An opinion article on the night before the first results of the US-election
I’ve been actively following US-politics since 2016, and during that time I also learned about the past of a country I once admired. From great deeds such as liberating Europe and my country from Nazi rule to misdeeds in countries like Iran (1952) which would later lead to the revolution in 1979.
However, today it is just about the election and the two candidates.
I think I don’t have to introduce anyone to Joe Biden and Donald Trump, they are well-known at this point. One for being the former Vice-President of Obama and the Democrat challenger, and the other being the incumbent President of the United States.
I’m not particularly a fan of Biden, since he merely reflects the status quo from 2008-2016. In comparison to the unpredictability and chaos of the Trump administration, as well as their horrendous record on environmental policies, it is an improvement though.
What I exactly mean? Here’s a list of 75 anti-environment policies (made by the Guardian):
Nature, a scientific magazine, also elaborates on it and how they view it.
To someone who holds science in high regard and is a staunch environmentalist, this alone is a reason why I don’t consider Donald Trump a good candidate. Not to mention his latest executive order which would jeopardize the independence of government scientists.
His disregard for science and public health measures also led to over 200,000 US-Americans dying due to Covid-19. Many of whom could have saved, if the president had either issued mandatory mask wearing in public places or by declaring it a patriotic duty to wear masks – perhaps both. In times like these, it is better to let scientists and public health experts handle it. This should never have become a political issue in the US.
Then there’s his admiration for authoritarian leaders like Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jung-Un II. It’s one thing to have good relationships with other leaders, but praising them or otherwise showing admiration for them as a leader of a country which is supposed to represent the „free world“, simply signals to these authoritarian leaders that the western democracies are weak and fragile. Moreover, Trump also fired countless government officials – or made them resign – when they disagreed too often with him (John Bolton shouldn’t have been an advisor in the first place, though, but this „special“ individual deserves his own little article). The mismanagement of the BLM-protests left the country also more divided, especially since Trump is blind in the right eye.
While he admired „strong“ leaders, he alienated old allies in Europe and reduced the softpower of the US by retreating from agreements like the Paris Climate Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal. The latter one led to escalation over escalation and worsened the relations between the US and Iran. In a real bad scenario, the bad relationship may also continue under a different administration.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture now.
Joe Biden, as I said earlier, is only the ticket back to 2008-2016. That’s certainly a change from the wild rollercoaster we had the previous four years under Trump, but everyone has to realize that this jo-jo effect in US politics cannot go on forever. Eventually, the constant back and forth would result in more frustration and political apathy. This, as more and more US-citizen realize, is a systematic problem and they have to solve it themselves. Outside help is always there for advice (e.g. Switzerland to reform democracy in the US).
There’s not much I can say about him, since he only was Vice-President. Only that it is a slight improvement overall, but definitely not someone I back if I had a more left-wing choice.
If Biden wins (!), however, I’ll watch his policies as closely as I did Trump’s. Just because there’s now a more polite administration, doesn’t mean that they don’t make mistakes or only try to cure symptoms instead of the illness. In fact, in case of a victory, the Biden-administration must be scrutinized thoroughly and constructively. Protests for change may have a greater potential to change the course of the new administration.
Since I have a job, I may review Biden’s presidency – if he wins – each weekend. Then I have enough time to scrutinize and criticize, and writing an article of course.
Who Do I Expect to Win?
I’m a pessimist, always have been. So the future looks dime to me, despite what the polls say. Voter suppression by the Republicans is one part, but also the legitimate possibility of the 10-87 chance from 538. We will see how it goes…
A Trump victory would most definitely result in an emboldened of the authoritarian right; and encourage politicians like Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil) and Viktor Orban (Hungary).
Countries like China, Russia and North Korea could interpret it as a signal of the weakness of western democracies, since Trump so openly attacks the election process, transparency, and calls press organizations which don’t report positively about him all the time „fake news“. A new wave of authoritarianism is going to follow, and only active participation and organization can effectively oppose and defeat it. If not done, then it will have disastrous consequences for our democracies.