The Zero Degree of Democracy

That a person so caricatural, abominable and farfetched as Donald Trump can aspire to be president of the largest Western power and drag so many millions of voters behind him — although insufficient, luckily, to guarantee him victory — is an alarming sign of the degradation of democracy in America. But if we think that this sign has already been projected in other parts of the world from Asia to Europe itself, in the last decades, but specifically since the post-War, then the reasons for concern gain unprecedented proportions.

In the East, we have the extreme case of the Philippines, where a convicted murderer occupies the chief-of-state position, while in Europe a little xenophobic despot is prime minister of Hungary —inspiring the orientation of various governments of central-east Europe — and the “sovereignist” leader of the extreme-right is almost certainly a given in the second round of the French presidential elections next year.

These are just some examples of a picture in which populist and more irrational authoritarian temptations multiply a little bit everywhere and disenchantment with the democratic legacy are spreading among populations where it seemed more strongly implanted. We are, thus, facing a global crisis of democracies, a swan song of the promises of globalization and the free market and, by irresistible extension, the open societies, in which it should have, supposedly, prospered.

Or, to be precise, a common denominator of this phenomenon is the growing tendency towards isolationism, the closing of frontiers, fear of the foreigner — fed, certainly, by terrorism —and, last but not least, the rejection of globalization. A globalization which, riding on the wave of financial capitalism and the deregulation of markets, was increasing the number of those who felt themselves to be excluded by and victims of it, with or without objective reason — but [becoming] hostages of phantasms, who imprison them in their fears.

It is the disarray of globalization, with its unsustainable imbalances, that favored the emergence of a Putin — or a Trump. It is not by chance that Trump shows himself so complacent or even complicit with the predatory instinct of Putin. And also, it is not by chance that Putin considers himself invulnerable in his escape to the front in Ukraine, in Syria or in the electronic spying on the Democratic campaign, channeled by the false rebels and useful idiots of WikiLeaks. This is the price of an unregulated and chaotic world.

On Nov. 8, Americans will vote on two candidates whom, according to polls, a significant majority doesn’t trust. Trump is what we know, but Hillary Clinton, who in normal circumstances, would win by an enormous margin, is facing a dangerously [small] margin and does not escape the stigma of duplicity, cynicism and promiscuity of interests, which ends up molding the darker profile of her personality.

Issues such as the Clinton Foundation, the thousands of confidential emails sent on her personal server, and her relationship with Wall Street and the powerful wealthy, which now try to blemish her, have made her the target of a popular lack of trust. This is especially as she is facing an electorate in a fight with “the establishment,” and has been exposed, thus, to the obscene vulgarity of Trump. His campaign has, after all, suffered a setback because of the divulging of a video of sexist and tasteless content, which shows the level of political alternatives at which American democracy has arrived.

If I were American, I would definitely vote for Clinton, by default, to try to escape the zero degree of democracy that threatens America — and the world.

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About Jane Dorwart 180 Articles
BA Anthroplogy. BS Musical Composition, Diploma in Computor Programming. and Portuguese Translator.

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