CFR Fears ‘American Democracy’ May Be ‘Doomed’ By Populism

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by Chris Menahan, Information Liberation:

The Council on Foreign Relations is afraid that “American democracy” (aka rule by unelected oligarchs) may be “doomed” by the populist forces that Trump’s presidency has unleashed.

The top article on the CFR’s website over the weekend was a piece from Yascha Mounk titled, “After Trump, Is American Democracy Doomed by Populism?”

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In the piece, Mounk whined about the U.S. capitol protests, which he called “riots,” and lamented the “appeal of populist authoritarianism.”

Before January 6, nobody had expected that a mob of insurrectionists could so easily enter “the People’s House.” […]

The fact that Trump has been able to convince so many Americans of his lies about the election, and mobilize tens of thousands of them to protest against the certification of the vote, shows that a significant share of the population is now open to this kind of populist appeal. Faced with a choice between their president and the Constitution, they chose Trump.

Mounk lamented how Facebook and Twitter banning Trump could backfire:

It is too early to tell how effective the suspension of Trump’s accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms will be. It has certainly impeded his ability to speak directly to his followers over the coming weeks. But over the course of the next four years, he could adopt new ways of communicating with them.

At the same time, these decisions have also raised a number of risks. It is now imaginable that the internet will slowly break into two pieces—or a whole chaotic array of shards. On Twitter and Facebook, Americans with different political beliefs sorted themselves into their own echo chambers but at least shared the same platform. In the future, parts of the populist right will attempt to build platforms of their own. This could end up accelerating rather than slowing their radicalization.

Most interestingly, Mounk revealed the CFR have no creative solutions to the “problem” of the uppity masses:

What tools can the incoming Biden administration use to ease tensions and address Trump supporters’ grievances?

As I describe in my book The People vs. Democracy, the rise of populism is owed to a number of structural reasons, including the stagnation of living standards for ordinary people, rapid cultural and demographic changes, and the rise of social media. The Biden administration should enact policies that, for example, help to stimulate wage growth for working- and middle-class Americans. But with Democrats’ small majority in the House and smallest possible majority in the Senate, the administration’s ability to push through ambitious reforms will, at least for the next two years, be limited.

The whole “economic growth will solve the racial divide” angle is exactly what Trump said during the presidential debates.

It appears Democrats are just hoping a $1,400 check stimulus is going to solve all that ails us. The problem is, thanks to corona and the lockdown economy, wealth is being siphoned to the ruling class while many in the middle and lower classes are being left destitute.

There’s no reason to believe these trends will change with another round of stimulus checks.

I don’t think it’s going to work considering Joe Biden is actively planning to push a mass amnesty of at least 11 million illegal aliens as one of his first orders of business, which will only further drive down lower-class wages and accelerate all the same trends.

Mounk finished his piece by saying Biden needs to denounce Trump’s “anti-democratic extremism” but also try to appeal to Trump voters:

Just as important, then, is that Biden continues on the path that won him the Democratic primaries and allowed him to beat Trump. He needs to be clear and forthright in his condemnations of Trump’s antidemocratic extremism. But he also needs to demonstrate that he seeks to be the president of all Americans—inviting those who voted for Trump to abandon their allegiance to a dangerous demagogue without portraying them as irredeemable deplorables.

Biden told Black civil rights leaders during a conference call in December that he wants to appeal to Trump voters but not by “giving them anything.”

He suggested that he was planning to use his bully pulpit to endlessly harangue Trump supporters as racists and compared them to KKK members.

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