Trump is the symptom, not the problem

The rise of Trump and the modern Republican Party—soul-less and unprincipled—was made possible by institutional and structural flaws in American politics that have remained unchanged since 2016:

  • A news media establishment that depends on advertising revenue and therefore seeks, above all else, attention—and is thus easily exploited by a master of distraction and sensation like Trump.
  • A comfortable and smug Democratic Party establishment that has ignored systemic injustices, both racial and economic.
  • The Electoral College, a remnant of the undemocratic features of the U.S. Constitution designed to protect established interests, including the slaveholding states of the South.
  • The filibuster rule of the U.S. Senate, another anti-democratic tool used by those seeking to thwart reforms.
  • A plethora of political and governmental “guard rails” that are simply norms, accepted practices with no basis in law, and which are therefore easily ignored without consequences for the offenders.
  • A system of public education funded by local property taxes and therefore designed to maintain existing inequalities of wealth and class.
  • A federal election system that is privately funded and wide-open to the most egregious abuses, effectively making all federal office-holders more or less beholden to their campaign donors.

Until these institutional features of U.S. government and politics change, American democracy will continue to produce chaos instead of good governance.

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