De Amerikaanse verkiezingen komen eraan. In dat verband een blog over een mening van een van mijn classmates uit 1981. Eerst even ter verduidelijking, de achtergrond van deze groep:
Al eens eerder blogde ik over mijn jaar in Lausanne waar ik in 1981 voor een MBA studeerde. Met de groep studenten van zo’n vijfentwintig nationaliteiten vormen we nog steeds een hechte groep. Al bijna veertig jaar.
Inmiddels hebben we ook een what’sapp groep en daarin wordt van tijd tot tijd – in het Engels – heftig en soms tot vervelends toe over van alles gediscussieerd. Dit keer ging het over de verkiezingen in de VS. Een van de classmates beweerde dat Trump zo gek nog niet was, hij had immers veel van zijn verkiezingsbeloftes ingelost. Wat door anderen op zijn zachtst gezegd werd betwijfeld. Dit is wat ik ervan vind.
Lying and cheating
Also I disagree on Trump and his keeping election promises. What a mistake! Someone in the app-group said: “The Chinese are not paying higher tariffs, US consumers are; the wall along the Mexican border has not been built (luckily!) and the Mexicans have not paid for it”. Just a few examples. And then, keeping promises is not (the only thing) a president should do. He is to do the right presidential thing: building bridges in a divided country. Being presidential and not lying, cheating, insulting and being utterly disrespectful to not only his people/voters/ minorities including women and opponents, but also towards the democratic institutions, the checks and balances that are to keep a democracy on the right track.
Checks and balances
Well, Trump did otherwise, not surprisingly as we know by now: he systematically sacked the leaders of the independent government institutions and appointed his cronies. Cronies like Secretary of Justice Barr, who does Trumps dirty work. Another example: planning to appoint just before the election, a new Supreme Court member, a relatively young person that will stay on for decades. It is an appointment for life, after all. In the short term it may be beneficial to Trump staying on as president, see below. Thus, politically a smart move: using an outdated procedure for his own means and his hardcore followers. Building bridges also means putting on hold filling such an important position, until the newly elected Congress and president will have been installed.
Trump created an atmosphere in which he ridicules everything around him and across the world that dares to venture a different opinion. Including the free press. Fake news. And now the utmost democratic institution itself is under attack: the election. For month now he is questioning the outcome itself and alluding on him not leaving The White House voluntarily.
Yet, every nation gets the president it deserves. It is what in 2016 the American people voted for, albeit not by the popular vote: they voted this clown – indirectly – into office. So this is what the American people do: no change, no reform of its ‘ancient’ political system and institutions (and outdated amendments). Ancient and outdated: how can you possibly appoint Supreme Court members for life? this was okay when life expectance was up to the age of sixty/sixty-five. Appointed by a Senate that does not equally represent its people? (The state of Wyoming has some 550,000 inhabitants, California almost 40 million. Yet both states send two senators to Congress). Or still have an electoral college as if votes still go to Washington DC on horseback? Or a 2nd Amendment about guns made at a time when people were only carrying pistols and muskets. By the time people start having (semi) automatic weapons, any leader could see it is about time to adjust.
On a further undemocratic note, we see actions like the Republicans manipulating – to put it mildly – almost everything that is to be manipulated in this unadjusted system, like gerrymandering, trying to silence as many voters as possible or putting them into a minority position. The Republicans have found a way to bend the rules even in states with a large Democratic population. This is what you get. Well, not our problem, wouldn’t you say? The sad news is that this American system is of a big influence to the rest of the world, and yet the rest of the world cannot vote…
What will happen?
Trump will loose the election, both the popular vote and the electoral college. Yet he will stay on as president, questioning the outcome, having a couple of recounts done in swing states, he will go to court, then ultimately bringing the result before the Supreme Court in which his newly appointed crony tosses the balance. Republicans will appoint through the state Congress the electors in their favor, thus ignoring the outcome of the election in their states, putting it aside. Trump will encourage right wing organisations to indulge in violence. The result? An even more autocratic president, a further divided country, protests and riots in the streets with right wing groups armed to the teeth. A country on the brink of civil war…