August 30, 2018
It is fascinating watching US news shows in recent weeks. While they may not be using these words, it is clear that anchors like Rachel Maddow and Joe Scarborough believe that the United States is now in an existential crisis for the soul and future of American democracy.
Democracy or authoritarianism?
Who will win?
There are, however, things that the EU and member states can glean from America’s current experience.
For example, there are many topics that Presidents would normally steer clear from, such as revoking security clearances and commenting publicly during ongoing criminal trials. Not this President!
America is trying to grapple with what ought to happen in these – and other – circumstances. If anything, the flow of unusual news, legal proceedings and questionable swampy things is so fast and so consistent that it seems to be difficult for the rest of the country to keep up. That pace gives the impression that the law does not apply to President Trump, though law enforcement is clearly trying to catch up with him.
My question is, what happens in Europe when governments work to corrupt the rule of law, punish or silence the press, use their state infrastructure to pressurise opponents and more? It is very unclear to me that the EU has much in the way of actual oversight. Despite America’s current struggle to reign Donald Trump in, it feels as though the infrastructure and departments are able to offer more resistance than in much of Europe.
An example would be the Brexit referenda. Back in early July the UK electoral commission announced that Vote Leave broke campaign spending rules. Given that the clock is ticking down to Brexit day, the five weeks that have passed so far with no action being taken to actually enforce those rules are quite alarming. Given the additional issues of Cambridge Analytica’s involvement, possible Russian interference and allegations of insider trading, you might have imagined that British democracy would be better placed to handle things.
What can and should the EU be doing to beef up it’s defences, in advance of needing them to help protect democracy across the Union? I don’t know the answer to that question, but hopefully you, dear reader, do and are in a position to push that conversation forwards…financialguy