America no longer bastion of democracy

Donald Trump supporters

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces, as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021.

Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski | AFP

Ever since the November 3, 2020 US elections, in which the country’s 45th president, Donald Trump, lost to his predecessor Barack Obama’s vice-president Joe Biden, the world has been treated to not-so-comical, uncanny theatrics, typified by Mr Trump’s peculiar disdain for democracy and the truth.

Not only has Mr Trump and his supporters claimed, without evidence, that the election was stolen, but also tried to armtwist US systems to overturn its results.

In the weeks following the election late last year, his team mounted an unsuccessful legal bid to have the results, especially in the crucial states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Virginia, overturned.

It didn’t help that during his four-year term, Mr Trump had appointed three conservative justices to the US Supreme Court. The country’s top court, like all others in the various states across the country where his team challenged the results, including in Pennsylvania and Texas, where he had won, found no merit in his claims of voter fraud.

Then, Mr Trump said that he would concede defeat and accept that he had lost if the Electoral College, the country’s fabled system that has decided who becomes president since 1787, said he did.

The Electoral College confirmed Joe Biden as the country’s next president mid last month. Mr Trump still was not satisfied.
In the final days of last year, revelations emerged of his suggestion and wish to use the US military to try and force a re-run of the election across the country.

And on Wednesday this week, as the US Congress convened to certify Biden’s win amid preparation for his inauguration on January 20, a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol building, smashing windows, stealing and trifling with stuff, including the podium and computers in the Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosy’s office, while Trump kept up his charge that an election had been stolen from him and Americans.

The turn of events in America, slightly before and since Trump’s unprecedented claims and refusal to concede defeat, takes away from her standing as the global citadel of democracy. America has never been so divided, not even during the Civil War of 1861-65.

The pro-Trump mob’s actions on Wednesday are unprecedented. Not since the War of 1812, during which the British Army destroyed the White House, has a group tried to threaten the integrity of a US government installation in Washington DC.

Trump’s and his supporters’ refusal to accept defeat in a country that prides herself in the strength of systems and democracy, makes nonsense of Washington’s homilies to the rest of world on matters elections and democracy. 

It will take years, even decades, to undo the damage his rise to power has done to America, her people and institutions.

Mulang’o Baraza, Nairobi


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