Prologue (25 March 2017)
Already by Donald Trump’s electoral campain, democratic forces have
been put under pressure by racist, nationalistic, and anti-democratic
patterns of thinking and behaving. Meanwhile a harsh cultural and
institutional clash between the elected US president Trump together
with his entourage at the one hand and still functioning democratic
institutions and a growing civility movement at the other hand is going
on. Hence the USA can be currently characterized as a handicapped
democracy under autocratic pressure.
A) Human rights
1. Are all inhabitants respected as free and equal citizens?
The USA is often considered to be a democracy with equal rights and
freedoms. For decades many states and cities have been operating
with sharp equality programs in educational institutions, and the
public is quite aware of the problem of ongoing racism. And Barrack
Obama, the first black president of the USA, has carefully attempted to
foster equal rights and practices including the rights of native
Americans - see Obama’s 2015 decision to rename the highest
mountain peak in North America from Mount McKinley to Denali, the
old name given by native population. Nevertheless there is still an
ethnic and racial minority situation of unusual complexity in the USA.
The country has historically developed in a cruel process of subduing
and annihilating large parts of the native population, to the biggest
part Indians. Contemporary Native Americans have a unique
relationship with the United States: They may have completely
assimilated or not; they may be members of nations, tribes, or bands
with formal sovereignty and treaty.
Also the status of black people in the USA is partly still precarious:
After phenomenons near to slavery such as racial segregation and
other forms of discrimination have been overcome not earlier than the
1960s, also nowadays distinct phenomenons of racism are given in
some areas of the USA. So a justice report found systematic
discrimination against African-Americans in Ferguson in the year
A stream of formally illegal immigration from Mexico and Carribean
States to the USA has induced both new economic chances for the
immigrants and existential problems, criminality, and low acceptance
in parts of the US population. With Donald Trump’s electoral victory,
undifferentiated security strategies of kicking out illegal Mexicans and
other people have been propagated. Additionally Trump has sined a
ban of immigrants and even tourists from 6 prevailingly Muslim
Trump’s announced programs of denaturalizing millions of illegal
Mexicans and other immigrants stands for a sharp turn against
equalization strategies. Trump’s motto Make America Great Again
obviously implies a program of striving for a White Race America
according to racial patterns of former times. That’s why the general
respect of equality and freedom for everybody in the States has gone
down during Trump’s campain and hitherto happened presidency.
Indeed, the currently growing resistance against Trump’s policies and
government might lead to a counter-movement.
Score: All Citizens Respected as Free and Equal: 60 %
2. Are there fair and free procedures?
A well formulated constitution gong back until the 18th century, a long
history of political elections, usually fair procedures of examination in
schools and universities, and free accessible sports constitute the
dominating self-concept of fair procedures in the USA. Also the
separation of powers exhibits a remarkable stability and capability to
resist against undemocratic offenses by president Trump and his
entourage - both at the state level and the local level. Thus President
Trump’s obviously unequal ban of immigration for six countries with
prevailingly Muslim populationhas been institutionally blocked so far.
Nevertheless fair and free procedures cannot be ascertained as a
generaly given in the USA because of some reasons:
The National Security Agency (NSA) and other secret services
obviously get information about everybody without any respect of any
law or democratic requirement of informational autonomy.
Based on the US electional system (with high significance of private
financiers), strong lobbyism practically falses formally fair procedures
to a distinct degree - see particularly weapons policy, warfare exports,
financial and bank policy,, energy policy, food and agricultural policy.
The US show an international image of fighting against corruption in a
distinguished degree and professionality - see for instance anti-
corruption activities regarding FIFA.and clear and intensive activities of
sanctioning insider-trading (stocks); nevertheless corruption keeps
being a certain part of the social, economic, political and
administrative reality in the USA. In the last years, there have been
several scandals about massive phenomenons of administrative
corruption respectively criminality. (For instance:
kartellen-bezahlen-a-1025829.html). According to the Corruption Perception
Index 2014, the USA is ranked amongst 175 countries after other OECD
countries on rank 17 (Perception of lowest corruption rank 1).
The fight against diverse mafia organizations has been pursued with
some success during the last decades. Indeed, activities of organized
crime with drug commerce, international money laundering, and
forms of criminal violence go on.
