Democrats and the Crisis of Legitimacy


Photo by Carlos Pacheco | CC BY 2.0

The American electoral system, and with it what passes for representative democracy, is facing a crisis of legitimacy reflected in continued fallout from the 2016 election. The duopoly political Parties—Democrats and Republicans, have both experienced mass exoduses for reasons specific to each. Because they have effective control over which candidates and programs get put forward in elections, they must be gotten out of the way for constructive political resolution to be possible.

The Republican Party saw a mass exodus of registered voters when George W. Bush’s war against Iraq became a conspicuous quagmire (graph below). By the time of the financial crisis that marked the onset of the Great Recession, some fair number had registered as Democrats while others dropped their duopoly Party affiliation to become what are implausibly called ‘independents.’

At the time it became apparent that the Obama administration was intent on restoring the forces of economic repression— Wall Street and corporate-state plutocracy, the Democrats saw their own mass exodus (graph below). Against the storyline of competing interests, registered voters fled both Parties. By implication, these mass exoduses suggest that neither duopoly Party represents the programs and candidates of interest to voters.

Graph: both of the American duopoly Parties are facing crises of legitimacy. Voters have been abandoning Party affiliation at times that have…

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  • William Bednarz

    Democracy is in the hands of the voters.
    Voters who take the time – to look at the issues and the candidates….The PARTY is not the question!
    GETTING OUT THE VOTE – – – and remembering
    to VOTE . is your right – it is your civic responsibility –
    and it is your duty to keep our democracy strong