Joggers run past the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.

Joggers run past the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.

The federal government runs on money like a car runs on gas. When lawmakers can’t agree on where to go or which route to take, they end up driving in circles, shouting at each other.

Some parts of a car can work even without gas. But at what point do we admit our vehicle is broken down? In an op-ed in The Washington Post, British broadcaster Mehdi Hasan writes:

“Is this really what we define as democracy? Or is this, to quote the president-elect, a “rigged” system? Rigged not against Trump and the Republicans but against the poor, against ethnic minorities, against Democrats but, above all else, against basic democratic norms and principles and pretty simple notions of equality and fairness?

This isn’t a time for denial or deflection. The American political system is broken. Far from being the “world’s greatest democracy,” to quote President Obama, representative democracy in the United States seems further hollowed out with every election cycle.”

We look at what it means to have a functioning federal government and what happens to the average American when that system stops being reliable.

Guests

  • Mehdi Hasan Host, Al Jazeera English; columnist, The Intercept; @mehdirhasan
  • Elaine Kamarck Senior fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution; author of "Why Presidents Fail and How They Can Succeed Again"; @ekamarck
  • David Primo Associate professor of political science and business administration, University of Rochester; senior affiliated scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; author of "Rules and Restraint: Government Spending and the Design of Institutions"

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