Is Trump a threat to democracy?
FROM FAR AND NEAR - Ruben Almendras (The Freeman) - August 25, 2020 - 12:00am

The Democrat party in the US had their four-day virtual convention to proclaim Biden as their candidate for president, and Harris as vice president in the coming November election. The Republican Party will have their convention this week to proclaim Trump and Pence as their candidates for the positions. What’s unusual about these conventions is the absence of large crowds in the convention halls as they are held virtually online, beamed all over the US and to the world via the various social media due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The only crowds in the Democrats convention were outside the convention hall; they were in their cars and cheered the candidates in their proclamation.

Another significant happening in the coming US election is the enormous interest of people not just in the US but in the whole world in this election, because of its implications and messaging to the concepts and ideals of democratic governments and democracy to governments and people all over the world. Half of the countries all over the world are in some form of democracy, and the US is the leading and one of the largest democratic governments that have lasted for 200 years. Populist governments that have authoritarian tendencies have been on the rise in the last decade, eroding some democratic advances in many nations. This includes the US with the campaign and election of Trump in 2016 and his governance style in the last four years.

Trump’s 2016 campaign was riddled with alliances with Russian and other authoritarian characters and less-than-savory local politicians who are extremists to the right. The campaign also made use of unsupported allegations or fake news, including dubious conspiracy theories that pandered to a core group. The campaign had no qualms about using pressure tactics with money and influence to push their agenda. While Trump lost in the popular vote by over three million. He won in the electoral college votes and was elected, but still claimed that he was cheated in the popular vote.

As president, Trump had issued executive orders that encroached on the powers of the Congress and Senate, and on the prerogatives of governors and state legislators. He opposed investigations on his actions and claimed immunity from suits as president. He refused to release his tax and financial records as a candidate and as president. His unilateral foreign policy decisions without consultations with Congress and the free world allies alienated the US from most post-war allies in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In 2019, he was impeached by Congress on charges of abuse of authority and obstruction of justice but was not convicted by a Republican-controlled Senate.

As a person, true to his upbringing and his business practices, he was a one-man rule. He was loyal to his unquestioning supporters but quick to disown them when they became a liability. He fired cabinet officials who displeased him and pardoned some dubious allies who had been indicted. In the current pandemic, he refuses to take responsibility for the dismal response of the US government to the health and economic problems, and twitted an unfounded conspiracy that the “deep state” is preventing the early development of a vaccine to sabotage his re-election.

Obama, in his convention speech, asserted that Trump is a threat to American Democracy with his actions. Is he also a threat to democracy in the whole World? My take is that he is not, because he has actually galvanized opposition to his kind of leadership not only in the US but also in the world. Never have the Democrats in the US more united than in this coming election. Some of the Republicans who believed in the US democracy are even supporting Biden. Trump has awakened and activated the obvious and latent democratic forces in the world to move and contain his anti-democratic governance. Truth, justice and liberty matter.

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