This piece from a Columbia U. professor eloquently argues that national democracies are under assault from global capital.
This is a basic description of the electoral field and the projected situation. But what is especially important is the broader social and historical context of these elections. The collapse of credibility in the entire political system underlies the essential paradox of these elections: a bankrupt country, whose population is profoundly disaffected with the political system, gathers to exercise its democratic right to elect officials that are to preside over a national terrain that has effectively lost its sovereignty.
We are witnessing a dramatic articulation of the essential contradiction between democracy and capitalism. More than ever, this is the essential political problem of our times. While the nation-state still remains the requisite form of society's self-determination, the pillar of integrity of the nation-form since the advent of modernity - namely, national economy - is now thoroughly dismantled by the dynamics of a globalised economy that could care less about national boundaries, cultural particularities, social histories, or even more, societies themselves as self-recognised collectives of real men and women whose very conditions of life are at stake.
The idea is that when governments are beholden to the exigent demands of global capitalists (as when our government cowers in the face of those who would otherwise lend to us), then politics becomes debased to such an extent that people go to the voting booths to elect representatives who have no power to effectively fight for the well-being of those they represent. Soon enough, the national ethos becomes so muddled and confused that people can't even figure out what they are voting for, since there is no effective representation of their wishes. In a desperate attempt to assert themselves democratically, people gravitate toward all sorts of debased ideologies and political parties simply because there is a vacuum of power and possibility at the top. In such times, the parties of hatred take hold of the nation.
The writer diagnosis that it's not so much politicians who lead the voters down this dead-end street, but rather it's the capture of the national economy which gives rise to hateful politicians.
Essentially, he argues that democracy is for now one grand puppet show. The key battle is in disentangling ourselves from those who have captured our national economy. Ironically, this is maybe the one thing the vast majority of voters can all agree on.