Democratic deficit exists when democratic institutions within a county do not meet the expectations of the masses. There are different factors that affect democratic deficits. One of such factors is cultural variables which influence the manner in which citizens perceive the institutions of the nation.
Culture has a role on the contrast of the trust levels regarding political institutions in the US and UK. Culture influences the attitude that citizens have towards the government and its institutions. One of the features of American culture is the struggle by individuals to attain their American dream. This has made many people work hard in order to achieve a good life, drive good car and live in an affluent neighborhood. However, most people have not been able to attain their American dream due to one reason or another. This has been blamed on the government institutions not providing the environment for attainment of such dreams (Norris 24). This is different from the UK where citizens are not competitive. On the other hand, UK does not have a very competitive culture since the concept of the American dream is not ingrained within the UK culture. Much as citizens are frustrated by lack of jobs, the level of dissatisfaction with the government in the UK is relatively lower when compared to the US.
The other feature of America’s life is war against terror. This was occasioned mainly after the 9/11 attacks in which lives and properties were lost. While implementing the war on terror, the US has been seen to be profiling Muslims and targeting them for arrests and prosecutions. President Trump has even said that he will block immigrants from some countries due to threat of terrorism. The profiling of Muslims has made them lose trust and confidence in the democratic institutions of the nation. The Muslims believe that these institutions work collaboratively to infringe on their rights. This can be coupled with the media and internet culture in the two nations. Both America and UK have high levels of internet and media penetration. However, America has been blamed for spying on its citizens in an attempt to fight terrorism. This has resulted in the government losing credibility and trust of citizens because by doing so, the government acts against the right of information privacy. This is different from the UK which though is in the war against global terror has not experienced the same levels of citizen distrust to the government (Dawood 920). The US has also suffered credibility crisis on the police due to the manner in which police have handled demonstrators. For example, there are many instances when members of the black community have demonstrated against harassment by the police, they have been met with teargas among other forms of police violence and brutality.
The UK has also experienced the same manner of demonstrations even though the demonstrators have not been met with the same amount of force. This is not to mean that the UK people do not have a negative attitude towards the government. The people of UK have wanted to express themselves more and this explains why there are many political parties in the UK when compared to the US. When the government did not consider the opinion of the masses when the issue of the Brexit was being addressed, the government suffered a humiliating defeat at the referendum. This is because the UK people had lost trust in government institutions and did not want a continued stay in the European Union because of the belief that this was not safeguarding their interests.
- Dawood, Yasmin. Panel V: What Can we Learn from Other Nations’ Experiences: Democratic Dysfunction and Constitutional Design. Boston University Law Review, vol. 94, pp. 913-937.
- Norris, Pippa. The Democratic Deficit: Canada and the United States in Comparative Perspective. In Lenard, Patti T., and Simeon, Richard (Eds). Imperfect Democracies: The Democratic Deficit in Canada and the United States. British Columbia: University of British Columbia Press, 2012.