More than 350.000 mentally ill Americans are currently sitting not in
psychiatric clinics, but in prisons, where they are open mistreated.
Meanwhile Human Rights Watch (HRW) has screamed alarm: Such a
callous and cruel treating of the ill people would be an injury against
fundamental human rights.
Score: Fair and Free Procedures: 65 %
3. Are all international borders respected?
The USA was the most important country to establish the organization
and the charter of United Nations (in 1945). Chapter 1, article 2,
clauses 3 and 4 of this charter read as follow:
3. “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful
means in such a manner that international peace and security, and
justice, are not endangered.”
4. “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the
threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political
independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with
the Purposes of the United Nations” (http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml)
US foreign policy proclaims to enforce these principles. Currently see
the sanctions of the USA and other states against Russia (that has
injured Ukraine’s sovereignty) and the military fight against Islamic
State. The US role as world policeman, however, has turned out to be
highly ambivalent, with very low respect of other nations and often
ending in civil wars and terrible pity in the region - see the military US
intervention in Iraq in 2003. Also the financial and military
strengthening of the Afghan opposition including later Al-Khaida
during the 1990s, and the continuing support of Saudi-Arabia, the
main exporter of Whahabi islamistic ideology in the world, meanwhile
reveals to massively worsen the global chances of freedom and peace.
Extremely low respect of national borders is shown by the USA in its
drone policy: In a fast increasing number of countries in Middle East,
Africa and Asia (may be soon also in South America, Europe and other
parts of the world), the USA claims to have a right of deploying drones
against terrorism. This extremely asymmetric policy (with very low
own military risks, but high risks of collateral damages amongst the
population of the controlled areas) exemplarilly shows the outlined
double impact: Strengthening extremism by producing hate amongst
the people and legitimating even more military forces, in sum,
reproducing and strengthening the logic of war.
Completely missing respect of national borders has been revealed by
the USA in the Vietnam War (that pointed at preventing a communist
seizure of power in Vietnam). Agent Orange, one of the herbicides and
defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare
program, has been widely sprayed during this war from 1961 to 1971.
This mixture of two herbicides, 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, implies heavy long
term damages of health particularly of kids in Vietnam until today. It is
completely open how long these damages (monstrosities and
numerous other consequences) will go on in the future. The USA has
never officially accepted its own responsibility for these damages.
Indeed, some international policies of US authorities such as of the US
Attorney General Loretta Lynch foster the protection of human rights
and fair procedures in the world. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/27/why-fifa-is-being-prosecuted-
Score: Respect for international borders: 45%
Summed up Score: Human rights
(60+65+45): 3 = 56.67 %
1. May the people elect and recall their government?
The election of the President and the Vice President of the United
States is an indirect vote in which citizens cast ballots for a slate of
members of the U.S. Electoral College; these electors in turn directly
elect the President and Vice President. Presidential elections occur
quadrennially. The nomination process, including the primary elections
and the nominating conventions, is also an indirect election process,
where voters cast ballots for a slate of delegates to a political party's
nominating convention, who then in turn elect their party's
In all states, governors are elected by the people in statewide
elections. Once a governor's term has expired, he or she has to run for
re-election, and will sometimes face opponents from his or her own
party. That election is called a primary. Voters across the state typically
register with one party or another then cast their vote for the
candidate who will run as a Republican, Democrat or an Independent.
Governors serve for four years once elected (Vermont and New
Hampshire: two-year terms). In 38 states, governors are limited to two
The spectrum of candidates in that election procedures is, indeed, very
limited because of a fundamental deficit: The candidates have to bring
up the financial and organizational means for their campaines
privately. That’s why only rich candidates and candidates able to
mobilize capital for them have a chance to overcome the primaries
both on the Governor level as well as on the presidential level. The
resulting dependency of candidates on (big) business implies
particularly big influence of economic actors and mighty lobbies on the
US American political processs.
Score: Electing and recalling governments by the people: 80%
2. May the people participate in current decision-making?
There is no instrument of direct democracy at federal level in the USA.
That constitutes a fundamental democracy deficit, particularly against
the background of a practical prevalence of rich actors and powerful
lobbies in the political process.
