By the end of the Bush administration and into the Obama one, the US was experiencing its worst socioeconomic polarization since the Gilded Age, with the number of billionaires and millionaires owing most of the wealth, the number of poor rising and the middle class shrinking rapidly. According to the Sadoff Investment Research Group, “the top one percent of wage-earning households in the US were reaping in around $1,264,065 in 2012 — or around 41-times as much as the average income for all wage-earners, who pulled in a comparable meager mean income of $30,997 that year.”
Socioeconomic inequality translates into political apathy and cynicism, undermining democracy and its institutions that increasingly cater to the elites. The poor not just in the US, but in general have very low participation in the political process, proving that electoral politics in practice is indeed for the middle class and the economically active working class. The argument that democracy works as long as capitalism does is indeed false because it assumes a strong middle class and not socioeconomic polarization. If the poor remain inactive in the process because they are disillusioned, they will eventually rise against the oppressive system that can call itself anything it likes but in reality it is a form of tyranny.
Continued socioeconomic inequality and low political participation by the lower strata of society will undermine bourgeois democracy in the 21st century, but it may take place in conjunction with developments in the domain of foreign affairs. Along with the decline of US economic power there is the decline of democracy as evidenced in low participation, high level of cynicism about politics, and a two-party system serving the same socioeconomic elites whose narrow interests are largely responsible for the transition of power to Asia.