A syndrome of chaos in politics can be referred to as a decline in the capacity of self-organization in a political system. Once it’s ignited, it weakens institutions and brokers — career politicians, political parties, as well as congressional committees and leaders. Historically, these have prevented system participants from pursuing naked self-interest while holding politicians accountable to one another. As intermediaries’ influence fades, activists, voters, and politicians become more unaccountable and individualistic, causing the system to atomize. Subsequently, in government and campaigns, chaos becomes the new normal.
The United States has just concluded one of the most divisive campaigns and elections in American history. After a single wretched presidential term, voters were angrier than ever — at compromisers, politicians, and the establishment. With lawmaking having come to a standstill before the elections, the White House and the Congress seemed incapable of working together. While their interests may have aligned, the president’s use of regulatory discretion and executive orders had reached a level that Congress saw as dictatorial. Congress could have done nothing about it but only file lawsuits that the divided Supreme Court could not resolve. As election results trickled in, Biden took the lead in key battleground states, with his win being seen as a way to deliver the White House.
Dysfunction in America’s political system
Amid the unprecedented gridlock and partisanship in Washington, D.C., Congress appears locked in an endless battle, rendering it incapable of delivering results. To the world, the American political system seems so dysfunctional and irrational.
True, Democrats and Republicans recently passed major legislation in a bid to stabilize an economy that has been ravaged by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But this isn’t a sign of encouragement about the political system. It reflects a familiar pattern: The emergence of a bipartisanship semblance in a national crisis. The two parties agreed on emergency response, publicly touting their success as they seemingly agreed to pass the cost down to future generations. When the current crisis subsides, business for Congress will be as usual; political brinksmanship that doesn’t prevent future crises or solve many other challenges. Fortunately, No Labels, an organization deemed with combating partisan political dysfunctions, could trigger a sense of hope to usher in a new era of amicably solving American political problems.
Broken American democracy
The United States experienced a kind of political jolt in November, just as there are precedents worldwide that include political firebrands who promise to sweep away a rigged system to serve the powerful and not the interests of ordinary people. In most cases, this ends badly, when a popular champion reads electoral victory as an invitation to bend democracy institutions to force his will.
Americans never expected to worry about this sort of thing. Did a combination of cultural revolutions, demographic change, globalization, or something else just upend America’s consensus in support of equitable democracy? Well, time will tell if American democracy has succumbed to the strongman’s promise. Many Americans are skeptical that the US can careen down the path taken by other countries.
A look at the dysfunctional US after elections
With Donald Trump refusing to concede defeat, his threat to challenge the election results in court triggered more rivalry. Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden continues to project the purpose and authority of an incoming chief executive. He has already vetted candidates for his administration’s top positions and rolled out a coronavirus task force. But for the incumbent, Donald Trump, the election isn’t over yet.
With Trump’s administration having started the transition process, there’s hope that his departure may materialize. If this doesn’t happen soon, it will constitutionally be done through impeachment, a failed re-election bid, or resignation. Either way, there will still be daunting predicaments among Americans. Trump enablers and admirers will remain reckoned with – and to wreck, when Supreme Court rulings and other opportunities emerge. Radicals and liberals will also have to continue engaging with reactionaries and conservatives. Any celebration regarding the cleansing of the White House will have to avoid euphoria to be more than momentary. Meanwhile, celebrants need to prepare themselves for sustained and serious participation in rounds of deeply historical debates.
There’s no more significant threat to the social progress and economic competitiveness of America, no greater threat to the combination of liberal democracies and free-market economies that have delivered most human advancements than a passive acceptance of a failed American political system. Business leaders would not tolerate such a performance in any organization. They would instead diagnose the problem, create a solution, and execute it. Alongside other citizens, business leaders, and Americans at large can and have to do the same for American politics.
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