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The Ten Pillars of American Democracy

Has the United States Become a Pseudo-Democracy?

Michael Haas

Democracy rests on ten pillars. However, they have fallen in the United States because both major political parties have strayed from the concept of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. One party wants to recreate life in the past, while the other party appeals to the economic self-interest of specific groups. The coup on January 6, 2021, has prompted a fundamental analysis of what has gone wrong, but proposed corrections have failed to strengthen belief in democracy.

The fundamental pillars are of two types—preconditions and the structure of government. The preconditions are a strong middle and working class, belief in liberal and social democracy, an informed citizenry, a vibrant civil society, and a Constitution prescribing equal justice. Governments must have legislatures with integrity, an independent and competent bureaucracy and civil society, an executive who acts with civility, and free and fair elections. In each case, the trend had been away from democracy.

According to the Mass Society Paradigm, democracy works best when the voices of the people are aggregated into coherent programs by political parties, which seek majority approval and then demand action by government to solve problems, with the information media performing an oversight over the political process and government actions. But in the United States, some individuals are so cultural desperate that they have supported politicians favoring extreme measures to end democracy by paying attention to alternative concepts of reality. If ever achieved, corrective measures will take decades.