TEHRAN — A professor at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs says America’s political system is stuck in the 18th century.
“The United States is stuck with an 18th century government in the 21st century,” Charles M. Cameron told the Tehran Times.
“Perhaps the United States would be better off as a parliamentary democracy, like in Europe. Many political scientists believe so,” adds Cameron. “But,” he notes, “it makes no difference in the end, because there’s no way to get from here to there.”
Many independent observers in America are warning of the future of democracy in light of the struggles sparked by the 2020 election. Damage from Donald Trump and Republicans would undermine confidence in the election and the integrity of the country .
Here is the text of the interview:
Q: How do you see the future of American democracy in the Biden-Trump fight for the 2020 election?
A: What awaits American democracy? Like any other democracy, the United States operates on formal law but also on informal norms, for example, norms restricting military involvement in domestic politics, norms limiting voter fraud and voter cheating, and standards requiring the losing party to accept defeat on the ballot. polls. Almost all mainstream politicians in the United States accept these standards. Not Donald Trump.
In this sense, he resembles the fringe candidates of the far right and far left in Europe and the United States in the 1930s – except that he has no ideology or political program, except l personal growth. Four more years of a Trump presidency risk permanent damage to the norms that have sustained American democracy for 200 years. It’s a rather disturbing prospect.
Q: Do you expect Trump to come back in 2024 and win the election this time?
A: Donald Trump is definitely a presidential candidate. Quietly, many top Republicans are unhappy with this. They find in him a repulsive figure and a weak candidate. But his hold on Republican voters is so strong that he will likely win the nomination, barring unforeseen circumstances. What happens then is anyone’s guess, but something like a 2020 election replay is likely.
Q: How aware is the American public of politics? Many say that Americans don’t care about politics, especially foreign policy.
A: Most Americans are more oriented toward family, work, community, and church, synagogue, or mosque than politics. But a relatively small number are very interested and involved, and they have a disproportionate impact on political parties and candidate selection. The situation is particularly extreme in foreign policy.
Q: Do you expect American democracy to collapse because of Republican behaviors and decisions to restrict freedom and voting opportunities?
A: The collapse of American democracy is a low probability event – not zero, but close to it. But the United States could become a much more authoritarian place than it has been. As far as Trump is concerned, the only mitigating factor has been his sheer political incompetence. He’s a brilliant demagogue, but as bad at running a government as he is at running a business – he’s a guy who’s gone bankrupt eight times. If he was as smart and skilled as, say, Richard Nixon, he would still be president.
Q: Don’t you think a two-party system is old-fashioned and the United States needs to update its electoral system, especially the controversial electoral colleges?
A: Maybe the United States would be better off as a parliamentary democracy, like in Europe. Many political scientists believe so. But it doesn’t make any difference in the end, because there’s no way to get from here to there. The United States is stuck with an 18th century government in the 21st century!