Trump election victory! Why this turn of events?
Media today plays a critical role in political campaigning.24 hour news cycle and social media biases also contribute to an emotional pitch rather than facts and factual analysis of rival candidates’ intrinsic worth. This is called post-truth syndrome.
However this aspect of winning and losing elections is concerned, we in India needs to debate openly and strives for a transparent and open democratic structure. Now, what we see is that many critical truths are buried in silence for the benefit of all parties and sections of public opinion. This has to change.
Widely expected and predicted candidate was Hilary Clinton, the most articulate and sophisticated Vis a Vis Donald Trump, the most aggressive and most vituperative candidate who had no respect for the niceties of restraint as a powerful alternative to the Democratic candidate. In the ended everyone was shocked and surprised and silenced in the end!
How this has come about? This result in a democracy which is powerful and based on strict Constitutional safeguards.
Yes, there is a long history of democracy in the modern world. But today, in the wake of globalisation and mass migration and refugee exodus in Europe we have some new and unsuspected feature of democratic process emerging in our minds.
One the breakup of the European Union with the Brexit vote in UK. Now, Trump win.
There are new questions and new books. One book’s subtitle is: Why Elections do not produce responsive government (Princeton University).The gist of the new argument is that the latest US elections don’t give any clear guidance. As for the rest of the world and also in particular for Indian democracy, we can draw some conclusions nearer home. In some states, in particular, in TN we have seen how the Dravidian movement, the Dravidian parties that came to power in 1967 onwards have gone about electioneering with utterly irresponsible empty rhetoric.
First they raised partition of India along with the Pakistan demand came about in the 1930s. E.V.Ramasamy Periyar put forward a similar demand for Dravidastan! He even met Jinnah and at that time no one took much note. EVR originally aligned with the Justice party, one that wanted the British rule to continue. When Independence came in 1948 EVR called it a sad day!
The demand for separation, separatism as a political slogan had many resonances in many other countries too. Even now, there are separatist movements. There is even one such demand in California, within the USA itself. Also, the old and new demands for separatism within Europe too. This resonance finds echoes with the recent rise of Nationalist politics in France and in some other fringe groups. Some columnists recently have called attention to the 1947 Partition and the million dead and the 15 millions displaced and the latest Indian-Pakistan stand offs and this points to the secession existential dilemma.
The unceasing terrorism originating from Pakistan and the developments in the Western nations raises many questions. Questions for our future and the very future of democratic polity.
The very first day protests erupted across the USA against the election of Trump and 1,100 CEOs wrote to him to unite the United States. This has no precedent. Parliamentary Democracy we have derived from UK but the Constitutional Republic we have got from the US, says many. They cite Dr.B.R.Ambedkar’s long stay in the USA.
But the more recent fear is the rise of the Hindu right wing inside and also outside in the USA itself.
Once this mistaken view gains ground, it is not the illegal migrants of Muslims and Mexicans but also the Hindu groups that have to face the heat. Cumulatively, if the Trump ideology gains ground, to that extent the idea of the USA would face decline and this would impact India greatly.
Inside India, we have much to be concerned. The secessionist, right wing regional parties, not just in the South but also elsewhere could contribute to destabilize the polity.
Any political ideology, if it is couched in extreme terms, without any historical relevance, then, there is danger.
If that turned doesn’t destabilise the unity of the country, the tendency to resort to extremism of any sort, be it racial or linguistic or hero-worship of the leader, even in the face of so much democracy gains, we find the latest leader-worship phenomena in some parts of the country, not alone in one party but in many parties, there is much to worry about. Democracy is only a cover for undemocratic deteriorations.
Be it unaccounted election funds, from the corrupting corporate contributions, but also the mass-elected leaders themselves become so undemocratic and corrupt to the core that even other Constitutional institutions, the judiciary, bureaucracy and even the media, not to speak of the political party structures where there are no well-defined internal party elections and dynasties thrive, with so much unaccounted funds at their disposal there is real danger for the survival and unity of the polity. This surface democratic cover with undemocratic and even autocratic exercise of power is a reality in many countries even now. From Philippines to Cambodia to Thailand to other South East Asian countries to “Agony in Europe”.
The future of democracy certainly looks uncertain. We in India have much to worry about. Trump’s is only latest in a series of authoritarian and demagogic leaders who have received massive mandates from the electorate. Trump only added to this discomfort!
As we have seen in largest developments inside India, the very same institutions name anyone, be it governments or parties, media or black money hoarders, those who evaded taxes and ill-gotten wealth, the ones hiding in UK and elsewhere, are all guilty parties. We have seen how the media is manipulated, that has paid huge sums to the PR machines and so too the undisclosed donations to politicians by big corporate house.
So, there is no one-stop solution nor any one-time solution. Citizen vigilance is the only hope. So, beware of the critical issues before the country.