The concept “democracy” (power of the people) has been repeatedly an issue in the US during the past year and in particular during recent weeks. It was often repeated that democracy was endangered in the United States of America.
At the same time democracy has been defended by the actions and statements of courageous politicians and civil servants, most recently by a brave 25 year old named Cassidy Hutchinson in late June. The life of this young woman will never be what it was, once she had testified under oath in front of the US Congress Committee inquiring into the events of January 6th, 2021. It is clear that she was aware of this, for she sacked the lawyer engaged by the Trump campaign, replacing him with her own choice.
Wikipedia pointed out that democracy described the political life based on equality and freedom of all citizens around 500 BC in Athens. Well, “all” is somewhat exaggerated, for in Greek Polis it applied only to the Demo of free men, who participated in the people’s assembly.
Modern democracy, which became a political and highly controversial idea in the 18th century, had little in common with the ancient Greeks. Democracy as we understand it today, is the division of the power of the state into three independent organs: legislature, government, justice. The western concept of democracy is that of a Polyarchy with secret and fair elections, with the opposition free to express its opinion and thus with freedom of expression and media, a peaceful transfer of government and the protection of minorities.
It is no secret that US did not experience a peaceful transfer of government in 2021. Instead this was hampered by the outgoing President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the election was manipulated in favour of his opponent. Trump’s controversial personality became well-known in the course of the past six years. Moreover, his close advisors including the State Attorney disputed the lie. Yet despite this and proof to the contrary, it continues to be believed by many million Americans that the election of President Joe Biden was not free and fair.
The result of the 6th January Committee’s report will therefore be globally crucial. A 2024 Trump Presidency would at the very least repress a true US democracy, if not destroy it.
The 2021 Index measuring democracy showed that only 6.4% of the global population lives under complete democracy compared with 37.1% of autocracies. In between, incomplete democracies numbered 39.3% and partly democratic systems 17.2%. An unsatisfactory balance sheet. We are all aware of states that have accepted a democratic constitution and also hold elections, yet are far removed from a true democracy. Trump as a new President of the United States of America or a President personifying Trumpism in 2024 would affect democratic rule adversely worldwide.