The year of doubt for American democracy

Editorial of the “World”. The assault on the United States Congress on January 6, 2021, cast a dark veil over democracy in this great country. That an outgoing president beaten regularly at the polls do everything to prevent the peaceful transfer of power had definitely infamous Donald Trump’s mandate. What has happened since, while less spectacular, is nevertheless equally alarming. To the point of raising questions about the solidity of United States institutions.

Because the shock that this attack against the general will expressed by the vote should have triggered did not happen. It is true that a large majority of the Republican elected representatives of the House of Representatives had voted against the officialization of the victory of Joe Biden without the slightest legal justification, at night, while the corridors of the Capitol in Washington were still resounding with uproar. .

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A low noise form of civil war has taken root in the United States. Adherence to the thesis of an alleged election “Stolen” has become the new right-thinking of American conservatives. This is now a proof of loyalty, not to a country, or even to a party, but to the man with whom the Grand Old Party persists in identifying.

Rare alternative voices

A year after January 6, 2021, nearly two in three Republicans continue to question the legitimacy of the Democratic president, according to a poll by Washington Post. This doxa is relayed and maintained by the conservative media ecosystem, which is emptying of its rare alternative voices, as the departure of Fox News of the respected Chris Wallace has shown, at the same rate as the Republican Party is purging itself of its dissidents. .

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Under pressure from the former president, elected officials from his party first opposed his symbolic dismissal. Then they prevented an independent commission of inquiry from being set up, and finally multiplied in the decisive states the attacks against the vote and its certification by non-partisan bodies. This undermining work was methodical. To the point that one can wonder what would happen today in the event of a particularly tight presidential election.

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Much to the misfortune of American democracy, no improvement can be seen for institutions that cannot be reformed in the absence of a minimum consensus. The electoral hogwashing which minimizes the number of contested constituencies means that the House elections are settled during primaries which favor the most extreme votes. The mode of election of the Senate, as of the presidency, grants an unequal premium to the rural States where the Republicans are dominant.

The judiciary has also been overtaken by this deleterious polarization. When the Democrats suppressed the qualified majority in the Senate for the confirmation of federal judges, in response to the systematic obstruction of the Republicans, the latter replied, once again in the majority, by removing the same qualified majority for appointments to the Supreme Court . This decision allowed Donald Trump to appoint three very conservative judges, accentuating the gap between the highest judicial body in the country and the society on which his judgments weigh.

The sum of these sags is considerable. Repairing this damaged democracy involves a national awareness and a sense of the general interest, but both are currently lacking. Unfortunately for a country that has long considered itself a model.

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The year of doubt for American democracy