The System is Broken

Ian Mitroff
3 min readApr 16, 2024

To Save His Re-Election, Biden Needs to Acknowledge It

I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. You can “follow” me to never miss an article.

In a long Op-Ed, Damon Linker makes a powerful case that Voters know that the System is Broken, but that it’s nearly impossible for President Biden to admit it[i]. Even though it’s precisely what Biden needs to do to get Voters on his side, he’s literally hindered by all of his significant accomplishments and his long History of serving successfully in Government. Indeed, he lists his accomplishments again and again in responding to the low opinion of Voters. But it only backfires because Voters conclude that he isn’t truly listening to them.

As Mr. Linker puts it so well:

“[There’s been] an awful lot of failure over the past 20-odd years [ruinous Wars, Financial crises, a deadly Pandemic]. Yet for the most part, the people who run our institutions have done very little to acknowledge or take responsibility for any of it, let alone undertake changes that aim to fix what’s broken. That’s no doubt why angry anti-establishment populism has become so prominent in our politics…

“Mr. Biden has never been [an angry] Politician. Most of the time he speaks and acts as if he thinks American institutions are doing perfectly fine — at least as long as Mr. Trump doesn’t get his hands on them…

“Then there’s the fact that Mr. Biden has worked within our elected institutions since the Nixon administration, making him deeply invested in them (and implicated in their failures). Finally, as a Democrat who came of age during the heyday of mid-20th century liberalism, Mr. Biden is wedded on the idea of using a functional, competent and capable federal government to improve people’s lives — whether or not more recent history validates that faith.”

The question of course is what Biden can do to get a grip on things that are not going his way. Without abandoning his life-long commitment to Government Institutions like Medi-Care that contrary to the beliefs of many that have them enormously, he has to admit that the System as a whole is broken. He has to present himself as the Reform Candidate who will undertake to fix what’s wrong.

As Mr. Liker also acknowledges, there’s no great for the G.O.P. with its obsession on cutting Entitlement Programs. And, not to mentions Trump’s utter recklessness and endless personal grievances.

Fixing Institutions not eliminating them is the Word.

It’s nothing less than Tragic that Systems have to reach the point where far too many feel they’re broken before it’s even acknowledged let alone serious attempts are undertaken to fix them.

But then, we live in a World that’s far from Rational. Indeed, in recent years, it’s more become Irrational.

[i] Damon Linker, “Voters Know Our System Is Broken,” The New York Times, Sunday, April 14, 2024, P SR 4.

Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He Is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid, Springer, New York, 2022.

Photo credit: Maryland GovPics/