“The Real Threat to American Democracy”

January 7, 2022

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/real-threat-to-american-democracy-by-michael-lind-2022-01

I came across this opinion piece a couple of days ago as I browsed Marketwatch, which reprinted it with the permission of Project Syndicate. In the opinion of professor Michael Lind (clearly no fan of Trump) at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, the real threat isn’t Trump, even if he were to re-take the presidency in 2024. The real threat is what led to the rise of Trump: “… the disconnect between what the bipartisan US political establishment promises and what it delivers.”

Embraced by both parties for decades, globalization has failed to deliver any benefits for the American people. Instead, it has transformed America, once the richest and greatest industrial power the world had ever seen, into a skid row bum, broke and utterly dependent on the rest of the world – most notably China, a communist regime that would like nothing better than to destroy the U.S. and assume its role as the most powerful nation in the world – for its most basic needs.

Both parties are equally culpable for getting us into this mess, not because they believed in it, but because it’s what their corporate benefactors paid them to do. They went along because they didn’t understand how disparities in population density drive massive global trade imbalances, making it certain that badly overpopulated nations, desperate to employ their bloated labor forces, would ravage America’s economy. Globalization was never about benefitting Americans. It was all about using America’s wealth to boost corporate profits by turning such nations into western-style consumers at America’s expense.

Lind closes with this:

Many of the architects of these colossal disasters have gone on to establish lucrative careers as respected experts. Few have suffered financial or reputational losses. When a national establishment fails so often and at such cost, and when mainstream media sources remain complicit in those failures, no one should be surprised if citizens look to alternative media sources, including crazy ones, or turn to outsider politicians, including narcissistic demagogues like Trump.

… the real long-term threat to American democracy is the lack of popular trust in conventional politicians whose policies have repeatedly failed. And for that lack of public trust, American elites have nobody to blame but themselves.