In the face of “corrupt” political institutions and rising inequality, ordinary people across the planet are losing faith in democracy, United States senator Bernie Sanders has warned.
“In America, and around the world, there are a lot of people who are giving up on democracy. Because democracy, the current democratic structures, are not providing for them,” Sanders told The Big Issue.
“In America, tens of millions of people can’t afford healthcare; they can’t afford childcare; they can’t afford to send their kids to college and they’re looking around and saying, you know, this government, this style of government, the structure of this government hasn’t done anything for me. It doesn’t work for me.”
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The rising sense of despair and anger at the current political system has been taken advantage of populist politicians to push their own agendas, he added. Think Trump’s assertion that Washington DC was a swamp needing drained. There was enough truth in it to channel people’s justified anger into his cause. Populist leaders, in turn, further undermine democratic institutions – as was dramatically seen in the Capitol Hill riots of 2021.
“What Trump and his extreme right-wing allies have done is picked up on that,” said former presidential candidate Sanders. “So, I think that, when we talk about the economic needs of working people it’s not just improving their quality of life and creating a more just society. It is also fighting to preserve democracy. Because people are not gonna wanna participate in a system that does not work for them, that they understand is rigged.”