Trump and America’s Democracy at a Crossroad by Caleb Onyeabor

Newsie Events: #Opinion By Caleb Onyeabor

Trump’s allegations are grave allegations. If he turns out to be right, it shows a lot about how messed up the American system is. If he turns out to be wrong, it shows a lot about how one man wants to undermine a democratic process to suit him. Coming from an American President, it becomes A manuscript for sit-tight syndrome in the rest of the world. On the other hand, if Trump was actually right about the rigging of his elections and the Democrats still managed to have their way, it will lay a foundation for the institutionalisation of electoral malpractice especially in third world countries. Whichever way it goes, the moral authority of Americans to interfere in the conduct of elections anywhere else has been dampened.

Trump is well within the law and his rights to go to court. There is nothing undemocratic about it. What is undemocratic is if he refuses to abide by the Court’s ultimate decision. The thinkers who developed the democratic system didn’t in any way suggest that all candidates should accept the outcome of elections. They knew that there will be disputed elections and dissatisfaction with the electoral process and so made provisions for the settlement of any electoral disputes that may arise and that provision is the COURT. If he wants to go to court, let him go to court. Going to court is part of the democratic process.

The last 4 years have been a turbulent one in American politics. The Democrats have harassed and tried every means to taint Trump’s legitimacy as president. In 2016, they claimed the elections were rigged by Russians and spent the last 4 years conducting investigations here and there to prove this. They attacked every policy of the President and even impeached him too. Trump on the other hand hasn’t been accommodating and pacifist. As he is attacked, he attacks back, setting a stage for the divisiveness that is at play in America today. All these put together with the controversial conduct of both parties during the campaigns makes all that is happening now expected.

Does Trump have a case? Yes. Is he right to go to court? Yes. If he loses in court, can he hold on to power, No?
Whoever wins at the end, will face a legitimacy crisis. Trump’s base isn’t ready to accept a Biden’s presidency neither a Biden base ready to accept a Trump presidency. The last time America was like this was in the years before the civil war here the republican party of Abraham Lincoln and those in northern America disagreed with the democratic party and those in southern America over the issue of slavery.

Hopefully, the situation is managed. If not, this is turning out to be a buildup to a major conflict in future.
However, there will be a need for electoral reforms in the United States. For instance, the credibility of state executives to manage elections has been hampered. The secretary of states in each states is a politician with political affiliations and interests too. Leaving a member of a political party to oversee elections that will determine the fate of candidates from different parties creates room for fraud. I wonder how America has conducted elections like this for so many years without much issues. Counting from this election, independent election managers not the secretary of states should man elections. Imagine when the INEC chairman belongs to PDP or APC ? This is among other changes that is needed.

Lastly, the only lesson to learn here is that, there is no perfect democracy. There is no perfect Political system. What is happening in America only goes to show that we are all “developing countries”.
America is still a banana republic.

Caleb Onyeabor is a Nigerian intellectual, an avid advocate for political justice, social justice, and economic justice. Author of Diary of a Messed Up country. Follow him on Twitter via

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