Unless you’ve been living under a rock (in which case I envy you), you’ll be aware that the whole world has been transfixed by the American election. I barely got 2 hours sleep on election night, and I don’t even live in the US. In fact, I’ve been considering it the most important election of my life so far, as a win for Trump could have devastating implications for democracy worldwide, and see a decrease in the political power of the West.
While I’ve been writing this, the election has been called for Biden. But I was surprised, and frankly horrified, by how close it was. Trump has besmirched the office of the president in every way imaginable in the past 4 years, and yet even more voters wanted him this time.
The election turnout has been heralded as astonishing, being the largest turnout in history. Turnout of around 70%. That means 30% of the population still didn’t think that voting was worth there time. Here we see the major problem that plagues democracy, and allowed Trump to function the way he did while in the White House. Too many people are spectators in our current democracies, not enough are active participants.
This problem is particularly glaring in the US, where the political polarization often leads to judgement being clouded across the political spectrum. Voters are supposed to punish corrupt, inept or dangerous politicians at the ballot box, but this has not been the case for a long time. When voters intrinsically mistrust all politicians, and so turn a blind eye to the inner workings of the country, it allows for democracy to be threatened. Systems are perverted, corporate interests lobby harder, and the average citizen loses out – furthering the mistrust and so creating a vicious cycle.
Biden might have won this election (although there is no telling what Trump might pull), but the fight for democracy isn’t over. If one thing is clear from the result, it’s that there was no thorough rebuking of Trump. The problem is still festering, and next time we might not be so lucky to have the dangerous president be completely incompetent. Imagine what could have happened if Trump actually knew anything about how governing worked. We need to find a way to engage a greater chunk of the population to safeguard democracy, and we need to do it quickly.
Let me know your opinions on the matter. I love to talk politics, and it’s time we made it a less taboo subject.