The biggest danger to any Democracy is the politicians, those politicians elected democratically in a free and open ballot. A politician that is good at campaigning need not be competent at governing. Demagogues will win the election then damage the institution of government. Today we see the politician that has prioritized their concerns as; first self, second party, and then last comes country, short term political gain out weights all else.
This is not new. Ancient Greece was destroyed by the actions and decisions of greedy, self serving Greek elites. The Roman Empire was destroyed by greedy self serving Roman elites. The great Chinese Empires failed due to greedy self serving elites. The French Empire of King Louis XIV failed due to a greedy self serving political class. The list of governments that have failed by political suicide is complete, it includes all of them. Whether tyrannies or democracies all rotted from the inside allowing some alternative force to kick the government to the dust. Eventually the short term self interest of the politician lead to the destruction of the same self serving politician, along with their society. Again I will note this is true for all governments and all societies, none has survived.
The pattern is clear, fully documented and universal. I will deal with those governments that, by definition, are reasonably liberal democracies, the dictatorships and illiberal democracies are doomed by their initial structure. The liberal democracies start with the strength and support of that societies’ population, the elite receives the largest benefit but the common citizen also receives some benefit. Life improves for all. With the passing of time the elite consolidate their power, slowly excluding the mass of the population, the ruling elite become less responsive to the general population while concentrating on their own self serving needs. Eventually, the majority of the population no longer has any reason to support the elite. At this point the government has rotted from the inside and can be easily beaten by either external or internal adversaries.
Over a single generation, since the 1980s, America has become weaker by reducing the political representation of the middle class with the corresponding power solidification within a small class of a ruling elite. We have reached the point where the elite demand deification as “job creators”, claiming that which is good for the elites is good for the country.
A rating of best countries for business by Forbes rates American number 12, this serves the elite by reducing competition from up starts. The rating for best education by OCED has American number 14; the elite have private schools and guaranteed college legacy entry. The rating of the world’s health care systems has America as number 36, the elite are insulated by their wealth. One generation pass America lead in all categories, now America leads in no category. We are still the world’s largest economy, but even that will soon be passing. The elite have access to the international market, the middle class does not.
The right blames the left, the left blames the right, and those in the middle blame both, but all see the trend. The pattern is obvious and so is the answer. The elite have to allow full participation by all American citizens in the political process. This has never happened in human history. In the pass, once the elite have enough power, the elite destroy their own society which then destroys the elite.
There is a first time for everything. America is in decay but not yet rotten to the core. The vibrancy and strength has been chained but not defeated. The middle class can rebuild itself, if given a chance. Future historians will treat today’s American elite the same as historians treat the “last Roman Emperor”, which is mostly with scorn, they will be remembered as living in bubbles removed from the larger culture. It will be noted they blamed the working poor, which they identify as the 47%, never seeing their contribution and leadership to the downfall, a repetition of history.