Law and Society Blog

The US election and the danger it holds on global democracy


Tuesday, November 3rd will go down in history as a day that confirmed the feared danger inherent in a democracy that has survived two centuries as it further exposed how vulnerable it is when president Trump went against the norm of conceding defeat nor calling his political opponent Joe Biden to congratulate him on his victory at the polls. A tradition that has stood for more than 100 years, dating back to Jennings Bryan when he sent his opponent, William McKinley two days after election in 1896. His message of concession was short and simple as he said ‘Senator Jones just informed me that the returns indicate your election, and I hasten to extend my congratulation’. These message by William Bryan marked in history as the first public concession in a US election and since then the tradition has continued. Although, it took other forms. For instance, in 1928, Al Smith gave a first radio concession after losing to Herbert Hoover. Whereas in 1940 Wendell Willkei conceded to Franklin D. Roosevelt on television, While Adlai Stevenson gave a concession on live television just to mention a few, and this tradition has continued till date and so far there has been 32 concession speeches over the past 120 years.      

Consequently, President Trump continued with the rhetoric of election fraud and massive dumps. His statement massively taken to heart by the far right media, huge supporters, party loyalist and the majority of the Republican party members. He insisted that it was stolen that Biden never won. More so, Trump continued this claims that the voting software were used in the states where tens of thousands of votes were stolen from him and given to Biden. He went further to repeat same claims in a tweet, in his words that the Dominion Voting System is “horrible, inaccurate and anything but secured”. However, these tweets were flagged by Twitter to be misleading as it was disputed by Twitter based on facts available from the Department of Homeland Security that refutes the disinformation and misinformation about the accuracy of the election results. Categorically stating that the election result is accurate because the system ensures and protect against malicious software, as it also help identify and correct any form of irregularities making it almost impossible to hack or maneuver votes for any candidate regardless of party or any sort of affiliation. Capitol

Furthermore, professor Susan Neiman believes as she points out that Trump cares about his materialistic self interest in her view Trump remains a fascist and uses fascist tactics such as putting out conspiracy theories into the world, he constantly calls out the press as being fake and spreading lies, uses the judiciary for his own private legal counsel, using the police men against people demonstrating peacefully and openly calling the Nazi ‘very good people’. All these represent the extent Trump has dragged the American democracy, norms and politics to the mud and shows no regret or remorse for his actions and this has been seen as the narrative that has led American society especially the so called white supremacist.

The Trump administration has indeed shown the deep polarized system of the American polity between the extreme right wing and the liberal left, between the white supremacy and the call for the equality of people of colour (The black lives matter movement). It has further shown the division between religion and party line. Under the Trump era all the norm the US holds dearly and considers sacrosanct, that has made it the leader of the free world and a crusader of democratic principle and institutions is seen trampled by a leader whose disposition is a far cry from being democratic. Will US rise to take back its place in the committee of democratic nations? Will the administration of the 46th president led by Biden and Harris salvage what is left of the sanctity of democratic leadership? Will the immediate actions of Biden redeem the truncated relationship of NATO, EU and other alliances that Trump created? Will the world still trust the US to be the leader of the free world ready to defend it after letting it down? How will Biden address the issues of systemic racism and the so called white privilege that has exposed the racial segregation inherent in the country through the Black live mater movement and the insurrection at the capitol? All these are questions thirsty of sincere answers through actions and stronger policies. All fingers are crossed as local and international observers especially western democracies that look up to US as a beacon of light and hope to see what the future holds for the internal politics of a nation that has a firm grip in global politics.