Recent Scandals show Flaws within our Democracy

Ted Cruz wearing a Texas flag mask after returning from Cancún, Mexico. 

Two prominent politicians, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, were involved in major scandals over the past week on both sides of the political spectrum. Both received major criticism due to their recent actions that led to outrage in their respective states. This brings up a huge problem, as our political climate allows partisanship to thrive, not permitting fair elections while giving these flawed politicians power.

Texas’ recent snowstorm wreaked havoc as many lives were altered in terrible ways. The state simply did not have the infrastructure to deal with such extreme weather conditions, and many citizens could have benefitted from the help of their elected officials. Instead, Cruz fled to Cancún in the midst of the disaster, leaving countless citizens to suffer. 

Along the same vein, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York had great trouble containing the virus, having some of the highest numbers in the country. With this, measures needed to be taken to stop the spread, with Governor Cuomo leading the charge that saw numbers decrease drastically. 

However, a large portion of his strategies involved decreasing funding to certain hospitals and nursing homes that could not handle the influx of patients. This doomed many older COVID-19 victims to die. He then concealed the number of true deaths at these institutions, as per the New York Post. 

How are these people even elected into office? The problem lies within partisanship. Due to the highly polarized political climate in the United States, voters are increasingly voting based on the political party of their state, rather than on policy or on the politician’s track record. 

New York and Texas fall victim to this partisanship, as the majority of their politicians are Democratic or Republican, respectively, creating this issue we see in Cuomo and Cruz. This is extremely dangerous because unqualified people are given massive amounts of power and subsequently fail to handle issues their states face. 

Instead of voting strictly along party lines, voters should educate themselves on each politician before voting. Of course, this is an idealistic view and is unlikely to ever be a reality of American voter behavior.  

The true danger lies in the fact that these people hold office for extensive periods of time despite constant failure to perform well politically. Many are calling for Cruz and Cuomo’s removal from office, but this will not happen. Even though they are directly responsible for the deaths of many people in their states and were both subjects of controversy in the past, they still have the unconditional support from their political parties. 

Political parties would rather hold the power than do the right thing. This is simply undemocratic, as the system seems to only allow for one political party to thrive. These places also happen to be some of the most populated states in the country, including New York, Texas, California and various states in the northeast or deep south. The majority of people in our country abide by these flawed rules, showing glaring issues in our “democracy.”

People have to be more conscious of who they are voting for. They need to understand that it is acceptable to support a candidate from a differing political party. They have to understand that representatives of their chosen political party are not always in the right. 

This is starting to be more commonplace, thankfully, with recent Marist poll results showing that Cuomo took a large hit on his approval rating from New Yorkers, and a fourth term is looking less likely for him. Another example of this is former President Donald Trump, who was voted out of office after only serving one extremely controversial term. 

At the same time, we can glaringly see the alarming effects of partisanship based on these recent events from this early year. If this pattern continues, politicians who think it is acceptable to leave for vacation during a crisis in their state will still be elected. There will continue to be politicians who set up the deaths of many citizens to decrease numbers of COVID-19 cases. And, there will continue to be politicians who stage an insurrection on the Capitol while leading their blind supporters. None of this will change if our democracy continues to be a battle between factions.