A recent poll finds: Many US citizens are not hopeful about the state of democracy in their land, the country that teaches “democracy” around the world.
A new poll, results released on Wednesday, by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found: Many in the US are skeptical of the voting system in the US. They are also disheartened about the state of democracy in their country.
The poll surveyed 1,121 adults across the US earlier this month.
The poll found:
# Today, only about half of the US citizens have high confidence that their votes in the coming midterm elections will be counted accurately. The figures are actually higher than two years back when the figure was four in ten.
# A large proportion of Republicans have lost faith in the voting system, as 45% expressed little to no confidence that the coming midterm elections will be counted accurately.
# Democrats seem to be mostly satisfied with the system, with 74% saying they are “highly confident” in the midterm results.
The poll found:
# Many Republicans reportedly lost trust in the US voting system after Trump accused Biden of stealing the 2020 presidential election through the use of tampered voting machines and voter fraud, specifically pointing to the mail-in ballots, which ended up tipping the scale in the Democratic candidate’s favor several days after the Election Day.
# About 58% of Republicans still believe that Biden’s election wasn’t legitimate.
The poll also found:
# Only 9% of adults thought democracy is working “extremely” or “very well”.
# Contrarily, 52% perceived the democracy was not working well.
# Sixty-eight percent of the Republican voters perceive this way today, compared to 32% two years ago.
# The number of Democrats pessimistic about the democracy has dropped from 63% in 2020 to 40% today.
“Russia’s interference”: Accuse US media
The state of democracy turns more mysterious as media in the US has begun an old accusation: “Russia interferes” with the election system.
Mr. Rick Newman, a senior columnist with the online news outlet Yahoo News, has accused:
Russia is putting its thumb on the US election by creating rising inflation through the Ukraine crisis.
Mr. Newman wrote on Tuesday:
Voters blame the incumbents when they struggle. This is the reason behind President Biden’s and his Democrat colleagues’ problem of keeping control of the Congress in November. Russia’s military and economic aggressions are probably the biggest factors that are pushing food and energy prices higher in the US.
The argument seems substantial: geopolitics influencing domestic politics.
But, on the other hand, the democracy is in such a condition that seems gets manipulated by an external actor’s geopolitical move. If elections happen in that way, then, some other external actor will regularly manipulate. That means, the election doesn’t reflect voters’ choice; rather, it carries choice of an external actor. So weak it’s!
He has another claim:
Russian hackers will target the US voting system. It’s, as claimed, interference.
This accusation of Russian interference in the US election system is old. During the 2016 presidential election, this accusation was made. The issue turned out as an important election issue. Now, it’s again being made.
Is the system so fragile, so juvenile, so decayed that an external actor can manipulate election?
That means, the external actor is much powerful than the election system that cherishes to reflect citizens’ choice. But, now it’s failing.
Then, the external actor can manipulate elections in other lands also – doesn’t logic develop in this way? Then, the external actor can win over land after land through manipulation of or interference in election processes in those lands – logic can develop in this way also.
Then, why shall the actor spend so much money with arms and ammunitions to carry on its geopolitical game? Moreover, shall the actor employ generals to spend their brains behind acts that’re named war?
This pattern of logic and these questions demand no answers. These are only to be pondered by a certain group of pundits, if they like.
Russia consistently denied the accusations made from the US. Probe in the US has not found any evidence of Russian interference.
But, the accusations persist. Is it part of an election game?
Whatever it’s, it’s certain that the democracy there in that country is not in a good shape. Otherwise, such opinions in poll and excuses by a section of media wouldn’t have surfaced.
Far right and interventionism
A mid-October report by The New York Times (“News generation of combat vets, eyeing house, strike from right”) adds a few comments while referring to a number of candidates seeking election:
# “A new breed of veterans […] are running for the House on the far right of the Republican Party”.
# “[A] deep skepticism about US interventionism” [among this group of candidates].
# [This group of candidates believes] “their sacrifices only gave rise to more instability and repression wherever the United States put boots on the ground.”
# “Where earlier generations of combat veterans in Congress became die-hard defenders of a global military footprint, the new cohort is unafraid to launch ad hominem attacks on the men who still lead US forces.”
According to the NYT report, there is, by at least one candidate, a comment: “Their [a group of leaders] concerns centered around the military-industrial complex and maintaining the military-industrial complex, so as three- and four-star generals, they can roll right into very lucrative jobs.”
This means, in the mainstream, issues of the military-industrial complex, connection to it, and benefit derived from it are being raised.
There’re, as the NYT report found, also talks about a group of candidates who “embrace Trump’s lies as a precursor to totalitarianism”, “some of these men are really leaning into outright fascism”, “many as a right-wing radical”.
The report tells about a group of candidates who state:
# “Democrats had somehow rigged the 2020 election in Biden’s favor.”
# “[T]he lies that dragged [the US] into war”.
# “[T]ells of stolen elections, political prisoners who attacked the Capitol and the slippery slope to nuclear war that the Biden administration is on in Ukraine.”
# “[T]he United States needs to avoid Iran, has done enough in Ukraine and should undertake a wholesale reevaluation of its posture in the world.”
# “Biden is defending [Ukraine] more vigorously than he is the United States’ southern border.”
# “[C]apitalism driving interventionism”.
# “They make a lot more money when we’re at war.”
At least one organization is there, according to the report, that tries “to bring civility to Congress”. Is there lack of civility?
One group identifies another group as “hawkish interventionists”.
It’s undeniable fact that terms like “progressive”, “left”, “conservative”, “right”, “radical”, “interventionist”, “socialist” that the mainstream politics of the country use are far different than actual meaning and actions. It’s, to them these are like jargons, confusing to many. Someone while identifies self as “progressive”, votes, in the legislative assembly, for intervention in foreign lands, for waging war in another country.
However, the comments/observations tell of a deep fracture; and, of a group’s concern about viewpoint of opposing group. A few of the viewpoints/observations are not in conformity with the main trend in the mainstream politics.
The level of opposing views is highly contentious. Someone may find lines of serious conflict – a significant development in the mainstream politics. With this reality, the poll findings, mentioned at the beginning of this article, are not unusual, abnormal, which tell something serious about the land’s mainstream democracy and politics.
Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.