By Adebayo Abubakar
Apart from gifting the rest of the world, the most apt and the simplest definition of democracy (the Government of the people, by the people and for the people – Abraham Lincoln), the United States of America has been a shining model of institutionalised democratic arrangements in the world; what with, the vibrancy of its institutions.
Where do we start from?
Is it the institutional relationship between the three Arms of the government? From the Executive, to the Legislative, through the Judicial arm of the government, role specification cannot be more clearly demarcated than that.
Is it the periodicity of it election; every four year, or the electioneering process that is highly regulated in terms of how much a candidate/aspirant must not spend beyond? This is not all, as the sources from which political aspirants must not accept donations.
One of the the most enthralling aspects of the process in America is the campaign, which is always and ideally, issue-based.
We also have the presidential debate, where each of the contestants are called upon to enlighten the citizenry on his vision, and highpoints of his manifestos.
The handover date, which is set at January 20th of the year after the election year (which coincides with the year of the Olympic Games), is cast in stone; by 12pm on that day, the tenure of the incumbent ends and that of the president elect starts.
In the history of the American presidential election, this has recorded the highest number of voters turnout, courtesy of the about 75 million and 71 million votes garnered by Biden and Trump, respectively. Biden also went way beyond the mandatory 270 electoral collegiate votes required to clinch the race, hugging figures above 300.
In addition, it also threw up America’s first ever Female and Black Vice President in Harris Kamala, who has a Jamaican father and an Indian mother.
As far as this year’s election is concerned, that is where the beauty of the US democracy ends. Almost every naughty thing that could come out of a “Third world democratic process was on display, no thank to the garrulous, Trump, who has severed every working agreement with civility, decency, diplomacy and every other thing you would expect from a presidential material in America. Vulgarity was elevated to the status of officialdom.
Let’s take a look at the campaign and the comportment of the two major candidates representing the two major political parties – The Democrat and the Republican parties.
While the incumbent, Donald trump flew the flag of The Republican party, Joe Biden hoisted that of the Democrat.
Like every other campaign in the history of electioneering, it was not short of rhetorics. But on many occasions, Donald Trump went overboard, dishing out divisive, rather than unifying rhetorics; instilling fear, rather than inspiring hope in the minds of Americans. He dwelt more on what divides Americans, than what unites them.
He described his main challenger and the eventual winner, as the; “worst presidential candidate” America has ever had and therefore, stood no chance at victory. And as a riddance, he called him; “the Sleepy Joe”. It can’t get any worse than that, can it?
These are, apart from making some unfounded allegations, rooted only in fiction. Allegation that can’t be substantiated, were major features of the Real Estate mogul-turned politician’s utterances all through the process.
Vulgarity was not spared.
Even before the election, he was reported to have said that; he would not be able to guarantee a smooth transmission of power, in case he loses the election.
One should be pardoned for thinking, at a point, that it was a Presidential election in a Third World country, and not that of the ” Almighty America”.
While the election was still in progress and votes still being counted, the maverick President falsely claimed victory. Meanwhile he also threatened legal action against any result declared that runs contrary to his expectation – him being declared winner.
He foretold it that, the election would be rigged, thus preempting the outcome of the election and undermining the integrity of the process.
He even filed a case, seeking to stop the counting of (Mailed-in) votes, insinuating fraud in the process, as it was becoming clearer that his opponent, Biden was coasting to an unassailable victory, both in popular votes and in the electoral college.
Another beauty of the American democracy, however, manifested, in defiance of the inciteful rhetorics by Donald Trump; while insisting that he won’t quit, come January 20th, if Biden is declared the winner of the election, Americans remain calm, trusting the vibrancy of their institutions to take care of any infantile behaviour he might want to put up.
In case he wants to do a “Yahaya Djameh” or a “Laurent Gbagbo”, the US law is configured in such a way that, the Secret Service will stop obeying his commands, once it is 12 noon on the 20th of January, 2021. That explains what an analyst said that; if Trump refuses to leave office, by January 20th, the office will leave him”.
He is yet to concede defeat, despite the overwhelming results in his opponent’s favour; an attitude described as a syndrome of a Sore loser”. But that would not stop Biden from being inaugurated anyway, when the time comes.
That’s why they say; “all the ills of Democracy can only be corrected by more Democracy”.
Despite the above in-built mechanism of the American State to self-regulate, pockets of violence were still recorded in some places across the country between Friday and Saturday last week, in the aftermath of Biden’s announcement as the winner, Trump whips up rhetorics that appeal to raw emotions.
One wonders what could have happened, if these constitutional provisions were not in place to forestall a total descent into anarchy, because, Trump has been sounding like a punch-drunk pugilist, who does not mind, “pulling down the roof”, since he has nothing more to lose, after the election.
Many Americans who voted trump four years ago, when he contested against Hillary Clinton, saw this year’s election as an opportunity to remedy their wrong decision, so as not to extinguish the faith of the international community in everything the US stands for.
This is because, he has, in the last four years, torn into shreds, every agreement (multilateral and bilateral), painstakingly entered into by his predecessor; Barack Obama.
Do I need to mention domestic policies like the “Obama care” health package; a health safety net, targeted at the vulnerable?
By and large, the November 3rd, 2020 presidential election, which many see
as a sort of referendum on Trump’s approach to governance and how he handled the issue of Covid-19 pandemic which has infected no fewer than 9.4 million Americans, and killed not less than 233,000 of them, has thrown up, Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States of America.