On January 6, 250 years of American political history seemed to collapse when men who played patriots, armed with zip ties and semi-automatic weapons, besieged the Capitol. Watching the terrible absurdity of traitors filming themselves dangling from the building’s facade was a reminder of what the writers knew from the start: fractionalism is endemic to democracy – and in its downfall.
“The friend of the people’s governments is never as troubled by their character and fate as when he ponders their inclination to this dangerous vice,” wrote James Madison The federal papers (No. 10). To reassure the reader that a minority faction can be controlled by “the Republican principle which enables the majority to thwart their sinister views through regular voting,” Madison concluded that “it will clog the administration and shake society but it will not be able to carry out and mask its violence according to the forms of the constitution. ”And so it did in 2021, albeit barely.
To really save the republic, we have to develop into a parliamentary system. Joe Biden should be our last president.
The United States is the longest-running presidential democracy in the world, an anomaly in a sea of mostly failed experiments. And it is the only purely presidential system, according to political scientist Arend Lijphart in his list of the 21 ongoing democracies since World War II. The vast majority of advanced democracies have shifted to parliamentary systems that empirically have proven to be less controversial and more productive.
Alfred Stepan and Cindy Skach are exhaustive study In the emerging democracies carried out from 1979 to 1989, parliamentary systems were found to be three times more likely to succeed at a rate of 40 percent than presidential systems, which were more than twice as prone to military coups. Their study, published in 1993, analyzed 93 countries that had gained independence since 1945 and found that 61 percent of those who opted for a parliamentary system could still be considered democracies just a few decades later. Not a single presidential system in the same period has survived as a continuous democracy.
And for the duration of their short lives, it’s usually a shit show. Presidents have a legislative majority less than half of the time, compared to 83 percent in parliamentary states that produce multiple parties and often coalition governments that actually support the work of the prime minister. Government coalitions require compromise, and since a parliament elects the prime minister – as opposed to the people – the legislature and the executive have a common agenda. It is a system of interdependence: parliament can ask for a vote of no confidence and effectively dismiss the prime minister, and the prime minister can dissolve parliament.
By definition, presidential systems do not work. Elections in which all winners are considered usually produce only two parties fighting for an elusive majority in a government that is seldom uniform. The fantasy lasts until the mid-term elections, in which the voters often tip the scales again. In the far more common scenario of divided government, opposing parties have no incentive to support the executive branch, as electoral success is directly related to their popularity. As in the case of the previously Republican-controlled US Senate, the impeachment was rendered unusable by the sycophants who hung their car on Donald Trump. Eventually all hell broke loose and former court clerks like Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, who certainly knew better, chose to take advantage of the ignorance of those who were not for political ends.
Over the past 20 years, increasing factionalism has resulted in ever lower profit margins as the Democratic and Republican parties have each consolidated to further extremes. And that trend will only continue as 74 million people have voted for Trump and One astronomic A section of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen – hence the 147 members of Congress who voted against confirming Biden’s clear victory. Even the once-against-Trump and not stupid Nicole Malliotakis, the newly elected US representative of Staten Island, competes with the world’s Lauren Boeberts for space by expelling herself nonsense She may not believe it because that’s the only thing that will get her reelected. Her former campaign manager and former leader of the Staten Island Republican Party, Leticia Remauro, is now a candidate for the district president – a person who used to advocate same-sex marriage and abortion rights filmed She shouted “Heil Hitler” when she protested against the closure of a bar because of Covid-19. That’s a damn good development.
But instead of expecting people who have red pills to put the country above the party, we need more parties. In this way, at least the Nazi curious people who live on the Internet can limit themselves to their own club. It also creates space on the left to develop a Democratic independent party that should and can coexist with centrist Republicans.
Warning: ideological purity is not the goal here. Governing the coalition invariably dilutes every agenda. After her first term as Chancellor, which was itself a compromise with the opposing Social Democratic Party, Angela Merkel explained her ideology as the head of the Christian Democratic Union and as a coalition of several parties as follows: “Sometimes I’m liberal, sometimes conservative, sometimes I’m Christian -social – and that’s what defines the CDU. “Even the Greens, who have finally reached a critical mass in the Bundestag, are in the hope to negotiate with the center-right Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union, because only through such partnerships can they exercise enough power to actually move politics.
What kind of policies in the United States might emerge from such an unholy alliance? Tuition-free college, state-subsidized childcare, generous paid leave, socialized medicine – the hallmarks of the European social security network that every Bernie-loving brother and sister envy.
Obviously, no system is perfect. The UK has its own fool right now. And the likelihood of the United States transitioning to a parliamentary system is doubtful. But also the future bloom of American democracy in its current form. Trumpism was and is a feature, not a bug. The parliamentary system of accepting political groups and making room for them in a multi-party system seems more workable than surviving the next inevitable attack.