Photo retrieved from: https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/9/5/16227700/hyperpartisanship-identity-american-democracy-problems-solutions-doom-loop
Democracy was born in ancient Greece and its meaning stems from two Greek words, demos which translates to “the people” and kratia which translates to “power”. The Greek root words indicate that democracy is a form of government designed to give power to the citizens. However, in the United States there is a fine line dictating which group of citizens (party) harnesses the power that shapes our nation. As the United States’ population continues to grow and diversify a major question that remains, is the current representative democracy best suited to serve all U.S. citizens?
A voter call back survey conducted on November 10th-14th of 2016 revealed that the majority of U.S. voters were dissatisfied with the conduct of presidential candidates, the democratic and republican parties as a whole, and the press during their campaigns. The winning candidate in that of Donald Trump received a historically low conduct rating in which only 30% of those surveyed thought his actions was justified and or acceptable. The code of conduct carried throughout the 2016 Presidential election process was an embarrassment to the United States which left the rest of the world laughing. If the 2020 presidential election is anything like the 2016 election it will be quite worrisome considering the world’s issues are becoming more and more complex each day while our democratic structure seems to be deteriorating in credibility and ethical codes of conduct.
The people’s perception of politics in the United States has become quite distorted overtime as technology and access to media evolve more and more. In light of heightened social unrest in the United States the 2016 presidential election was merely a bloodbath of insults and speculation between the Democratic and Republican parties. Erratic behavior by both parties insinuated a storm of what could be considered “bad press” by certain news stations and media outlets alike. A survey conducted from January 12th to February 8th, 2016 revealed that the majority of U.S. news consumers rely on television and online sources for their information. A large portion of new sources possess some sort of biases that have the potential to sway an individual’s perception on specific issues. In today’s day in age where efficiency and information that is readily available rules the world American citizens need to be proactive and conscious in their pursuit to remain informed. The combination of unruly behavior from the United States’ two major political parties and the untrustworthy media has made what could be considered the “staple child of democracy” a laughing stock of the world in recent years.
I believe the United States can overcome their 2016 election debacle in 2020, though it is going to require a collective effort across the country. The push for redemption will start with the Presidential candidates and their ability to act properly as the country and nations around the world are watching. Through the process of restoring what it means to be “presidential” U.S. citizens will likely regain their confidence for the future election. Aside from the candidates the U.S. media needs to focus on the core issues and what really matters, keeping in mind the U.S. citizens. Obviously the main goal for the media is to acquire as many views as possible so media outlets will likely reveal content that attracts the most viewers. This is where the U.S. citizens come into play, and it is them who frame how the race is perceived throughout the country and rest of the world. All U.S. citizens must remain aware of biases in the media and focus on important issues, opposed to the previous election and glorifying hollywood like behavior by candidates. Overall, the push to revive the United States’ Representative Democracy is going to require consistent positive behavior from all stakeholders. However if the current situation takes a turn for the worse the legitimacy of our democracy as we know it may be in jeopardy.