Can the US Defend Democracy?

The U.S. midterm elections are just a month away, and the U.S. House and Senate elections as well as gubernatorial and other elections will be held at the same time on Nov. 8. There will be a wide range of issues, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a 40-year high level of inflation, but the most important issue will be democracy in the U.S.

About 70% of Americans believe that democracy is on the brink of collapse. The sense of crisis is shared by both Democrats and Republicans. The problem is that they are blaming each other for the issue.

President Joe Biden mentioned that “the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country,” attacking the former president’s denial about the result of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump responded by saying that it is Biden and other radical Democrats who are destroying the country, and he has taunted the current administration, which has a lenient immigration policy, as anti-American.

The campaign is reminiscent of the presidential election two years ago, when the two candidates clashed. Biden has shelved the “unity” pledge he made when he took office, while Trump has become more outspoken and confrontational.

There are quite a few people who cast a cold eye on the intensifying partisan conflict. About 30% of the public is critical of the two major parties, the worse percentage in the past 30 years. This is a remarkable level of distrust of political parties.

However, it is hard to say that both parties are trying to overcome this.

Many of the Republican candidates who get Trump’s support still continue to believe that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Even if they lose the midterm elections, they will not accept the results, using self-serving theories, and there are fears that the vote could be thrown into disarray.

Rather than pushing Biden, whose approval rating is slumping, Democratic candidates are forcing voters to choose between “pro-Trump” and “anti-Trump” candidates. Their stance of stirring up hostility and division is no different from that of the Republicans.

Democracy in the U.S., which has been globally regarded as the norm, has been supported by fair and free elections and a civil society that values tolerance. If this is neglected, the foundation of the U.S. will crumble.

Political turmoil will also affect diplomacy. Confidence in allies and friends will decline, benefiting China and Russia, whom we oppose.

Will U.S. democracy continue to deteriorate or show resilience? The world is watching what happens.

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