By Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — In the US, traditional politics and politicians are suffering a deep credibility crisis. The country to our North has put its democratic system on show to the world and has presented it as the best political system which other countries should follow. However, less and less people in the world believe that this is the right model to follow. What’s worse, less and less US citizens consider it a valid option and trust their politicians and their own system less and less.
One of the most important examples of this is the high level of abstention every time there’s an election, partly because elections take place on a Tuesday, a work day and many voters choose not to leave work and so don’t vote. Why do they insist on holding elections on a working day? Because the reality is that the system isn’t interested in people going to vote en masse.
Another example of this lack of trust in the system is the support that candidates who have presented themselves as distanced from the establishment and traditional politics have garnered in the recent election campaign, like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. The first, a multi-millionaire who has had no relation whatsoever with politics and the second, a politician who has declared himself a Socialist Democrat and openly criticized the ruling system.
In 2015, in a post I published on Havana Times called “The Case of Trump and Sanders”, I wrote the following:
“Without a doubt, the US electorate is looking for something new, something that will bring change to their lives. This is demonstrated by the support offered during the primaries to Donald Trump, a man who is neither a politician nor behaves like one, who has had plenty of slip-ups during his public appearances and who has offered no coherent political program (but has rather criticized the country’s existing policies and both insulted and offended ethnic minorities, immigrants and even women in general).
“Another curious case which confirms this impression is that of Bernard (“Bernie”) Sanders, a man who has always described himself as a democratic socialist and still managed to be elected senator in 2007, as an independent candidate in the State of Vermont. In his campaign for the Democrat nomination, he has been gaining ground in polls. While Hillary Clinton has lost ground, although she is still ahead by a wide margin.”
And I wasn’t too far off. In the case of Sanders, he fell out of the race nearly at the very end, because he realized that he wouldn’t be able to beat the former Secretary of State. However he did win a significant amount of support from the electorate. In Trump’s case, he continued to commit a vast number of atrocities in the wake of my post, to such a point that the main leaders of the Republican Party had even withdrawn their support and distanced from him. However, he managed to keep on Hillary Clinton’s heels in the polls right up until the very end, they were in a dead heat at times and it was necessary for the Democratic Party to move all of their armpower, even President Barack Obama himself, in the final leg to try and beat this dangerous figure.
I say dangerous because nobody knows what he will do in January as the sworn-in president, however, what has been proven is that the US political system is in crisis and lots of things need to be changed if it wants to get its credibility back.
What kind of democracy are we talking about in the US if Hillary Clinton got more popular votes than Donald Trump and she didn’t win the election? The people’s will isn’t worth a thing in the US’ alleged democracy.