USA, Israel Share Problem: Effective Democracy at Mercy of Special Interests

Is America heading towards a one party state? The rise and eventual probable fall of Donald Trump doesn’t bode well for American democracy. The fact the Republican Party, on the national level, can’t field candidates with massive cross party appeal and has to depend on a tactless bombastic bore as its front runner, could spell doom for the US two party system.

The US and Israel have democratic political systems that are poles apart. Yet, both could be victims of eroding democracy. In Israel, under a proportional representation system, it’s actually a matter of too much democracy where any small party can hold the government to ransom on the basis of special interests, even though collectively that government may not represent the views of the popular majority

In the US the presidential election is based solely on the states with the most electoral votes going to one candidate. As the US evolves into nation of growing minority groups, the Republicans have not been keeping up with the changing demographics, choosing instead to dwell of marginal issues such as abortion and gay marriage, rather than on the national well being and security.

The result has been a polarization of American society over social issues, which has left the GOP with a shrinking base of support. That shrinkage is best exemplified by Trump’s verbal barrages alienating millions of minority group voters. If events keep moving in a business-as-usual manner for the Republicans and they can’t address the crucial issues that face the nation, their support base will shrink so badly to relegate them to being unelectable on a national level.

This may be illustrated if Trump runs as an independent candidate should he fail to secure the nomination next summer. It’s curious that a man, who in the past, had been a strong backer of Hillary Clinton, the probable Democrat candidate, now wants to run against her.

It now seems obvious the oligarch and reality TV star feels he and no other candidate has what it takes to be President. He also illustrates a lack of loyalty to any person or party. Aside from turning against Clinton, even though he signed a loyalty oath the GOP, he now says if the party doesn’t treat him fairly he may run as an independent candidate. This would be a spiteful act of a spoilt child. If I can’t win, neither will they.

A third party run would split the GOP and insure a Clinton win, ironically this is the same way her husband won, by a split Republican vote, giving him the lion’s share of electoral votes without a clear majority.

As for Trump, there is the view he’s actually having fun trying to see how far he can go, how many people he can alienate and still be more popular than ever. There’s speculation he’s actually a Democrat plant designed to wreck the GOP. It’s a cinch, no matter who wins next year, Trump will be there with his hand out for the spoils.

On the bigger picture, a strong democracy is dependent on a vibrant opposition.  While the Democrats dogma remains fixed on popular welfare, the Republicans have been diverted from their long-time philosophy centred on business and industry to emotive, yet non crucial social issues. By maintaining and emphasis on debateable moral topics, they are boxing themselves into a corner that could eventually make them unelectable.

Yet, even more than this, as with Israel, it illustrates a stark and growing divide in the electorate between conservative red states and more liberal blue states…It is almost as if the US population was once again divided into two nations with major differences on how they want to live.

About the Author
A London based American journalist with a long wide ranging career spanning print, radio TV and online news.