Chomsky on Democracy in America | Summary and Q&A

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June 3, 2011
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Chomsky on Democracy in America

TL;DR

American democracy operates similarly to guided democracies, with candidates being vetted by corporate interests and elections being largely influenced by money and advertising.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How are elections in the US similar to those in guided democracies like Iran?

In both systems, candidates are vetted by a higher authority. While in Iran it is the clerical leadership, in the US, corporate interests play a major role in vetting candidates for elections.

Q: What is the role of corporate financing in US elections?

Corporate financing and support are essential for a successful campaign in the US. Candidates who receive substantial backing from financial institutions or corporations have a significant advantage over their opponents.

Q: Why do incumbents often win in Congress despite low public trust?

The overwhelming majority of incumbents win because voters feel they have no other choice. This is due to limited options, with candidates vetted by corporate interests, leading to a lack of alternative candidates that align with public preferences.

Q: Why does the US democratic system suffer from a democratic deficit?

The democratic deficit is evident in the sharp division between public policy and public attitudes on important issues, as well as the feeling of helplessness among the population. The government's alignment with corporate and big interests instead of serving the people contributes to this deficit.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • American democracy resembles guided democracies like Iran, with vetted candidates and corporate financing being crucial for running a successful campaign.

  • Elections in the US are heavily influenced by money, with candidates supported by corporate interests having a significant advantage.

  • The democratic system in the US suffers from fundamental defects, such as low public trust in Congress and a disconnect between public policy and public attitudes.

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