America is facing a legitimacy crisis

  
Via:  john-russell  •  3 months ago  •  30 comments

America is facing a legitimacy crisis
Since the Soviet Union dissolved on Dec. 26, 1991, however, U.S. politics have gradually — and, in recent years, rapidly — reverted to something like the vicious zero-sum partisan game of the 19th century. The very idea of compromise has fallen into disrepute, scorned on all sides as a symptom of corruption, not consensus.With “mainstream” ideology under siege, ideas once deemed too radical for consideration in Washington now receive a polite, often favorable, hearing within the two major...

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America is facing a legitimacy crisis


Charles Lane

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Thirty years ago this month, the Soviet empire began to end. Officials from a new reform-minded communist Hungary and its democratic neighbor, Austria, dismantled the barbed-wire border fence that had separated them and deterred free movement of people from the Soviet-dominated East to the American-allied West.

Within weeks, East Germans were moving via Hungary to West Germany, a refugee exodus that Budapest welcomed and that would lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany.

What a distance the world, and the United States, has traveled since those heady and, for Americans, triumphant days.

As Europe threw off the communist yoke in 1989, it seemed not only a victory for U.S. power but also a vindication for U.S. political ideals and institutions. Nowadays, though, it seems that 1989 planted the seeds of instability in the United States, too.

The legitimacy crisis it fed in this country was not as direct or sudden, and not nearly as catastrophic, as the Soviet Union’s, but it is real just the same.

The Cold War contest with the Soviet Union provided a unifying theme not only to U.S. foreign policy but also to domestic politics. Facing a threat that was seemingly both eternal and mortal, American political leaders muted, compromised or, at times, suppressed their country’s internal conflicts — above all, those between the two parties — lest divisions render the United States vulnerable to the Soviets. There were many exceptions to this rule, of course, but generally , the vaunted “two-party system” kept a giant, diverse nation together through a long, twilight struggle.

Since the Soviet Union dissolved on Dec. 26, 1991, however, U.S. politics have gradually — and, in recent years, rapidly — reverted to something like the vicious zero-sum partisan game of the 19th century. The very idea of compromise has fallen into disrepute, scorned on all sides as a symptom of corruption, not consensus.

With “mainstream” ideology under siege, ideas once deemed too radical for consideration in Washington now receive a polite, often favorable, hearing within the two major parties: socialism for the Democrats; “America First” for the Republicans. These notions last enjoyed such currency in the 1930s.

Perhaps most extraordinary, and dangerous, is that politicians compete to delegitimize not just each other but also the system of which they are supposed to be stewards. President Trump and his opponents routinely portray each other as the authors, or beneficiaries, of conspiracies or rigged elections.

In so doing, they both shape and express public opinion. Though the causes of Americans’ suspicion toward the national government vary, most of them now lack basic confidence in it. Only 17 percent say they trust Washington to do the right thing most or all of the time, according to the Pew Research Center. That figure has not exceeded 25 percent since 2007.

In hindsight, we can see that this legitimacy crisis was brewing even at a time when the Cold War still exerted a unifying force. As political analyst Bill Bishop, author of “The Big Sort,” has pointed out, nearly 8 in 10 Americans trusted the government in 1964, but that figure began to fall in 1965 — the year of military escalation in Vietnam, Great Society legislation, the Watts riots in Los Angeles and other watershed events — and has never recovered.

The end of the Cold War set loose sources of domestic discord, many of which, such as racial and gender inequalities, needed to be aired. Will the 2020 presidential election, already the subject of warnings that it could somehow be stolen or the results not respected, sharpen or ease America’s legitimacy crisis?

In declaring his candidacy for president, former vice president Joe Biden, a product of the old two-party system, sounded themes that were stunningly conciliatory today but would have been routine in 1973, when his Senate career began — such as his reference in Iowato “my Republican friends in the House and Senate.”

The 76-year-old Biden’s implicit offer is a return to normalcy, after a four-year anger-fest led by Trump. Normalcy as Biden knew it may be past restoring, though; his message got a mixed reception from fellow Democrats. Political tribalism in the West has deep roots, both in human psychology and in public dissatisfaction with post-Cold War policy errors and unfulfilled promises.

June 2015 may go down in history as May 1989’s bookend. That month, Donald Trump declared for the presidency, and a new Hungarian government, led by former anti-Soviet activist Viktor Orban, announced plans for a razor-wire barrier across the country’s southern border, to block mostly Muslim refugees fleeing the Middle East. The two menmeet at the White House on May 13.

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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 months ago

If Trump is re-elected, future generations may look back at 2020 as the year that the Fall Of The United States Of America officially began. 

I'm sure the Romans thought their empire would last forever too. 

Two things are changing America forever, racial and cultural diversity, which is inevitable, and the rapidity of technological advancements in computerization.  These are earthquake level changes to American life, and they are not being handled properly, and cannot be handled properly by Trump. 

