US democracy takes a hit if Trump throws out old legacy

By Wen Dao Source:Global Times Published: 2017/1/6 0:23:40

There are only a few days left before the end of his second term, but US President Barack Obama doesn't seem in the mood for a peaceful farewell. His successor Donald Trump is itching to overhaul his legacy. Not just vowing to chop off the in-process Trans-Pacific Partnership, the next tenant in the White House has his eye on the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Congressional Republicans on Wednesday set about dismantling the centerpiece of Obama's legacy, which has immediately caused a backlash from Obama and his cabinet.

Whether Obamacare should be repealed or Trump has a better "Trumpcare" is a technical problem. What shocks the world most is the fast downward trajectory US democracy has taken since the election. The election of a populist who has propagated hatred, racism and hostility against almost all well-established social norms, diplomatic protocols and political principles marks the jaw-dropping rise of populism in US society. The repercussions have revealed that the US election system is no longer generating a well-functioning and hopeful government, but political attacks, partisan denunciations, and a powerful current to overhaul whatever has been built by the opposition.

For centuries, the election system and democracy have been regarded as the crowning glory of the US. However, the ostensibly solid system is hanging by a thread amid the anxiety of the middle class, the lack of social mobility and the waves of populism.

The US political system used to work well, but it is no longer compatible to the new situation after the dramatic change. The two-party system, which was designed for checks and balances, has been reduced to leverage for partisan struggle.

The lack of social mobility has greatly broadened the gap between the rich and the poor, and ripped the United States into a "Divided" States. The shrinking of bipartisan consensus is sending the US government into stagnation, where no major decisions can be made.

The US is at a critical moment. The political stagnation will not only put the US in a backwater, but also disturb international order. Trump's recent flare-up of antagonism in the West Pacific against China has shown his hooliganism and recklessness in dealing with the most serious international affairs.

The US has placed too much confidence and hope in its political system, and turned a blind eye to its loopholes and weaknesses. It gives space for the unscrupulous rise of populism, and it will pay a heavy price.

Trump's administration will start very soon, and let's hope in the following years, the iconic democracy won't be consumed by the devilish populism it has unleashed. Trump's rule by Twitter had better not turn into a farce as the world has no time to deal with such an America.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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