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Just in Time: US Fiscal Cliff

Just in Time: US Fiscal Cliff

On the 17th of October 2013, the USA could advert the bankruptcy of the state but the ideological raptures remain.

By Derya Bischoff

A few hours after insolvency, President Obama warned the 535 members of Congress that the way how Washington is doing business has to change. But this is wishful thinking. The polarization of society and the political elite is advanced. And written and unwritten laws enable political extremists to gain power and literally hijack their party politics. Without seeing reason governing in the USA will become increasingly complicated, particularly if the voters continue to divide up the political power. Shared power could be a desired corrective, but in the USA it has led to continuous blockades and deadlocks, simply because a group of ideologists intent to prefix their principle over compromise.

The political divide has several causes. In recent years, both parties have become more extremist and uniform. Today there are almost no conservative democrats much less liberal republicans in Congress. An important reason for this divide is the demographic change. In the last decades the Republican become the party of the Caucasian people and the Southern States, on the other hand the Democrats developed into a party of minorities and geographically speaking a party of the North-East and West.

The polarization and the furor of the political fight can be traced back to a defensiveness of the Caucasian population who is afraid of the undeniable changes in society, which has become increasingly Latin-American, secular, liberal and urban. Infusing to the polarization is the issue of pitching claimed electoral districts in such a way that it will guarantee a majority. The result is that democrats live with democrats and republicans live with republicans.  The fact that democrats primarily live in the cities, and republicans are more distributed across the country, turned out to be frustrating for the Democrats because even though they get more votes, they are doomed to be in the minority. As happened in the last election for the House of Representatives. Additionally there are less swing voters, only one third of the 435 electoral districts are still contested.

The result: candidates compete against candidates of their own party. Once elected to Washington, every senator can bring forward the so-called Filibuster-rule which says that the senate can only discuss a law proposition when a supermajority ( 60 out of 100 senators) vote for it. The democratic party unfortunately only holds a simple majority and therefore depends on republican votes. Like Obama, everyone in the USA knows that this intransigence cannot continue, but it is unlikely that much will change, the power of the radicals might already be too strong.

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