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November 10, 2018 / Congau

Constitutionally Guaranteed Division

American domestic politics is international. That is both due to its global importance and to the great sense of show and entertainment in so much of what comes out of that country. It’s a reality show with all those basic ingredients of quarrel and strife that spectators love to indulge in, all while shaking their heads over the petty childishness of the spectacle.

The Americans themselves incessantly complain about the partisan division and their politicians being unable to cooperate, calling for more responsibility and sense to enter the debate. But in all fairness, irresponsible power politicians as they may be, the root of the trouble may not be found in their individual shortcomings. It may be a structural problem inherent in the system itself.

In other countries the debate is often fierce, but it doesn’t result in that kind of deadlock and only in times of severe crisis, when a breakdown of law and order is threatening, does it reach such a level of chaos. But in America that is normality.

It is the political system, the constitutional arrangement itself that makes it possible. Contradiction and dispute are built into it.

Look at the recent election result. What did the voters actually decide? They gave the House to the Democrats and the Senate to the Republicans and mind you, it was the same voters who did it. America isn’t just divided, it’s schizophrenic.

In presidential elections the same voters may give the presidency to one party and Congress to the other, but even when that doesn’t happen, Congress tend to work against the president. The system is made to pull in different directions at the same time.

Sorry, Americans, the parliamentary system of Europe is superior. There the voters cannot vote against themselves since each vote goes only in one direction. The voters elect only a parliament and it again chooses the prime minister and the cabinet. There will then necessarily be harmony between the majority of the assembly and the executive, because if there isn’t a new prime minister will soon be chosen. The individual MP has no interest in voting against his own fraction since he personally partakes in the responsibility of upholding government.

In America the strict division in government is hailed as a system of checks and balances and praised as advanced democracy. But why would it be a democratic right to be able to vote against oneself? Why would a rational voter simultaneously vote for candidates that are going to work against each other? The constitution guarantees the voters the right to sabotage themselves and the government to be undermined from within.

Division is constitutionally guaranteed. Stop complaining about the division then. The show must go on.

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