At the state level and above all at the town (communal) level, in
contrast, there is a vital history of direct democracy that dates from
the 1630s in the New England Colonies. Many New England towns still
carry on that tradition in the form of open town meetings. There are
many examples of Initiatives and referendums at the state
level.Indeed, over 60% of initiative activity has occurred in Arizona,
California, Colorado, North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington, states
that generally have lesser signature requirements than other states.
Free political communication, indeed, is guaranteed by constitution
(freedom of opinion, freedom of association, freedom of press a.s.f.).
Also in practice, a broad spectrum of opinions is published. Indeed,
there have been going on two contradictional processes:
a) Policy making is professionally managed - leading to a far-reaching
exclusion of the average people from current political process;
b) The internet as influential basis of politically relevant information
and communication has been massively rising - opening up new
opportunities of expressing and publishing one’s ones’ opinions for the
Altogether there are limited opportunities of participating in current
decision-making at national level, while there is a better record at sub-
national levels .
Score: Participation in current decision-making: 60%
3. How representative are the people’s representations?
The US American electoral system, that goes back around 250 years,
implies fundamental lacks of representativity:
It’s true, many private citizens run for mandates; but since the
costs to run a campaign are so high, mandatory seats are
practically reserved for people with lots of money and
There are buerocratic obstacles to participating in “general”
elections - such as a specific obligation of electoral registration
(that excludes parts of population that do not want to be
registered). The practical organization of elections is often so
poor that voters has to wait for many hours.
About 2.5% of adult population is not allowed to vote because of
running or past charges (with an overproportional percentage of
poor and coloured people).
Voter turnout in the USA is low (not seldom lower than 50%),
particularly regarding poor and coloured people.
The Electoral College system of the USA is a distinct majority
voting system that demotivates minority voters because they
have almost no chance to bring a candidate to Congress.
Beyond, the system ist distinctly unrepresentative because the
numbers of available seats do not strictly correspond with the
numbers of population. While in large districts such as California
about 600.000 people refer to one presidential elector, in the
smalles states less than the half is necessary to get an elector.
Accordingly, the social and ethnical representativity of the political US
System is low: Relatively rich white men are clearly over-represented
towards poor, coloured people and women.
Score: Representativity of Congress and Government: 60%
Summed up Score: Participation
(80+60+60): 3 = 66.67%
1. Is there guaranteed peace?
Currently no civil war is going on in the USA, and terrorism
is sofar under control. That’s why the country exhibits low
rates of violent deaths, compared to Syria, Ukraine, and
other countries suffering from wars. In longitudinal
comparison, the rates of violent crime in the USA have
decreased since its peaks during the first years of the
In comparison to other OECD countries, indeed, the USA
still shows exorbitantly high rates of intentional
homicides: While the EU countries exhibit rates of
homicide between 0.3 and 2.5 per 100.000 inhabitants,
the USA exhibited a rate of 5,0 in 2013, that is the double
up to 17fold incidence of the European spectrum.
Regarding other indicators of violent crime (with diverse
statistical issues of comparison), the differences are not as
distinct; but US internal statistics show for the year 2013
almost 368 violent crimes on 100.000 inhabitants in the
USA, an exorbitant high value. Those records for all USA
comprehend outstanding high values for the Southern
States, particularly Columbia, and exceedingly high
numbers in certain US American towns, such as Baltimore
Hence the issue of guaranteed peace appears to be
precarious concerning the USA, particularly concerning its
Southern States and certain US American towns. This
insufficient situation does not correspond with missing or
even lacking efforts to produce public safety. In the
contrary, diverse police institutions and secret services,
that claim a disctinct part of given public funds and that
do have partly exceedingly big power, are operating in the
Also the legal situation is not characterized by missing
opportunities to act for public safety institutions and
organizations. So the USA PATRIOT ACT from 2001, that
stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing
Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct
Terrorism, 2011 has been extended by President Obama
for four years regarding three key provisions (roving
wiretaps, searches of business records, and conducting
surveillance of individuals suspected of terrorist-related
activities not linked to terrorist groups).
