Eyes On The US

THE US has voted for the election of its next president. And it is not an easy election. Its outcome will not be only about who won or lost but also about the ideological direction America will be taking in the next four years. Though Joe Biden is expected to win he doesn’t enjoy any clear lead over the incumbent. Trump and his allies have already made it known thst they will challenge the results of the election if he loses. So, unless Biden wins with a clear majority, Trump seems unlikely to go away quietly.

Import of shift in power in the US can’t be overemphasised for the world. Under president Trump American democracy has undergone a drastic turn to the right and an extreme fringe in the US politics has become the mainstream, something that once was thought to be unthinkable. The change has been even more drastic than it was in India. Here the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a very popular candidate. He had won BJP three successive terms in Gujarat. And his hardline Hindutva politics had already won him a significant number of admirers from across the country.

Trump earned this spurs by pandering to the basest prejudices of the white Americans. This made much of the world including a significant population of America apoplectic. To get a sense of what Trump as US president meant for US and the world can be gauged from his abusive campaign then and now.

In his just concluded first term Trump has uninhibitedly aired views that even the radical right in America has traditionally refrained from uttering. His hate against Muslims and non-whites has been in-your-face and unreserved. In power he went a long way to translate his campaign promises into action to stay true to his voters. And it is here that the problem started as it put on line the very idea of America conceived by its founders.

There’s now hope that Biden, in case he wins, will make a redeeming difference. He has already been the US Vice President during presidency of Barack Obama. He is expected to bring back Obama’s policies. More importantly, his presidency will go a long way to discourage what is called the “pandemic of authoritarianism” in the world. The US under him will again be expected to lead on human rights. And under Trump, on the other hand, it will be more of the same. But until the results are announced we can only keep our fingers crossed.

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