The Concept of Democracy in the USA

A brief look at Democracy itself and the first television debate for the US Presidential Elections

Direct Democracy, the rule of the electorate and thus the sovereign is the political system known in Switzerland. And it is fairly unique in the world. But despite Corona and emergency law, it is not the democratic rule in Switzerland, which is currently causing headaches.

Democracy (δημοκρατία dēmokratía "Rule of the State People") was invented in ancient Greece and is a high-maintenance system. Not many democracies are established and implemented in a similar way to what Swiss citizens are used to. According to the 2019 democracy index, a mere 5.7 percent of the world's population live in full democracies. Democracies often go hand in hand with important constitutional foundations, securing a free and self-determined life, coupled with a clear legal framework of conditions for companies.

Corona and Democracy

Federal President Sommaruga's statement to the parliament at the beginning of the Spring Session was memorable: "Today you are fully in charge again". After almost three months in which the Federal Council was forced to rule by emergency law, the Parliament finally resumed its duties and returned to the Plenary Chamber. The interim results sounded promising from all political quarters. But if we look across the Atlantic, we find a nation that is currently in turmoil. In spite of Corona, people in the USA meet for demonstrations and publicly express their concerns, against Corona, against racism or for the environment.


In view of the current US election campaign, the question once again arises how strong the US democratic system really is. Various experts and most recently presidential candidate Joe Biden himself posed this fundamental question and concluded that the US political and social system could not endure another four years of Trump. Of course, much of this is election propaganda. But at this point the US election campaign has reached the so-called "hot phase" and the tone is shifting, generally becoming more insulting, even viscious. In spite of the Corona Crisis, masses are being mobilised, secrets are being uncovered, lies are being exposed and scandals are being fuelled. Hardly surprising then that the first television debate between the two candidates was marked by accusations, insults and constant interruptions by the opponents. It was the first time in months that the two candidates faced each other in person. Previously they had largely ignored each other and concentrated on mobilising their own constituencies.

During the 90 minute TV debate, the candidates were in a frenzy, seemingly desperate to make up for lost time. Amongst the issues debated were of course the Corona Crisis, the appointment of the Supreme Court Judge, following Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing, Obamacare, as well as the current, partially violent demonstrations on either side of the political spectrum and the latest revelations regarding President Trump's income tax records. And what was the result? It was rather disappointing and exhausting to watch the squabblers fight. Trump seemed a bit "dull" and subdued, similar to his first TV debate with Hillary Clinton - though in the end he still won that campaign. Possibly more interesting and recommendable: the upcoming TV debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris on the 8th of October when the two Vice President Candidates go head to head for the first time.

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