred to Asia and other low-human-cost regions with the globalization of capital.
A large number of low-quality labor who used to rely on traditional industries for their livelihood soon become unemployed or At the bottom of society, it is impossible to get the due dividends from the historical process of industrial renewal in the United States.
Coupled with the fact that the United States is one of the few developed countries with inadequate social welfare systems, the end result is that social polarization is more serious.
On the one hand, the coastal areas are increasingly open due to high-tech industries, and on the other hand, there are inland areas that are declining due to the transfer of traditional industries. Historically, polarization in the United States has always existed.
Unlike previous polarization, it is no longer only blacks and people of color who are hurt, but also a large number of white people who have not received higher education. Many of these lost and unprotected traditional white-earned American earners turned into anti-establishmentists and became supporters of Trump populism.
On the other hand, under the trend of “liberal democracy” led by the United States in recent decades, Western democracy is gradually sliding into tribalism chaos.
Elections are no longer a way to bridge social contradictions, but a means for politicians to divide society for votes. In order to obtain their own votes, politicians take advantage of the existing cracks between various social strata, break the original social consensus, and put forward more extreme ideas on religious, racial, economic, diplomatic, and even homosexual issues.
Under the guidance of these issues, various ethnic groups in society have also undergone new differentiation and reorganization. New “tribal groups” have distrusted each other.
The most basic principle of democracy is that the minority obeys the majority and whoever gets more votes comes to power, so as to ensure a smooth transition of power and thus maintain the legitimacy of government governance.
One of the original purposes of democracy is also to enable groups of different social groups to seek common ground while putting aside differences.
Nowadays, democracy has become a stage for groups to “seek differences and oppose differences” and attack each other. The original principle of minority obedience to the majority has been not accepted.
On the one hand, the minority that lost in the general election does not accept the rule of political parties and leaders elected by the majority group, because they think that they think their interests are and consciousness.
The state cannot be represented; secondly, because of the public’s disgust and indifference to the existing political establishment, the turnout rate is low, and the winning politicians cannot fully represent the will of the majority.
In the view of some “liberal democrats”, since the government cannot represent these people, these voters will naturally not recognize the legitimacy of the government, and street violence has become a means for them to express their dissatisfaction and complain.
When the government whose legitimacy is not recognized sends police to suppress the “mobs” who take to the streets, the choice of these “mobs” is not to give in, but their expression is more likely to turn to more violent violence or even armed autonomy and separatism.
In the 2020 U.S. election, Trump lost the election. We clearly see that this non-traditional politician did not follow the spirit of previous American politicians to peacefully transition the regime, but created chaos and threatened the American regime, as predicted by two scholars.
As supporters of the Tate family, they also chose to reject the election results. The former White Power has shown the potential to further degenerate into a white mob.
But this may not simply blame Trump’s madness with his supporters, and the real disease behind it can not be cured by ousting Trump from office. We can also imagine in turn, if Biden lost, will the recent Black Lives Matter further evolve into another form of riot?