US voting system’s merit starts to fade

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/8 0:53:39 Last Updated: 2016/10/8 1:03:39

One month from the US general elections, the pre-election drama has come to its climax with candidates sparing no effort to badmouth each other. Hillary Clinton and the media that favored her have in the past week been hyping scandals about Donald Trump, and she herself has long been caught up in her e-mail scandal, which has severely compromised her credibility.

Public images of the two candidates have taken hold: Clinton used private e-mails to discuss national secrets and destroyed the evidence. She raked in money in the name of Democratic Party fundraising, and used the money for her own campaign and defaming other candidates in her party. She manipulated the media to speak well of her, and hid her health problems, not telling truth even after fainting in front of the public.

Trump, on the other hand, is an insolent populist. He attacks Muslims and is suspected of sexism. He either had suffered great losses in business or evaded huge amounts of tax, but describes himself as an acutely intelligent and successful businessman. Trump refuses to release his tax returns even though all other US presidential candidates since 1976 have done so, and claims he would do it on the condition of Clinton releasing the 30,000 e-mails which she has already deleted.

It's possible that they are in fact not that bad in real life and have passable ethic standards. It may be the US election system that made them fierce. They describe each other as villains, because they want to manipulate public opinion in order to win the presidential race.

Discrediting is an old game in US election campaigns and the battle between Clinton and Trump is not the fiercest. More than a century ago Mark Twain wrote about the shady deals in election campaigns in Running for Governor. The US and the Western political system in general has shortcomings, but their advantages stand out in a backdrop of many other countries still under dictatorship.

Through the 20th century, dictatorships had mostly disappeared or been reformed. The concept of democracy had been widely spread around the world and adopted in many countries' political systems in different forms. Ferocious battles for votes have become the theme of Western politics, rather than promoting policies. Western countries have a legal system in place to secure social stability in the face of such chaos, but many developing countries which hastily learn from them only incur social instability.

The election will continue to be the top entertainment in the US. The race to the bottom will continue to mislead people, as well as make them rethink the value of democracy. The question of how democracy should be practiced is far from being answered.

Posted in: Editorial

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