PROMO Government - Washington Monument - Wikimedia

Expert warns of upcoming threats to democracy across the nation

Washington Monument - Wikimedia
Alex Gonzalez

Click play to listen to this article.

Audio file

(Arizona News Connection) The Arizona Court of Appeals recently dismissed a case brought by Republican Arizona attorney general candidate Abraham Hamadeh, Republican Cochise County Supervisor Tom Crosby and an independent voter who wanted to decertify the results of the 2022 general election. Experts are now warning that with this year's highly contested presidential election, challenges to the results are likely to continue.

Harvard University government professor Steven Levitsky said the dysfunction in American democracy and erosion of civil discourse are cause for serious concern.

PROMO 64J1 Government - Capitol Washington DC Building United States - iStock - lucky-photographer

© iStock - lucky-photographer

"There are a lot of sources of dysfunction in U.S. democracy," he said, "but I think the principle threat right now is that one of our two major parties has turned away from democratic rules of the game."

Levitsky said democracy can't survive if only one party is committed to abiding by democratic ideals. He added that all parties must accept the results of elections, reject the use of political violence and be willing to break from violent or anti-democratic groups.

Experts have said short-term solutions include more investments to safeguard election administration, but are also calling for more long-term fixes such as reforming the way business engages with U.S. politics.

Levitsky said the United States is what he called the most "counter-majoritarian democracy" in the world. He said it is the only established democracy where partisan minorities can thwart and sometimes even govern over majorities. He reminded people that despite former President Donald Trump losing the popular vote in 2016, he still became president, and the party that won fewer votes in the Senate gained control.

"That president and that Senate went on to appoint and confirm three Supreme Court justices which means that if we were like other established democracies, and the parties that one the most votes won the most power, we'd have a 6-3 liberal majority on the Supreme Court today," he said. "That is how out of whack our institutions are."

More than 80 percent of Americans feel elected officials are out of touch with their needs and wants, according to the Pew Research Center. Only 4 percent of Americans think the country's political system is working extremely or very well.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.