American Democracy Has Never Existed in Substance, Says US Analyst
- January, 13, 2021 - 08:41
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – American democracy has never existed in substance, a US political scientist said, stressing that it has always been plutocratic.
“American democracy has never existed in substance, i.e. has always been plutocratic (Rule by and for the Rich). What has eroded and is under severe challenge are the institutional forms (facade) of democracy, typically driven from the anti-capitalist Left,” Beau Grosscup, California State University Professor Emeritus of Political Science, told Tasnim in an interview.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: A push by Democrats in Congress to impeach US President Donald Trump for a second time is running into resistance in the US Senate, with senior lawmakers on both sides of the aisle voicing their opposition. Democrats were to introduce a motion to the House of Representatives on Monday calling on Mike Pence, the vice-president, to strip Trump of his office following last week’s violence by the president’s supporters in Washington. If Pence fails to do so, they plan to vote to impeach Trump later this week, making it likely he would be the first president to be impeached twice. A look across polls conducted since riots at the Capitol on Wednesday shows that a clear plurality of Americans overall want Trump out of office, even as President-elect Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated on January 20. Do Americans support impeaching Trump? What will happen?
Grosscup: The sentiment of impeachment reflects the overall polarization of Pro-Trump/Anti-Trump politics. More interesting is the debate among anti-Trump movement, that is a strategic debate about the political benefits of impeachment versus the desire to make a strong statement of Presidential accountability. Regardless, it is clear the Senate will not play its role if impeachment articles are sent to them. Today, Pelosi introduced articles of impeachment, so it seems clear to the Democratic National Committee (who run the Democratic Party) that holding Trump accountable via impeachment is a winning political strategy.
Tasnim: Americans’ confidence in their democracy has been eroded for years by a system that has, at various junctures, delivered victory to Republican presidents who lost the popular vote, permitted industrial-scale gerrymandering of electoral maps, and is built around a Congress rigged in favor of conservative states. But faith in the conduct of the presidential election itself has collapsed among large numbers of voters amid Trump’s onslaught after he lost November’s presidential election to his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, by a record 7m ballots. Inequality, racism and polarization ravaged US democracy. Then came Trump. What are your thoughts on this? What are the reasons behind the erosion of US democracy?
Grosscup: American democracy has never existed in substance, i.e. has always been plutocratic (Rule by and for the Rich). What has eroded and is under severe challenge are the institutional forms (facade) of democracy, typically driven from the anti-capitalist Left. Now the threat comes from the political Right, who after three decades of fascist populism (now joined by mainstream Republican Party operatives) against the institutions of the Federal government, was/is led by Donald Trump. He has been able to convince these fascist elements in the ruling class (joined in 2016 by misguided working-class poor) that he is their champion, despite his obvious narcissism and plutocratic values and interests. Led by Trump, this movement has made fascist activities safe for the Neo-Nazis, White Nationalists, misogynists, and religious fanatics that operated on the political fringe since the mid-1960s. It is now clear that, after the blatant coup attempt by Trump, the American ruling class has no more use for one of their own (Trump) who clearly threatens their effort to restore faith in their democratic institutional facade that allows them to mystify the real power dynamics of plutocratic rule.
Tasnim: Some media outlets in the US have called the day of the assault on the Capitol "America's day of shame". They did not just blame the mob but Trump as well who "lit the fire and his gutless colleagues fanned the flames". Will the US witness more political vandalism in the coming days?
Grosscup: Yes, 'political vandalism' (nice word for terrorism) has already spread (in fact preceded) to the states and local sites, where the 'security agencies' are less equipped to deal with terror from the political Right (trained to fight terrorism from the 'other' i.e. foreign non-Christian religions, anti-racist/anti-misogynist militancy, and Leftist political protest. As important, the security forces at State and local sites now contain active collaborators with fascist politics (even evidenced in the Capitol coup) that severely compromises their 'security function.' What could be coming, once Trump is out, is an active strategy of 'guerilla war' since the 'direct assault' on Washington seems to have failed.