"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
By Fareed Zakaria
We are watching a season of discontent in the world of young democracies, from Egypt to Turkey to Brazil. Protests, marches, and of course, one coup. As we watch the turbulence around the globe I think about our own democratic journey and how interesting it is that the distinctive feature of the American system is not how democratic it is but rather how undemocratic it is.
Hear me out. We have three co-equal branches of government and on the one with the final say on many issues, the Supreme Court, is composed of 9 unelected men and women. The American senate is the most unrepresentative upper house in the democratic universe, with the exception of Britain's House of Lords, which is of course utterly powerless. California's 38 million people have the same representation in the senate as do Wyoming's 576,000. State and local governments battle federal power. Private businesses and other nongovernmental groups, are also part of this mix.
For more on this, read my essay, "The Rise of Illiberal Democracy."