Where is America heading?
No one knows, no one has a definitive answer, as uncertainty dominates sentiments on the day before the mid-term elections on Tuesday, November 8.
This uncertainty pertains not only to who will win tomorrow, as all the polls point to very close races, but to the state of American democracy itself. There is fundamental doubt about the future, a crisis of democracy, and, like most Americans, it’s something that I have never before experienced during all my years in this country.
Here in California, the nation’s largest state with almost 40 million inhabitants, there is no uncertainty as to who will win tomorrow, as the Democrats will continue to dominate and elect or re-elect all their leading candidates in the state. Of the 22 million registered voters, or 82 percent of the eligible population – the highest percentage in over 70 years – 47 percent are registered Democrats, 24 percent Republicans and 23 percent with no party preference. But regardless of party affiliation, 78 percent of these California voters in a new poll by Berkeley IGS, the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, agreed that “American democracy is in a crisis and is at risk of failing.”
Democrats were only slightly more worried than Republicans, 83 percent to 73, but this crisis has different causes, depending on party affiliation. 81 percent of Democrats consider political violence and efforts to make it more difficult to vote as major threats, while 69 percent of Republicans rate illegal voting as a major threat. The “Big Lie,” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from the former president, Donald Trump, its leading voice, has completely taken over the Republican party. 61 percent of Republicans now think that Joe Biden won in 2020 only because of fraud, and tomorrow, scores and scores of Republican election deniers are running for office, all across the country. Some of them will likely win, deepening even further the crisis of American democracy.
President Biden has twice spoken about this threat to democracy, stating that Trump and “the MAGA (Make American Great Again) Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” He’s right, and Americans are deeply worried, as a recent, eye-popping opinion survey by UC Davis pointed out: 67 percent perceived of “a serious threat to our democracy;” 50 percent foresaw a civil war in America in the next several years; 42 percent said that it’s more important to have a strong leader than having democracy; and 18.7 percent agreed strongly or very strongly that violence is needed to protect American democracy when elected leaders will not.
A total of 8,620 adults nationwide participated in the survey, whose alarming results, according to the researchers, “exceeded our worst expectations.”
Indeed, where is America heading?