The US Political System Is in Crisis

By Elio Delgado Legon

The US Embassy in Havana.  Photo: Ismael Francisco/
The US Embassy in Havana. Photo: Ismael Francisco/

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.

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.

11 thoughts on “The US Political System Is in Crisis

  • You seem confused, Rich.

    Nobody criticizes you for saying negative things about the Batista dictatorship. But we do point out a very important fact which seems to have escaped your notice: Batista is dead.

    Been dead a long time. Nobody supports him. And he’s dead.

    Can we move on, please?

  • Did you notice that I said that I agreed with Elio? The 191 – 0 UN vote is a NON-BINDING resolution. There are no sanctions attached and no need to veto anything. Hence “toothless”. And no, I don’t think that things are currently bad for Cuba. Virtually unlimited tourist travel, unrestricted remittances, and increasing investor interest reflect the current state of affairs. New limits to any or all of these would not bode well for Cuba.

  • Moses, your Joe McCarthy and Batistiano sycophancy shows through every time you criticize anyone who dares to say anything positive about Revolutionary Cuba or anything negative about the Batista-Mafia dictatorship or about a U. S. Cuban policy that now gets a resounding 191-to-0 denunciation in the UN, with this year America’s own UN Representative, Samantha Power, not having the heart to support it, accounting for the unanimity. I know, I know! You say the UN vote is “toothless” because the U. S. has a veto, except I can’t see the brilliant Ms. Power and other democracy-lovers like Obama having the heart to veto a 191-to-0 plurality, at least till Trump gets to the White House. Speaking of Trump, your last sentence is a doozy: “With Tump in the White House, things could get bad for Cuba.” Is that your way of saying that the embargo, Wet Foot/Dry Foot and other such obscenities are not “bad” but with Republican Trump in the White House and a Republican majority in both chambers of Congress that you expect Cuba to get nuked or something…uh, right after the 5,000 Americans at occupied Guantanamo Bay are evacuated, of course? Also, when you speak or write to the choir, Moses, do you try to convince them that zero is a larger number than 191, thus justifying the embargo, Wet Foot/Dry Foot, etc.?

  • In a way, the libs, and even many further left, have adopted this “sky is falling” mentality (so characteristic of Fox news, the Drudge Report ((and even worse, the Breitbart outfit)) of the right). This is an extension of the type of thinking characteristic of the conspiracy theorists, and reflects the mentality of those who believe they have no power and, more importantly, that those who do are invincible. In truth, those in power are often incompetent in the extreme. Look how they blundered into the Middle East (the real figurative swamp as much as Washington, D.C.). Look at how they did not really think out the ultimate consequences of off-shoring our industrial base, or of betting the farm on an ever-expanding real estate bubble (and before that, the bubble). Sure, the shrewdest always know how to “get in and get out” before the bubbles burst. In the end, however, their short-sighted policies will bring down the whole system. In the long run, I’m optimistic, even if I won’t see the dawning of a new day when we shall arrive at the New Jerusalem!

  • The Trump campaign and the result of this election has got the smell of Fascism written all over it. Just look at how grim he looks. Also, you only have to look at the people being brought in to run his administration to see where its headed. I’m not sure the Republican Congress or the Judiciary have the back bone or the strength to resist. I remember my Dad telling me about 1930’s Germany. How people were saying how Hitler is putting people back to work and finally the trains are running on time. Also, you can substitute Muslims for Jews. Pit one group against another. An old ploy. As in Germany, Italy and Japan during the 1930’s and now in the US a build up of the military is a major priority goal. An attack on the media is also brewing. Their reporting will be considered by the Administration as being unpatriotic Also if things seem to be ‘getting out of hand’, bring in the police and the military to “restore law and order”.I don’t think I would consider what’s coming as a farce. This is serious business I wonder if we’ll even make it to the mid terms in 2018.

  • Why berate folks for not voting, considering that, in the end, the only real alternative they had was between the “friendly fascism” of Hillary, and the not-so-friendly flavor, of “The Donald?” I threw away my vote on Jill Stein, but would gladly have voted for Bernie if he had been running against Trump.
    While the rest of my extended family are pulling long faces at the prospects of a Trump presidency, I thinks he will create the objective conditions for a more revolutionary opening. Many folks are wailing that they’re going to emigrate to Canada or elsewhere. I wouldn’t think of giving up my front row seat on the farce which is about to begin. With Trump’s understanding of the U.S. Constitution, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of his first acts, like that of one of his ideological predecessors, would be to have his lackeys in Congress pass “Enabling Laws” to give him unlimited power. Even if done, however, he won’t be able to pull it of. Unlike Germany of 1933, our nation is too diverse.

  • Up until his last sentence. I was mostly in agreement with Elio. That’s a frickin’ miracle in and of itself. It is truly a sad day when an avowed Castro sycophant can rightly criticize a US election. And this even though Cuba doesn’t have real elections although they pretend to. Sadly, I think the people’s will was reflected in the outcome. Obviously Elio doesn’t understand the purpose of the Electoral College so his comments on this issue are meaningless. However, Hillary did win the popular vote but that is a rare occasion to win the popular vote and lose the election. Elio should focus his attention on Cuba’s future. With Trump in the White House, things could get bad for Cuba.

  • Chris Hedges
    “The rot of our failed democracy vomited up a con artist who was a creation of the mass media—first playing a fictional master of the universe on a reality television show and later a politician as vaudevillian. Trump pulled in advertising dollars and ratings. Truth and reality were irrelevant. Only when he got the nomination did the mass media see their Frankenstein as a threat, but by then it was too late. If there is one vapid group that is hated even more than the liberal class, it is the corporate press. The more it attacked Trump, the better Trump looked.”
    I am not sure I agree with Hedges as to what will happen next. There may be a successful push back from many in the US. We’ll see.

  • I find it ironic that tens of thousands of mainly younger folks are protesting Trump ‘s win yet i with the poor voter turnout, for sure many of these people did not vote. I despise Trump , but i also have little sympathy for the complacency of the Americans, notably the youths and the blacks out on these protest marches. So many in the world walk for miles , stand in line for hours , for the privilege of voting in a democratic way, and millions would do the same if they did not live under dictatorships. Hillary has flaws and we all know them , but she is smart and experienced . I really don’t think Bernie could have won in the end, in Canada yes, but not the US. Can I just add that no one is a bigger liar than Trump. Not even in office yet, he already is backing off on all his promises to those uneducated and politically ignorant followers.

  • You did call it correctly Elio, Sanders and Trump sounded an alarm that most definitely shaped the election. Regarding voting on a Tuesday, in several states, Oregon where I’m a resident included, we can vote via mail so eventually that will be the case nationwide. Perhaps you can morph your political expertise with figuring out how to give the people of Cuba a choice as to whom they wish to elect to represent them. Overall a decent article.

  • A well written article, Elio. I agree that the American Political System [ie: The Capitalist System in general] is in crisis. Its at a dead end. The future is very uncertain. Its obvious that the two main Political Parties don’t act in the interests of the working class. The extraction of maximum profit by the ruling class, either through foreign wars or economic activity regardless of the living condition of the middle and lower classes is the rule along with little or no regard for the physical environment. Their general condition will continue to deteriorate. So called wars on poverty, crime and drugs have been failures. Generally, there is not much to choose between the two main Political Parties. As one commentator recently observed “As long as Democrats act like Republicans, you might as well vote for a Republican”. As the economic and social crisis deepens, authoritarian and other undemocratic forms of rule will most likely to come to the fore. .

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