AMERICA'S DEMOCRACY

Ever since the World War ended, the West led by the United States has been trying to convert the known world into a democracy where ordinary folks would collectively choose their leader(s) and show him/her the door as they please. Doing things through a collective will represented by a majority is the basis of a democratic order. In a given interval determined through a Constitution they validate their leaders. For the democratic order to run smoothly, participants in the election process must be willing to give up when they fail to gain a majority vote. Without such willingness the process breaks down. Even strong, powerful countries can face difficult challenges in such a situation.

In the United States right after the last presidential election such a scenario has taken place. With 77 million votes received, former vice-president Joe Biden and his running-mate Kamala Harris received 7 million more popular votes than Donald Trump, their opponent and the President of the United States. They also received 306 Electoral College votes to Trump's 232. However, Donald Trump thinks that votes have been stolen from him. That is why he asked for judicial intervention in many states to right the wrong. But his lawyers have been unable to prove their client's suspicion. As a result, the Trump initiated Court cases have been thrown out one by one. Donald Trump was the standard bearer of the Republican Party. Even if he lost, Republican Senators and Congress men/women returned to their seats. It shows that voters just did not want a second term for Donald Trump. Enough was enough. On the other hand the Democratic Party had expected to win big. It had thought that months long demonstrations on the streets and a specter of coronavirus throughout the country would make Americans angry with the Republicans. That did not happen. Democrats lost 15 members at the House of Representatives. The Senate still remains in the hands of the Republicans. Even if Joe Biden received seven million more votes and 74 more delegates the Democrats still bore loss. This sort of split voting shows that voters knew what they were doing and whom they wanted and whom they did not. At various state levels Democrats, according to Party chair Tom Perez, gained ground by increasing the number of democratic governors, mayors and legislative bodies. In a sense the election was a cleansing process and each Party got benefits out of it.

Donald Trump is challenging his defeat. Although others see his defeat as obvious, he refuses to see their way. Many support him. In a way Trump and his team raise suspicion against the election process of the United States. He had said before the election that if the election is not rigged he will win and that if he does not win, he would not accept the result. He was mum about the “peaceful transfer of power.” Now, he wants to make good on his declaration. When Mitt Romney ran against Barrack Obama in 2012 he lost by 5 million votes. Nobody heard him say “foul play.” In 2016 Hillary Clinton lost Pennsylvania to Trump by 4000 votes and fell short in delegates in spite of winning millions more votes countrywide. She did not resist. That is why Trump's current behavior is baffling.

There is a strong belief among thoughtful Americans that the process will take care of itself in spite of Trump's temper tantrum. In the meantime, enough corrosion has taken place in the system and that to rebuild it would take effort and honesty. There is a warning in this for the rest of the world: If a democratic process in America could be ruined by the American people, it could happen in any other country as well. Stronger belief in democracy seems to be the only antidote that can help save the process. But it is no panacea.


Comments on this article/book
Name  
Email(Optional)  
Comment