The state of votes
Donald Trump: a push for democracy?
Jean-Baptiste Hubert|translated by: Sélina Colin
The real threat of an anti-democratic presidence
Nikita Alaverdyan| translated by: Nikita Alaverdyan
Jean-Baptiste Hubert | translated by: Sélina Colin | 2018. February 13. 18:28
It took us around one year to realize that the presidential election that had our entire planet shook – both by the denial of its result and its scale - wasn't just a simple rough patch or just a simple dream we could extract ourselves from once the morning came... It symbolized in reality the ascension to the world's first power top office of a lunatic character. However, couldn't his election be in fact a hidden gift for an increasingly fragile American democracy?
It only takes a comparison of Trump's promises and prowess to realize that his extreme program was nothing but a smoke screen aiming to gather around one true guru all the souls that got lost during the crisis and the recessions. Let's just take a look at his election's strong measures that is supposed to protect the USA's from the Mexican “invaders”: the infamous wall (that the Mexicans couldn't possibly think of bypassing…). Well, so far, this project only resumed itself to a few isolated tests conducted with six companies in the late October 2017 and the Congress is systematically refusing to pay. Second point of his campaign: the Obamacare reform. The latter didn’t even survive for more than a few hours after Trump’s arrival in the oval office. It is clear that even with a Republican Congress, it’s very difficult for Donald Trump to get through with his reforms. This affront is showcased mainly by the blocking of the emergency measure aiming to ban foreign nationals from 7 Muslim countries by a “simple” federal judge. Why be concerned by the upcoming of the next 4 years considering the forced stillness to which the President is condemned? Trump's unique victory is his tax reform that passed on the 20th of last December by 51 votes against 57 at the Senate and that aims to reduce the general tax rate from 35% to 21%. This particular victory was saluted by the president himself with a characteristic ton: "The results will speak for themselves: jobs, jobs, jobs!". But despite the attractivity of Trump’s promise of tax reduction, most Americans don’t support it as 55% are opposed to it according to CNN – the survey indicates that the latter concerns in reality mostly companies. Trump played his head with this reform and resorted to his old office director, John Kelly, “responsible for leading the efforts to re-establish the order in the White House et re-assure the Republicans”. Without this precious aid, the executive power would have faced real difficulties until the end of the year. Hence, a president lacking clear support, vision as well as a serious attitude, can't govern fully and becomes consequently nothing less but a president of the nothingness.
Looking at the issue through an optimistic lens, D. Trump’s presidency could be a real chance – an unexpected one nonetheless – to test the American democracy: if this impulsive and coarse figure would on single handedly manage to destabilize the entire American regime then all the concerns regarding it would be confirmed. However, the reality showes that although the media sphere has totally crumbled in front of this political alien, it isn’t entirely the case for the country’s institutions. Indeed, when seeing that the Congress – the President’s supposed ally – refused to grant him his reforms, hope comes back. Nevertheless, the system of the “checks and balances” will most certainly face challenges as the Congress and federal judges are acting as presidents since the President himself has proven that he can’t fulfill his duties. The latter are at the origin of laws (making John Kelly intervene in the last fiscal reform was the Republican’s idea and not the President’s). For now, the system holds on. Obamacare’s replacement initiative failure showcases that the USA can’t be managed as a simple company. Trump is no longer in his show “The Apprentice” where he exclusively dictated the rules. Because of his incapacity to persuade the institutions, the machinery of democraty has turned against him. However, senators and deputies such as Eliot Engel (Commission of Foreign Affairs) have joined the President’s side on the Israeli topic indicating that it is a way to “correct a decades-long indignity”. The democratic debate regarding this topic doesn’t limit itself to the USA however, since on the 30th of December the United Nations condemned the USA’s actions. Out of 193 participants, the vote was supported by 180 members. This shows firstly that the international community doesn’t get impressed by the American arrogance promising to “take names” of those having voted, and secondly that in the end, the President’s impulsivity didn’t prevent in any way the vote and debates. This is why Trump’s mandate could be essential to measure our institutions’ power and make us ask ourselves the right questions about our role in all of this.
We live in an increasingly globalized world. For decades, the USA’s President had the responsibility to assure global peace and security. Donald Trump doesn’t seem too keen on assuring it which is why the debate concerning his presidency isn’t just an American one but a global one. Donald Trump does nothing but what he wants. Reform after reform, failure after failure, he still persists. Einstein can help us understand this almost symptomatic stubbornness: “insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and excepting different results”. Let’s stop following his repetitive games and let’s free ourselves of his grip by starting thinking about tomorrow. Donald Trump was elected by the people. His legitimacy can’t be questioned (unless we think of the Russian case). And there’s nothing we can do about it. Let’s drop our denial and anger and let’s start analyzing what this election really brought to the world. A push for democracy? Yes. Even right after Trump was elected, movements supporting the oppressed rose up all over the world. Banners, posts, articles, interviews, tweets and the famous “Make our planet great again” slogan have trolled the President and his campaign throughout his presidency. Even demonstrations saw the light to defend the principles founding our modern democracy. As an example, immediately after the tenant of the White House showed his support for David Duke (an old KKK representative and Senate candidate), marches defending equality rose up in Louisiana. Incessantly wanting to shock with his out-of-this-world reforms, Trump makes us wonder whether he’s actually doing it all on purpose; maybe he’s doing it to remobilize our democratic spirit. This is the heart of the problem particularly. Having elected a man totally lacking common sense isn’t really a democratic tragedy. However, having not reacted to all of the warning signs regarding him is. Orsenna once said: “Nothing can be taken for granted and we shall always ensure, even in our rest”. The same applies for our democratic regime that we cherish so much. Counting on other people to save our own interests is one thing, complaining later about it is another thing. Us French citizens should take the USA as an example in these tough times where uncertainty reigns: in this uncertain climate we shall remain confident in our strong institutions and stay away from the extremes. I don’t know about you, but personally I don’t want to assist for another 3 years of this long theatrical performance that is taking place on the other side of the Ocean.
