When Alexis de Tocqueville began his remarkable journey across America in 1831, he had an intense curiosity about the unique American democratic system. He filled 14 notebooks with notes, observations, and interviews with over 200 Americans to find out how they understood democracy and what it meant for them.
During his trip, de Tocqueville learned that American citizens had many different ways of thinking about politics. There were those who felt that only a small group of elites could effectively govern, and others who believed that the people needed to play an active role in deciding how their country would be governed.
In response to these differences, the Founders developed a system of indirect or representative democracy that allowed the people to choose representatives to make decisions for them. This model is now the basis for the government of most nations worldwide.
However, this system has a major weakness: it is dominated by a small minority of elites that control the political, economic and military sectors. These elites also enjoy numerous privileges and have an unfair advantage over the general public.
This is a serious problem in the US as it has led to a number of political and social problems. These include political polarization, a lack of social cohesion, social divisions, racial tensions, and the wealth gap.
It is therefore essential to promote a democratic system that is free from corruption and allows the people to express their ideas. It should also allow the public to participate actively in the decision-making process and take part in policy formulation.
The democratic system must not be based on money, as this is what has eroded the integrity of democracy in the United States over the years. The use of huge amounts of political donations, most of which are from the top 0.01% ultra-rich of the population, has been a significant contributor to this problem. The resulting political gridlock has made it difficult for the public to participate in the decision-making process and has impeded the delivery of quality governance.
As a result, the majority of Americans feel disillusioned about the democratic system in the United States and pessimistic about its future. A survey in October 2020 by Gallup showed that only 19% of the respondents were very confident about the presidential election, a record low.
One of the most dangerous political problems in the US is identity politics, which divides people along partisan and ideological lines. This causes people to become alienated and resentful, and it is the root of most conflicts and social division in our society.
It is also a powerful force that fosters racism, sexism, and discrimination against women, Muslims, immigrants, and members of the LGBT community. This is a real threat to the future of our democracy and to human rights.
This problem is worsened by the winner-takes-all electoral system that is used in many states and exacerbates inequality between political parties. It also discourages voters from turning out and makes it more difficult for candidates to win the popular vote.