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Deficiencies in the electoral system

Published: 
Sunday, December 17, 2017

Questioning of the political and economic systems of the major civilisations of the world is being done for relevance, fairness, the ability to deliver on human developmental needs, the lack of capacity to deliver on the elusive world peace and the inability to support and enhance democratic structures; corruption being a major by-product of the institutional dysfunction.

This desire for political and economic renewal, even transformation, is everywhere, crossing ideological bases on the right, left, peculiar versions of nationalism and dictatorships.

The 240-year-old political arrangements of the American civilisation forged by the conservative Republican and the liberal Democrats are fraying. The electoral system is proving to have serious structural deficiencies inclusive of not being able to reflect the majority will, having been captured by big capital. Increasing social and economic inequity has emerged as a major casualty of the system.

“Trumpism” with its ideology centred on self-aggrandisement, self-interest, the interests of the billionaire club and palpable dishonesty is causing serious conflict within the Republican Party, the Government and consternation around the world.

Donald Trump did not fall from the sky, he received a populist vote because sections of white cultural America felt they were losing ground to the liberalism of the Democratic party, more so Barack Obama (of mixed race) had spent eight years in the White House; those who voted Trump were eager to recapture their America.

Virulent street protests by the liberal left and a collection of women’s organisations were countered by the far right, inclusive of a reinvigorated Nazis and Klu Klux Klan movement buoyed by support from the White House; the conflict for power rages.

The Democrats with a historically liberal base are struggling to reassert an ideological and programmatic reordering to survive Trump.

However, the President has lost little time in having Congress institute huge tax breaks for the wealthy and their corporations and he has begun to release heritage physical resources for exploitation by the wealthy ten per cent; the environmental damage will result in even greater economic and social inequity and have international political repercussions. Much more hangs on the Mueller investigations.

The United Kingdom, which initiated the Industrial Revolution and spread its political, economic and cultural footprint across the world through colonisation has found out through the Brexit vote, that large elements of the native economic, cultural and political underclass feel disenfranchised by globalisation and seriously threatened at home by the effects of a multi-lateral political system expressed through the European Union.

Similar fears are arising in Europe as Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union have admitted to being surprised by the significant movement away from her party by groups of lower income voters who felt disenfranchised in the midst of great prosperity.

Merkel and the CDU are finding it very difficult to stitch together a coalition with the Greens on the left and the pro-business Democrats on the right. Another election seems imminent and with it could hang the fate of the European Union; a pro-EU government in Berlin is vital for the survival of the EU.

Sixty-five per cent of the voters in France at the May 2017 presidential election turned back the attempt by the far right Marine Le Pen and her National Front to follow Trump and the populous Brexit vote. In the revolutionary spirit of the French Republic, the electorate voted in Emmanuel Macron who sold himself and party, La Republique En Marche, as being “on the left, but not socialist”. This shift to the centre-right came after the failure of the socialist Francois Hollande.

However, seven months after, disenchantment is already setting in. Macron is emerging as an authoritarian figure on the side of business, he has changed labour and tax laws to favour the rich, cut spending on social programmes and is severely critical of the media; the anti-Macron demonstrations have started in the quest for political/economic salvation.

To be continued