This background might be one factor to influence the
exorbitantly high punitivity ratio of the USA: The country
exhibits with 1.47% of its population the internationally by
far biggest percentage of sentenced incarcerated
persons/Persons convicted (next lower rate: Mexico:
0.93%), compared with Norway: 0,22%, Germany: 0,07%,
Finland: 0,015%. http://www.civitas.org.uk/crime/crime_stats_oecdjan2012.pdf
Additionally two other significant factors have to be taken
The relatively big significance of private security
companies and detective agencies in the USA
Gun rights activism: Gun control and gun rights activists
often disagree on the interpretation of laws and court
cases related to firearms as well as about the effects of
gun control on crime and public safety. Gun rights
supporters promote firearms for self-defense, hunting,
sporting activities, and security against tyranny. This
perennial argumentation is confronted with an
increasingly routinized acceptance of war-like behavior by
lonely woolfs on the one side, and police on the other.
All in all, peace is only prevailingly guaranteed in the USA.
Score: Guaranteed peace: 60%
2. Is the public infrastructure sufficiently fostered?
While the roads in many parts of the country are well
kept, and the access to the Internet is internationally
competible, the US American infrastructure in general is
not in best shape. Under some aspects, such as electricity
cross country lines, it comes near to a low developed
A recent comment on that goes: While the U.S. benefits
greatly from the sheer size of its economy, excellent
universities, flexible labor markets, and innovative
businesses, it's falling behind on the overall quality of
infrastructure. The U.S. ranked 25 in this category, falling
behind countries like Saudi Arabia, Spain, and South
Score: Fostering Infrastructure: 64%
3. Is the economy well coordinated?
Compared to the presidency of George W. Bush, the
Obama administration has coordinated the economy very
well. So meanwhile joblessness has massively decreased,
and the US Dollar has come up again. In spite of these
efforts and performances, there are still fundamental
problems, above all the extremely high public debt (with
the main creditor China).
Score: Economic Coordination: 80%
4. How equal are incomes distributed?
The USA shows a middle-range value for income equality
in international comparison. So the World Banks registers
a GINI value of 41.1 for the USA in the year 2010 (2007
still 45%/Germany 30.6)
File:2014 Gini Index World Map, income inequality distribution by country per
Score: Income Equality: 60%
5. Is health effectively protected?
The US American health system shows a middle range
value of effectiveness and efficiency. Also the life
expectancy scores of the UN show middle range values
amongst other developed countries (place 38 for men,
place 42 for women out of 200 countries).
Score: Health Protection: 75%
6. Are qualification and education, research &
development forward-looking managed?
Educational ranking is a debated issue because of
different leading values of different educational systems.
The United States has registered with a cognitive skills and
educational attainment score of 0.39, which makes the
United States rank fourteenth out of forty countries
ranked in that category. The top ten countries (and their
scores) are: South Korea (1.30), Japan (1.03), Singapore
(0.99), Hong Kong (0.96), Finland (0.92), United Kingdom
(0.67), Canada (0.60), Netherlands (0.58), Ireland (0.51),
Poland (0.50) https://rankingamerica.wordpress.com/category/education/
In contrast, some U.S. universities, such as Harvard,
Stanford, or MIT, usually rank as top universities in the
world. http://www.shanghairanking.com/ Also the nobel prices in natural
sciences prevailingly go to researchers from the USA
Score: Education, Research & Development: 88%
7. Ecological and financial sustainability
The USA invented the institution of protected national
parks. But after the decade from the early 1960s to the
early 1970, wherein the USA played the role of an
environmental pioneer, the country lost its leading role in
environmental affairs. Meanwhile the USA, particularly
California, has announced to come back as a leading
country of ecological sustainability, such as in fighting
against climate change; but its ecological footprint is
exorbitantly huge in many regard. And the massive use of
the fracking technique to open deep layers of gas for
usage is even more worsening the US American ecological
Also the US American record in terms of financial
sustainability is verly low. Until 2011, the USA exhibited a
dramatic increase of public debt.
Score: Ecological and financial Sustainability: 40%
Summed up Score: Coordination
(60+64+85+60+75+88+40): 7 = 67.4%
All Scores (USA)
Human rights: 56.67 %
Participation: 66.67 %
Coordination : 67.4%
The USA makes up a handicapped
democracy under autocratic pressure
Institute for Political Analysis
Prof. Dr. Volker von Prittwitz
The People Index
United States of America
A handicapped democracy
under autocratic pressure