Trumpism Against Democracy

Dr. Md. Enamul Hoque

15 January 2021


The United States is now passing through an interesting period generating a lot of discussions and tensions unnoticed in the last two centuries. The House already voted Wednesday (13 January) to impeach President Donald for a second time for his role inciting last week's riot at the US Capitol. Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but acquitted by the Senate in February 2020 on impeachment charges. He is the first to be impeached twice in US democracy. While impeachment will not force Trump from office, the Senate is not preparing to bring the Senate back for a trial before January 19, 2021 meaning the trial won't begin until Trump is out of office and Biden has been sworn in.
More than 200 years ago the U.S. Capitol was breached and burned down for the first time by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812. But, on January 06, 2021 it has been attacked and occupied again, but this time by its own citizens. With this attack, the U.S. image is greatly impacted. It would take a considerable period of time for this damage to be fixed. Domestically, it will generate a new debate about the division and fault lines in American society.
Fear, terror, concern and shame were the words many people used to describe what happened at the U.S. Congress, where five people lost their lives last week. It is a day of shame for the US democracy. This was no ordinary protest; Joe Biden described it as an "insurrection" which has been covered by the U.S. media as a "coup attempt" by domestic terrorists and "Trump's barbarians".
Despite the US efforts to export democracy to many other countries, the civilian deaths at the heart of its democracy, and the threats against the members of the U.S. Congress were highly inappropriate and disgraceful. In addition to the U.S. media, former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush and many Republicans unsurprisingly deemed Trump responsible for these incidents.
During the Capitol building storm, it looked more like a madhouse. The American dream had all on a sudden been replaced by American carnage. The agitated group was trying to overturn the election results, disregarding the U.S. democracy. The Capitol police were not able to stop the protesters, help from the National Guard was urgently requested, but they arrived four or five hours later. This issue is still being debated because it is not clear if the delay was deliberately caused by the federal government. In the midst of huge tensions and criticism, Trump said there would be an orderly transition on Jan. 20.
Nobody could understand what was happening in the chaos, the protesters, who greatly outnumbered the police, did not hesitate to break into congressional offices and the general assembly. Can anybody imagine the most critical and secure building on U.S. soil, the Capitol building, intruded upon in conflict? Nobody could have ever thought this was possible.
We may believe that Trump's political career has been dealt a major blow by this incident, and he damaged his odds to win the 2024 presidential election. His party-men have also started to turn their backs on him. But in reality, Trump may probably retain his voter base with a new political movement. So, the philosophy that people call "Trumpism" may not disappear, but if Trump continues to deepen the polarization of the country, the Biden administration will certainly come down on Trump.
Many Americans still fear, what occurred at the Capitol could take place in other states as well. As we may recall, Trump demonstrators had stormed the Senate buildings in some states last year, though not in Wisconsin. In the upcoming days, Biden has a lot to undertake once he takes over. He can put an end to this chaos with iron hands, with support from the House of Representatives and the Democrat-majority Senate, and impose strict measures. The current chaos in the U.S. will also pose a huge challenge for Biden.
Whether we like him or not, the biggest loser of Jan. 6 was Trump. As these incidents were marked in U.S. history as the Capitol building storm, and Trump was alleged as the main person responsible for it, has certainly lost his legitimate political ground. As of now, people from his inner circle have already started to resign. We hope that we will not have any further chaos in the Capitol.
During the campaign period, the Biden camp accused Trump of being fascist and racist, Trump called the Democrats socialists and communists. Their election promises were not focused on how they would serve Americans in future or what they would do for the people when they were elected. They moved as far as to defame, attack, and insult their rival's supporters. When destroying the opponents becomes the ultimate goal, it is right to say democracy is on the edge of collapse.
Americans are now experiencing a mix of fear, shame and concern over the lack of remedies for white rage. Meanwhile, around the world, increasingly believe that democracy itself is at risk; and a superpower, promoting democracy globally, cannot put its own house in order. For now, around the world, people increasingly believe that a superpower, promoting democracy globally, cannot put its own house in order. It has to have been an embarrassing moment for the proud American policymakers who are addicted to preaching democracy to the world.
In future, if Donald Trump keeps up the fighting, only a darker future lays in store for the U.S. democracy. The US people face the unprecedented challenge of removing a sitting president, whose term will be up in a week, from the White House. Even though many believe that Trump's unsuccessful insurrection ended his political career, they still expect the authorities to make an example out of the U.S. president to discourage similar acts in the future.
Therefore, U.S. incoming President Joe Biden's policies over the next years will have an impact on the future of Western democracies no less significant than Trump's populism. The Biden administration has no alternative but to end Trump's political career and ambition, as the incoming president accuses his predecessor of launching an all-out attack on democracy. That's easier said than done though.  He needs to give effort to repair America's image in the eyes of the global public, he cannot make omelets without breaking eggs.

(Dr. Enamul is educational researcher and teacher educator. He is ex- professor of English.  Email: enamul.m@gmail.com)

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