Editorial Comment: Trump, fallacy of electoral democracy

Editorial Comment: Trump, fallacy of electoral democracy Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The United States of America’s November 8 presidential election is at sixes and sevens. What is happening on the campaign trail for both the Republican and Democratic parties can best be described through the African idiom: things are falling apart and the centre cannot hold.

The desire to take over from Barack Obama is revealing wide cracks that many never thought existed, for electoral violence was always associated with African countries, with the United States and its allies refereeing the process and also threatening to withhold aid and/or declaring the elections not free and fair, even before the ballots are cast.

However, by so doing, too much of their energy has been concentrated on finding twigs in other sovereign nations’ eyes, while ignoring the blinding logs in their own.

The United States also saw itself as one of the most democratic states in the world and that super democracy blinded them to the rot in their backyard. If democracy was alive in the world’s most powerful nation, why should the 2016 election process be marred by the current high levels of hate speech, violence, threats and thuggish behaviour? Why should some candidates be more superior than others, if the US ascribes to the true tenets of democracy? If the playing field is that level, why should there be spirited efforts to bar some candidates from continuing in the race?

We believe that we are not the only people raising such concerns regarding the goings-on in the US campaign trail. At the weekend the whole world witnessed some of the most violent scenes, including the cancellation of a rally in Chicago by the Republican Party’s leading contender, Mr Donald Trump.

We also questioned why this was happening in Chicago, the hometown of incumbent president Barack Obama. Was this coincidental that the anger among American voters had to burst out in Chicago, considering that Trump formally launched his bid as one of the Republican candidates on June 16, 2015?

Now, imagine if this had happened in Zimbabwe where an opposition candidate is forced to cancel his/her rally in President Mugabe’s home area due to violence? The narrative would be different? But, this is America and Barack Obama is in charge!

From the very beginning, Trump was on everybody’s case — Mexicans, Africans, the Chinese, Muslims, women and anyone he cared to deride. As we listened to Trump trashing everyone, but still amassing lots of support, we realised that something had gone seriously wrong with American politics. We are told that voters are sick and tired of the establishment, because it has not served their interests and they constitute the 99 percent of the population.

Governor Chris Christie who has since endorsed Trump last month said it on behalf of those who want him in the White House: “I’ve been on that stage. I’ve gotten to know all the people on that stage. And there is no one better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership that it needs both at home and around the world than Donald Trump.”

Even the pundits cannot explain why a candidate who abuses his freedom of speech to such levels continues to enjoy support.

This is why the international community is worried about a Donald Trump in the White House, come November 8 and chances are that he is likely going to succeed Obama considering the levels of anger in the so-called free world, because he has emerged as someone who speaks directly into those issues that have always been sugar-coated in politically correct terms.

The anti-migration sentiment in Europe is another indicator of how the geo-political sphere crafted on the “war on terror” sentiment is turning the US and its allies against the rest of the world.

Although Trump blames Bernie Sanders, the Democratic contender, for the “thugs and professional organisers” that led him to cancel his rally, the truth is that the chaos in the Republican Party is partly to blame. When Trump savaged Mexican and African migrants and later Muslims no one bothered to stop him — in both parties.

Now they want to stop him, because he is not only trampling on certain sections of the US, but because, his language and actions will strip them of allies and aspirations for world leadership.

Those are marks of double standards. Where was former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney when Trump was “phony”? Did he only realise it on March 3, when he warned Republicans that Trump could not end up as their presidential nominee?

In other words, who instigated the violence by going against the letter and spirit of the US constitution: Trump or Romney?

Now that it is public knowledge that the 2016 US presidential elections are marred with violence, will those that have spoken against Zimbabwe’s electoral system stand up and be counted, and, more specifically, when will we hear them condemning the violence in the US? Or, does the regime change funding make it difficult for them to speak out?

But the million-dollar question is: will the November 8 presidential elections be free and fair and who has that final say?

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