American democracy wasn't functioning well for many Americans before this election. Sure, it's working well as it was designed by our all-white, all-male founding fathers — to protect white political power — but it's still failing Black and brown people.
Besides, focusing narrowly on individual instances of discrimination often leaves in place workplace policies and the power structures that perpetuate systemic discrimination against Black and brown communities in particular.
COVID-19 has exposed longstanding racial and economic inequalities in American life, which is evident in the fact that communities of color are being hit the hardest by both the medical and the economic impacts of the virus.
"This will have serious consequences for staff morale at the justice department, for the credibility of justice department attorneys in court, and for the public’s sense that the justice system is fair."
In 2020, a different group of grassroots outsiders increasingly is setting the terms of debate on the left. They are being led by black and brown people, young people, women, immigrants and working people—often outside the control of the traditional gatekeepers of American politics.
The crisis of American democracy is a deeper, more chronic one arising from systemic racial and gender exclusion, entrenched economic inequality, and technological and ecological transformations that undermine dreams of collective action and inclusive shared self-governance.
Today’s Supreme Court decision that federal courts have no ability to check extreme partisan gerrymandering is a stunning blow to our democracy. This decision represents an abdication of judicial responsibility to protect against constitutional violations.
The counter to this neoliberal vision involves, then, a more thorough moral critique—and a more transformative policy agenda—that tackles the underlying forces of corporate power, market inequities, structural racism, and anti-democratic political institutions. That progressives are finally talking in these expansive terms represents a potentially transformative inflection point in American politics.