¿De dónde viene la desconfianza en el gobierno?

The Monkey Cage se hace esta crucial pregunta: “Why don’t Americans trust the government?” La respuesta viene en la forma de una simple pero reveladora observación: “because the other party is in power”. Que es otra forma de decir que no confiamos (y deslegitimamos) a aquellos con ideas distintas a las nuestras. Una clave fundamental para comprender el fenómeno que Francis Fukuyama ha bautizado como “vetocracia”. Es decir, sistemas democráticos avanzados paralizados por el poder de veto que tiene una ingente cantidad de actores que han encontrado la fórmula para defender el statu quo desde el bloqueo de sus instituciones.

El punto clave de la observación en The Monkey Cage está contenida en estos tres párrafos:

We offer a way to make sense of this discrepancy between our representatives and those they represent. We argue that polarization does exist in the electorate, but also contend that it is not ideological in nature. That polarization in the electorate is not ideological makes sense because 60 years of research suggests that most Americans do not think about politics ideologically. Instead, we uncover increasingly and deeply sour feelings that partisans now have about the other political party. A consequence of these negative feelings is vanishingly low trust in government when their party is out of power. As a result, public consensus rarely if ever develops on issues, and public opinion fails to nudge policymakers toward compromise.

We believe the absence of trust in government when run by the other party is a key reason why a public that is not ideologically polarized nonetheless tolerates the ideological excesses that are occurring in Washington. With little to no trust in government, Republicans in the electorate are not keen to nudge their representatives toward compromise when Democrats are in power. The same was true of Democrats at the end of the Bush presidency, when it was they who fundamentally lacked trust.

It is not that partisans love their own side’s ideas. Instead, they now deeply distrust their opponents’. As a consequence, public opinion does not encourage polarized politicians to rise above their basest instincts. Although public opinion did not create the polarization that has caused Washington to grind to a halt, it now reinforces it.

La entrada completa se puede leer aquí.

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