Democracy in US under threat
Donald Trump does not want to be the president. He says he wants to be elected to the highest office in the United States, but his behavior, his rhetoric and his performance at the three debates indicate a much broader, more insidious agenda that doesn't require the presidency.
Trump presents himself a change agent to upset the status quo in American politics. And to do that, he seeks to destroy the Republican Party first and then plunge American democracy into chaos. He certainly is speaking to his base by threatening to jail Hillary Clinton if he is elected.
He argues that the election is “rigged” and he won’t accept the results if he loses. He has called for a wall to be built along the US-Mexico border and he has argued for a ban on Muslim immigrants from entering the country. This is the talk of a dictator.
His motives for undermining the Republican Party and threatening basic democratic principles are almost impossible to determine. But he has made it no secret that he sees projection of strength as everything in diplomacy and he points to Russian President Vladimir Putin as an example of a great leader.
By making the Republican Party irrelevant, he is leading the American election process to a one-party system, perhaps the most profound step in guaranteeing that the nation’s democracy will be severely compromised.
His reckless and amateurish campaign has virtually given Clinton the presidency. The only question is how much of a landslide she will have. Assuming that the Republican Party is so decimated by Trump’s campaign, it’s not unreasonable to consider that Clinton will be re-elected in 2020.
The question that Americans must consider is: Whether or not the Republican Party can repair the damage by 2024 to field a qualified and seasoned candidate to face the Democrats. But the Republican Party — specifically Congressional speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader — are responsible for the state of the party’s health today.
The Republican Party’s slide began in 2009 when Barack Obama took office and Republican representatives in the Senate and Congress refused to recognize his legitimacy to the office and waged an unrelenting racist campaign to block his agenda. Further, Republicans have made allegations for the past three decades of widespread vote fraud without evidence, ultimately paving the way for Trump to spread his “election rigging” charges. Now the chickens have come home to roost.
It’s not too much of a stretch to believe that the marginalization of the Republican Party will give the Democrats the potential to control the Senate and Congress for at least eight years, if not longer.
We have seen what happens when a single party controls the two houses without the checks and balances and the ability to compromise to pass bipartisan laws and a shared vision of what America should be. This means more legislation like JASTA (Justice Against Sponsored Terrorism Act), holding financial aid packages to the Third World countries, refusing to provide military personnel to NATO, restricting foreign government representatives’ access to a chosen few and establishing foreign policy that freezes out dissenters.
After listening to Donald Trump during the election campaign, most foreign leaders are alarmed at the prospect of him becoming president.
Foreign leaders have much more confidence in Clinton despite her hawkish foreign policy positions. The issue for Americans, however, is what happens to their country after Clinton leaves office. In what condition will the Republican Party be in four years or eight years from now?
The Democratic Party obviously will attempt to consolidate its power during the Clinton presidency, but it will morph into something darker, more dangerous without a viable opposition party.
The damage done to the democratic process by Trump is incalculable. Trump is inelegant and often inarticulate, but I don't believe him to be stupid. He clearly has established a campaign to ruin one political party and as a consequence caused damage to the American democracy. It’s not only America that will suffer the outcome, but the entire world.
• Sabria S. Jawhar is an assistant professor of Applied and Educational Linguistics Languages and Cultural Studies Department at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences National Guard Health Affairs.