Denying defeat, Trump presents fodder for world’s strongmen

WASHINGTON: The USA has lengthy championed democracy world wide, pushing persistently, if not all the time constantly, for leaders to surrender energy after they lose.
President Donald Trump is now establishing a brand new American mannequin — refusing to concede, making unsubstantiated claims of fraud and in search of the intervention of courts and political allies in hopes of reversing his defeat to Joe Biden.
Political figures and specialists interviewed in a number of nations worry that Trump’s blueprint can be eagerly embraced in fragile democracies, particularly in Africa, letting strongmen level to the world’s strongest nation in justifying their makes an attempt to cling to workplace.
“Donald Trump’s refusal to concede reinforces the view of our leaders in Africa that elections must be achieved in a means in order that they do not lose,” mentioned Mahamat Ahmat Alhabo, secretary basic of the opposition Occasion for Freedoms and Growth in Chad.
Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist at the College of Zimbabwe, mentioned that Trump was singing “candy music to autocratic rulers.”
“It is tragic. We’re used to that in Africa however when it occurs within the US we get shocked as a result of it is taking place in a centuries-old democracy,” Masunungure mentioned.
“It is a soiled lesson our leaders will benefit from and cite even within the long-term future after they lose and do not need to concede defeat.”
Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess legend and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, mentioned that Trump’s assault on the democratic course of will lead to “many comparable assaults in future elections, within the US and elsewhere.”
“Democracy discredited, Putin’s dream,” he wrote on Twitter.
Thomas Carothers, an knowledgeable on democracy promotion, famous that nations equivalent to Russia, China and Egypt hardly wanted ideas from Trump on easy methods to oppose aggressive elections.
However he mentioned the impact might be extra palpable in problematic democracies as leaders see how Trump can openly declare victory and discover some assist, regardless of Biden profitable almost six million extra votes and edging Trump out 306-232 within the state-by-state Electoral Faculty that determines US elections.
“They see the facility of that strategy, that even a society as educated and complicated in sure methods as the USA can fall sufferer to that form of massive lie,” mentioned Carothers, senior vice chairman for research on the Carnegie Endowment for Worldwide Research in Washington.
He drew a parallel to Trump’s denunciations of “faux information,” a time period now cited world wide by governments that need to muzzle the media.
Carothers mentioned nations the place Trump’s election challenges might present a mannequin embrace India, the world’s largest democracy which has lengthy had sturdy votes however the place right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been taking goal at civil society.
Carothers mentioned there might equally be an impact in Mexico, the place President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist populist, claimed fraud in two earlier dropping bids for workplace and stays one of many few world leaders, together with Putin, who has not congratulated Biden.
Extra not directly, right-wing leaders in European nations equivalent to Hungary and Poland might lose a supply of inspiration within the White Home.
Because the US vote, the State Division has congratulated winners of a number of elections elsewhere together with Moldova, whose Russian-backed president shortly conceded.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, requested at a combative information convention if Trump was hindering democracy efforts, referred to as the query “ridiculous” and mentioned that the USA takes time in analyzing all elections to see in the event that they “mirrored the desire of the individuals.”
US elections have typically been messy, most notoriously in 2000 when the Supreme Court docket let stand that George W. Bush received Florida by 537 votes, handing him the White Home over Al Gore.
In 1960, Republicans alleged irregularities in John F. Kennedy’s victory however candidate Richard Nixon didn’t advocate a recount, later writing that he might “consider no worse instance for nations overseas” than ideas that the White Home “might be stolen by thievery on the poll field.”
Piers Pigou, an knowledgeable on Southern Africa on the Worldwide Disaster Group, mentioned that US democracy “has not been held up for example of greatest follow” however mentioned Trump might have a ripple impact in a area the place many nations wouldn’t have clear procedures for transitions of energy.
However a number of observers mentioned that Trump’s problem might ship an reverse message — that, regardless of all the facility at his disposal, he’s nonetheless anticipated to depart workplace on January 20.
“Democracies’ power is their establishments,” mentioned Jean Gaspard Ntoutoume Ayi, a member of the Nationwide Union opposition get together in Gabon, the place one household has run the presidency for a half-century.
“Not like in African nations, American establishments will know easy methods to impose the desire of the American individuals on Trump’s craziness.”

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