Nikita Alaverdyan | translated by: Nikita Alaverdyan | 2018. February 02. 14:12
Donald J. Trump was born in another world: his hard work, his perseverance but mostly his rich father quickly propelled him upwards in the American society. Jumping from a bumpy business career to a grandiloquent reality-tv show, Trump’s retirement project would quite obviously consist of running for American presidency. Battling bravely through the Clintons and the Bushes, the “lyin’ Ted’s” and the “little Marco’s”, relying on his anti-immigration policy, his tax reform and his big hands, he successfully lost the popular vote by over two and a half million voters to “crooked Hillary” and won the right to sit in the Oval Office.
With a one-year hindsight from this ridiculous circus-act, the president has proven himself to be not only incompetent, but also wholly dangerous to the very core of American democracy.
Very little in Trump’s campaign promises could conceivably be implemented: unsurprisingly, close to none were. Accomplishing a tax reform that will further enrich the wealthy, moving the American embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem with no regard whatsoever to international consensuses and withdrawing from the most advanced climate agreement in history are three boxes that Mr. Trump can tick with a clear conscience. The things that motivated his voters are however still congesting the to-do list of the president. The Muslim Ban was narrowed down to blocking arrivals from 6 Muslim-majority countries; the “Obamacare disaster” hasn’t been repealed and replaced; the 11 million illegal immigrants haven’t been deported; the U.S. did not withdraw from NATO. The thousand-mile long 30-feet high 18 billion-dollars border wall with Mexico is surprisingly not even close to seeing the light of day, regardless of the country that will pay for it. This shortened list of Trumps’ unkept campaign pledges is reflected in the never-ending list of disappointed voters, which entirely translates in the highest disapproval rating in post-war history. A simple English word defines what Trump has done to the American people: he has lied. Democracy rests on the trust a voter puts in a candidate he believes closest to his ideals; a candidate that vowed to fight the inertia and the paralysis of Washington cannot afford to let his voters down, becoming just another stagnant yet agitated policy-maker. This is Donald Trump’s first threat to democracy
Trying to comprehend Trump’s mental state of mind and complex psyche, one might be drawn towards saying that he might be a tad arrogant and pretentious. Self-esteem and confidence are crucial to any leader; they are dangerous when they turn into pretentiousness. Therefore, adversity and opposition are probably Trump’s worst nightmares. It is true that some “mainstream” and liberal-leaning media outlets haven’t been quite gentle with the president (CNN’s and NBC’s coverage of Trump’s first 100 days have been over 90 percent negative, according to a Harvard study); still, it is not acceptable to address them as the “enemy of the American people” and regularly provoke and taunt the people in the business, who are necessary to the development opinions and to inform citizens. In a much more serious issue, when American intelligence agencies investigated alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign team, the president unexpectedly fired FBI director James Comey, invoking hazy arguments. As revolting as it may seem, the worst emerged when Comey spoke about being implicitly drawn to drop the investigation by Mr. Trump. Commenting these plain facts is futile: Trump has methodically dedicated himself to destroying any hinderance that comes his way, as well as considering any normal political opponent as a foe that must be broken. This is Donald’s Trump second threat to democracy.
Donald Trump has proven that he cannot keep the word that got him to power. He cannot withstand any sort of opposition and has proven himself hostile even to most respected American institutions. But Trump did not, and will not, stop there. He has reached an unprecedented point in American history. He has soiled democracy in a way that could never be imagined in a free State.
Donald J. Trump has taken an alarming stance towards violence. And never mind the campaign trail, when he exhorted his supporters to “knock the crap out” of potential hecklers and not worrying about legal fees that he would pay, or when the Ku-Klux-Klan supported his candidacy without him ever strongly standing against it. As he entered office, many violent occurrences, such as attacks on abortion clinics, racially-motivated or gender-motivated aggressions have taken place, without Trump ever addressing them. This dangerous tendency peaked in the August events in Charlottesville; violent clashes between rallying white supremacist and counter-protestors resulted in severe injuries and death after a nationalist rammed a crowd with his car. The response of the president was immensely sluggish; for an unknown reason he stated that there was violence on “many sides”; it is only two days later that he deigned condemn the racism that motivated the murderer. In a democratic country, such behaviour is simply not tolerable, and that is Donald Trump’s third of many and certainly greatest threat to democracy.
Jean-Baptiste Hubert|translated by: Sélina Colin
Nikita Alaverdyan| translated by: Nikita Alaverdyan
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