The country has never been more divided. I was alive in 1968 and remember it fairly well.  Today's socio-political climate is far worse. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 months ago
If Trump is re-elected, future generations may look back at 2020 as the year that the Fall Of The United States Of America officially began.

Oh, so now 2016 wasn't the great disaster you have been saying it was for 3 years almost?

Good to know!

 
 
 
Greg Jones
1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 months ago
 Today's socio-political climate is far worse

It sure is, and the fault lies entirely at the feet of the left, whatever you want to call them.

Their ongoing childish inability to accept the results of an honest and valid election and their weaponizing the DOJ and FBI to overturn it are beyond stupid and defy logic and common sense. They have shown they are incapable of leading and inspiring the American people and are starting to pay the steep price for such idiotic folly.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2    3 months ago
Their ongoing childish inability to accept the results of an honest and valid election

Even if there were no Russian meddling, Trump would be completely unfit for the presidency. He is a liar, con man, crook, tax cheat, boor, narcissist, and ignoramus.  And NONE of what I said is even in legitimate dispute !

 
 
 
Greg Jones
1.2.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2.1    3 months ago

And none of what you say is true, just made up childish, name calling, silliness.

And you keep repeating the same lies, day after day,  time after time.  Does it help?

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
1.3  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 months ago
If Trump is re-elected, future generations may look back at 2020 as the year that the Fall Of The United States Of America officially began. 

According to 2020 democratic presidential candidates it doesn't really matter, we all die in 12 years.

jrSmiley_97_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.4  Jack_TX  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 months ago
I was alive in 1968 and remember it fairly well.

Bullshit.

You remember kids being gunned down on a college campus?  You remember a presidential frontrunner being assassinated?  You remember Watergate?  You remember American teenagers dying in some God forsaken Asian shithole for no reason?    You remember people lining up for miles to buy rationed gasoline?  

And you think Donald Trump is somehow the end of the American Republic?  Double bullshit.

How hilarious is it that you're moaning about Trump's lies (again/still) while you're telling that one?  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.4.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Jack_TX @1.4    3 months ago

Your post is what is hilarious. Kent State was in 1970. Watergate was in 73-74. Gas lines were in 1973 at first and then sporadically through the decade. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.4.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Jack_TX @1.4    3 months ago

Imagine if Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan would have come on the scene and started lying every five minutes to the American people. They would have had a net thrown over them and been hauled off to a mental institution. 

You have absolutely no standards for the president that he needs to uphold. 

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.4.3  Jack_TX  replied to  JohnRussell @1.4.1    3 months ago
Your post is what is hilarious. Kent State was in 1970. Watergate was in 73-74. Gas lines were in 1973 at first and then sporadically through the decade. 

If you remember 1968, then you should remember 73, don't you think?  Or did you have a convenient bout of amnesia?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.4.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Jack_TX @1.4.3    3 months ago

Where did I say I dont remember 1973? 

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.4.5  Jack_TX  replied to  JohnRussell @1.4.2    3 months ago
Imagine if Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan would have come on the scene and started lying every five minutes to the American people. They would have had a net thrown over them and been hauled off to a mental institution. 

Imagine if Lloyd Bentsen had said "fuck" at a campaign rally.  Imagine if Jimmy Carter got caught banging an intern.   Times change.  A person in their 50's would understand that. 

You have absolutely no standards for the president that he needs to uphold. 

I have a president who appears to have little interest in behaving in a traditional fashion.  I have adjusted my expectations and behaviors accordingly.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.4.6  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Jack_TX @1.4.5    3 months ago
Times change. 

You have to be kidding. You are excusing Trump because "times have changed".  I thought you had insufficient standards, but maybe it is none at all when it comes to Trump. 

BEFORE he became president he had committed personal fraud against hundreds of customers to his "Trump University", and had been sued by hundreds of contractors for non payment. He had stiffed a group of illegal immigrant workers that tore down the insides of a building he was redeveloping. He had stiffed investors in his casino business. He had been fined for money laundering. He had promoted a hoax accusation against the then sitting president of the United States. All of that was KNOWN before he became a candidate. What kind of low individuals would have voted for such a person? 

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.4.7  Jack_TX  replied to  JohnRussell @1.4.6    3 months ago
You have to be kidding. You are excusing Trump because "times have changed".

I'm not sure how you still have difficulty processing the difference between "excusing" and "ignoring".  Do you understand these two words?  Do you need some help on this front?  

I guess my other option would be to tediously post endless whining drivel on the internet complaining about the same thing every day for years.  Hmmmm.....   Nah, I think I'll stick with the whole "ignoring" strategy, since most of what he says doesn't matter anyway.

BEFORE he became president he had committed personal fraud against hundreds of customers to his "Trump University", and had been sued by hundreds of contractors for non payment.

OK.  What, exactly, do you imagine you are able to do about that?

What kind of low individuals would have voted for such a person? 

As I've said before, I didn't vote for him.  But I live in Texas, which means I know lots of people who did.  They fall broadly into several categories, with considerable overlap in some cases.

