What happens when citizens suddenly feel they have lost their rights and their voices are not being heard? The minute the government does not take any accountability for plummeting democratic systems, it can lead to forms of backsliding. Democratic erosion is on the upsurge in the United States as a consequence of political polarization, questionable media coverage, and New Jim Crow laws aimed to cause discord between political parties. Despite the fact that countless other dynamics presently contribute to the decline of democracy in the United States, these three elements seem to be the leading concerns.
Political polarization has become rather blatant in society during and after the 2016 and 2020 United States presidential elections. The Trump administration brought a widening rift between the democratic and republican parties and a great deal of chaos around the country. Party members seem to disregard any other ideology that is not identical to their own, which has caused dialogue between the two parties to plummet as neither is willing to listen. A clear demonstration of democratic erosion in the United States would provoke the insurrection of the U.S. capital on January 6, 2021. Based on reports from The Wall Street Journal, the President of the United States said the following before the siege of the U.S. Capitol, “we are going to—we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give—the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote, but we are going to try—give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re trying—going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So, let’s walk down to Pennsylvania Avenue”. On this day, President Donald J. Trump instructed his supporters to march over the Capital building and caused mayhem until they are reassured that he will serve a second term in office. In the age of modern technology, it can be challenging for the average social media user to receive both sides of the story, particularly in view that your feed is based on what the person likes and whom they may follow. It is tough to escape “social media bubbles” when it is natural to be swayed by people who think just like you. These media groups, in particular, seem to feed schemes like the QAnon conspiracy, which potentially caused the insurrection. Donald J. Trump was adored for his straightforward way of speaking while running for President, which drove many people to mirror how he talked about women, people of color, United States soldiers, foreign countries, and the list goes on. The Trump presidency caused division between American citizens. It has also welcomed blatant racism to reoccur in society. Although he is out of office, the Trump era is very much alive in laws being put in place. Old Jim Crow Laws and New Jim Crow laws are initially the same; the New Jim Crow laws are slightly more camouflaged in today’s society. The motive behind these laws is to keep minorities, specifically black individuals, in inferior positions. For example, in the book The New Jim Crow, written by Michelle Alexander, she writes, “an extraordinary percentage of black men in the United States are legally barred from voting today, just as they have been throughout most of American history. They are also subject to legalized discrimination in employment, housing, education, public benefits, and jury service, just as their parents, grandparents, and great–grandparents once were”. These limits that have been placed on people of color in the United States for decades seem to have come to a complete outpouring in the summer of 2020. There was outrage after multiple black men and women were killed by rogue police officers in the early months of the year. Protesters came out and marched across the country to demand justice for the ones killed due to police brutality. You would think a government that chooses to be a leader on the world stage would quickly act to change the shocking laws, but here we are. To put it briefly, many people in the united states feel unheard. If things don’t change sometime soon, democracy will continue to fall.
“What Trump Said to Supporters on Jan. 6 Before Their Capitol Riot.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 13 Jan. 2021, www.wsj.com/articles/what-trump-said-to-supporters-on-jan-6-before-their-capitol-riot-11610498173.
Alexander, Michelle. “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness: Paperback.” Barnes & Noble, New Press, The, 7 Jan. 2020, www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-jim-crow-michelle-alexander/1101303322.
CVA, Kinkpe. “Https://Www.medwinpublishers.com/JOBD/JOBD16000139.Pdf.” Journal of Orthopedics & Bone Disorders, vol. 1, no. 7, 2017, doi:10.23880/jobd-16000139.
This was an incredible post Grace! I found it incredibly interesting that you highlighted the United States to illustrate symptoms of democratic erosion. You are absolutely right in that the political polarization within America has driven a divide between the country that is unbelievable and inconceivable for a nation that is supposed to be the model of democracy to rest of the world. The concept of the “New Jim Crow” is certainly something I find applicable to my own experiences in America so far as well. I have an overwhelming number of family members including myself as an African-American man, that have had unjust or ridiculous instances of being detained or pulled over by police law enforcement. There isn’t single country in all of the world that incarcerates more of it’s own population than America, and within that portion an overwhelming amount include people of color and black men that are stripped of their right to vote. As our nation does more to reflect on our current social issues at hand I hope that we continue to put pressure on our parliament for social justice reform.
Hey Grace! Your blog post was very good, informing me of what polarization between political parties and their beliefs have caused within the American government and society. Different things such as misinformation, bad leadership, and communication all have effects on the people who reside within a democracy and she expressed that. I do believe that since the Trump administration took office that we have seen a very big divide within the parties due to the hateful nature of the 2020 election. It felt like a fighting match every debate and the scene they set for the parties these last few years has not been pleasant, creating a more radical scene while everyone is on high alert.