Crisis of U.S. Democracy and Lessons for China
Tonight will be the second presidential debate, and it will confirm Trump meltdown obvious to elites in U.S.. 15 Republican senators have asked Trump to withdraw or disavowed him and counting. Yet the problem will not be solved with the coronation of Hillary. The gap between rich and poor, 99% versus 1%, will still yawn wide. The electoral system of U.S. is over 250 years old, yet it is undemocratic in its origin, and almost impossible to reform. Even with the new Supreme Court and possible repudiation of “Citizens United” decision, I see no real change except marginal improvement in the live of ordinary citizens.
The public opinion polls on Brexit vote, Columbian cease fire accord vote, both predicted passage, yet due to low participation or indifference of young voters, both failed. U.S. election might yet go that way except for Trump meltdown. Professor Qiang Ge of Central Party School, a self professed Trump fan, wrote in guancha.cn after the first debate, questioned a CNN poll of Hillary win by using right wing internet polls for Trump win to question the validity of polls in general. For me it’s not surprising most Chinese have little knowledge of U.S. politics or political process, but I find it dangerous that Central Party School, where provincial and higher officials attend classes to further their education, is not well informed. I mentioned Central Party School because another professor, Wang Changjiang was recently under attack by Maoists for disrespecting Mao.
As public opinion polls show, U.S. with her high college attendance compare to others is still very poorly informed and anti-science. With 40% believe earth is 10,000 years old, with 46% against evolution as creationists, thus even with Trump’s meltdown, politics in U.S. will be challenging in the future. Chinese leaders will need to be well informed in dealing with U.S.. I recently watched a TV program, “Choice, 2016, Frontline”, which gives very good background information on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and I recommend highly to all interested. As China moves to a service and knowledge economy, the problems faced by U.S., rich and poor divide, automation and job loss, loss of confidence in government, will show up in China also. China in addition faces a serious corruption problem which will not be easily solved. Remember, the events of 89 was triggered by backlash against corruption. The democracy in U.S. is flawed, I do hope China can draw lessons from it, more than just editorialize it in People’s Daily on its failure.