1.  People who felt betrayed by the system and wanted it shaken up.   2.  People whose dislike of Hillary Clinton exceeded their concerns about Donald Trump.  3.  People concerned that Hillary would stack the SCOTUS with leftists.  4.  People strong enough not to need a safe space whenever somebody says something they don't like.

I realize you don't agree with them.  You need to realize they don't care at all.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.4.8  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Jack_TX @1.4.7    3 months ago

I'll just let comment 1.4.6   speak for itself. 

All of that was KNOWN before he became a candidate. What kind of low individuals would have voted for such a person? 
 
 
 
Greg Jones
1.4.9  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1.4.2    3 months ago

You seem to have a problem with telling the  truth, and a propensity to tell tall fairy tails.

Trump's doing a good job, and thankfully his opponent didn't steal the election.

You have to admit he was a better choice than the old hag known as Horrible Hillary.

 
 
 
freepress
2  freepress    3 months ago

The original goal of Bannon/Trump was to tear it all down and that is exactly what they are doing.

 
 
 
bbl-1
2.1  bbl-1  replied to  freepress @2    3 months ago

Sure, 'tear it all down.'  But...……...replace it with what?

 
 
 
It Is ME
3  It Is ME    3 months ago

With all this so-called carnage going on in the U.S. because of Trump, I must be "Out of the Minority stream"....thank God ! jrSmiley_81_smiley_image.gif

I'm doing great ! jrSmiley_100_smiley_image.jpg

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  It Is ME @3    3 months ago

Maybe you just care about yourself and not the country. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.1.1  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    3 months ago

That sounds right.  

 
 
 
It Is ME
3.1.2  It Is ME  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    3 months ago
Maybe you just care about yourself and not the country. 

I put on my own "Oxygen Mask" first, a long time ago, so I can contribute to helping others now.

Have you done that yet ?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    3 months ago
Maybe you just care about yourself and not the country. 

Everything Trump is doing is for the country and people, if you will be honest about it.

The same can't be said of HRC, who showed her scorn of, and  arrogant indifference to, the people on a daily basis.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
4  Nerm_L    3 months ago

Yes, Trump does represent a shift in US politics.  Political upheavals have occurred before in US history and those past political upheavals were preceded by periods of political corruption and cronyism.  When political compromise is pursued for the benefit of politicians and their cronies, then the political system loses legitimacy.  Political upheavals are how the US political system renews itself. 

When political compromise is only pursued to benefit the political system by undermining American values and principles then those political compromises are not legitimate.  Self serving compromises in politics is a bad thing.  And removing those self serving political compromises from government becomes a good thing.

We are emerging from a period when political parities have been using government only for political purposes.  The political system has lost legitimacy.  Voters are going to rebel and begin electing candidates that place country before party.  Trump did promise to tear down the political system in Washington and was competitive against a candidate who represented a political system that has lost legitimacy.  

Candidates who challenge the political status quo of illegitimate self serving political compromise are going to be competitive and attract more attention from voters.  A political system built upon the idea that providing politicians the most benefits will allow some benefit to trickle down to the people isn't any more legitimate than trickle down economics.  The political system has become corrupt and people aren't going to trust compromises between corrupt politicians.

Trump was elected to be a bulldozer, a chainsaw, a nuke.  Trump was elected to tear down an illegitimate two party political system controlled by corrupt politicians and their cronies.  The public has lost trust in the political system.  Candidates who represent the status quo of illegitimate political compromise may well have their arses handed to them.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5  seeder  JohnRussell    3 months ago
Trump was elected to be a bulldozer, a chainsaw, a nuke.

Donald Trump is a criminal and a pathological liar. His unsuitability for office takes precedence over all other considerations. 

Or cannot you not find an honest person to play his role? 

AOC is said to be a disrupter too. Or Bernie Sanders.  They are not known to be pathological liars and crooks. Is there no one on the right besides Trump to serve your purpose? 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
5.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @5    3 months ago
His unsuitability for office takes precedence over all other considerations.

He's exactly what the country needs to clean house on both sides of the aisle.

You haven't made your case as to his unsuitability for the office, and of course, you never will.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
6  Bob Nelson    3 months ago
Perhaps most extraordinary, and dangerous, is that politicians compete to delegitimize not just each other but also the system of which they are supposed to be stewards. President Trump and his opponents routinely portray each other as the authors, or beneficiaries, of conspiracies or rigged elections.

That's pure both-sidesism. And it's false.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
6.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Bob Nelson @6    3 months ago

No....both sides are to blame for all the incivility and divisiveness, but the Democrat have jumped in with both feet and their toes are starting to get burnt in their efforts to start civil unrest and overturn a legitimate election.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
6.2  Jack_TX  replied to  Bob Nelson @6    3 months ago
That's pure both-sidesism.

Yes.

And it's false.

Except it isn't.

We've had two years of one set of idiots screaming "fake news" while the other set of idiots was screaming "collusion/not my president".

 
 
 
bbl-1
7  bbl-1    3 months ago

"Lock her up" is the new legitimization.

 
 
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