Why Trump’s Latest Failure is Not Enough to Save American Democracy

First, it was appointing ACB to the Supreme Court, then it was “voter fraud,” and now he wants to simply overturn the vote?

In case you haven't heard, Trump was pressuring lawmakers in the state of Michigan to choose electors that would vote for him. A reminder — Trump lost Michigan.

Now, he could have pulled this off with enough political pressure. But the lawmakers in Michigan have chosen to ignore Trump’s demands. Putting the failure in and of itself to one side, Trump’s attempt to override the American electorate has far greater consequences for American democracy.

Because I don't know what he’s going to try next, but one thing he’s made clear by now is that he isn't giving up. And I cannot overstate this enough — but Trump needs to lose every battle he’s fighting — and lose them badly.

Why? So that no one after him entertains the idea of trying to hold American democracy hostage.

And I say that for a good reason. Politics in the Third World kept becoming more violent, corrupt, and authoritarian because politician after politician established that there was more that they could get away with than they had first thought.

It’s about setting precedents for crimes against democracy that are bound to get worse with every administration. It’s when politicians realise that the public isn't up against them but against the machinery of the state. Take a moment and think about what this means — your government, using the power you gave them to work for you, is using it to work for themselves. This is not democratic. This is fraud. This is deceit. This is what you call a coup.

This is when days of true democracy are reserved for the history books. It’s when the electorate begins to feel powerless. Because all they can do is vote. But what are they supposed to do when the people who are supposed to accept their will with dignity and respect instead use the power of their office to overturn it?

I’ll tell you — there’s nothing they can do.

There’s a reason why people in developed countries have, despite being “democratic,” been ruled by tyrants. It’s because once they win, they forget all the promises they ever made and instead set out on a mission to plunder and subdue. In a split second, they go from presidents to monarchs. And all the people can do is sit and watch.

Because when the police are forced to do their dirty work for them, when judges are bought, when corruption is institutionalized, what can the average citizen do?

America isn't there yet. But make no mistake — Trump is trying his best to take it there.

History will remember the election of 2020 and the man who tried to use a democratic vote to turn his country into an autocracy. It will remember the endless gaslighting, the radicalising, and the violence. It will remember this as a time when American democracy was nearly put to the sword.

But more than anything, it will remember this to remind future generations of just how feeble their democracy is. If it has four legs to stand on, two of them are wobbling. And Trump has been trying his best to knock it over.

And you know why that’s important?

Because America took its democracy for granted in 2016, it voted in a wildcard — and it’s backfired. It voted in a man who, on the best of days, was a million miles away from being presidential. He was careless, didn't think before he spoke, and was happy with radicalising America if it meant he could become president. Do you honestly expect anyone to believe that this man was going to protect America’s democracy?

The Trump win in 2016 says one thing loud and clear — the American people thought their democracy was invincible. That should Trump turn out to be horrible; he could always be fired.

And unless America has a strong desire to live through this again, it can’t take its democracy for granted any longer. It needs to realise that even the beacon of democracy isn't impenetrable.

Because Trump will be going home. He isn't going to steal this now. The world is watching, as is the American electorate. Those state lawmakers that he was trying to get to overturn the results realised they have elections to win. By blatantly reversing a democratic vote in broad daylight, they would’ve been committing political suicide. This will become an issue of what America chooses to do at the ballot box the next time around. And the time after that.

Why? Because Trump has shown that his brand of politics works. He’s shown that fear, hate, and fascism are good enough to bag 73 million votes. And this election showed that it takes voting in historic numbers to beat that. This is all the incentive the power-hungry will ever need — an existing vote bank large enough to win and an opposition that might never show up like that again.

And if Americans vote these Trump-clones in, then they will have no one to blame for what happens to their democracy other than themselves.

Because nothing gives the corrupt and the authoritarian a mandate to rule as they please, like a second term in office, it’ll be the American people telling them, loud and clear, “we’ve seen what Trump had done, and we want you to know we’re okay with you doing it too.”

Is that really something you want to risk?

Because a normal second-term president would use another mandate to govern as political leverage to get both Houses on board with their policy initiatives. These dictators? Vote their ideologies in again, and they’re going to use that as a mandate to rule with impunity. That is when you see the institutionalization of corruption. That’s when the machinery of the state is reorganised to work for them — not you.

Giving the corrupt a second chance is when the nation acknowledges the path it’s heading down and gives the green light to continue going in that direction.

Trying to rebuild your democracy once you’ve gone down that road is hard — in some cases, nearly impossible.

So I hope the last four years have made you realise that politicians will not go out of their way to protect your voice and the sanctity of your vote. That job belongs to you. A key part of a democracy is voting in people who will protect that democracy. If you don't, then you are democratically sentencing your democracy to death.

And that’s why I said the next two elections are crucial for the survival of American democracy. The American people need to use those opportunities to “drain the swamp” that Trump is leaving behind. They need to make it clear, again and again, that they stand against fascism, gaslighting, and racism. After all, politicians are gunning for votes, and if they realise that the “Trump tactics” are no longer tolerable, they’ll adapt to what you really want.

But that’s never going to happen if you let your democracy get knocked over. You’re going to have to vote. Because when the future of a democracy falls into question, voting stands as the only way out. It’s how I’ve seen my country resurrect itself from the pits of authoritarianism. It’s how the people say they’ve had enough.

And be under no illusion, you’re going to have to say it. Because what’s the alternative? I’ll tell you — an America which has regressed to the point where you begin to hear the words: “The disaster you’re seeing here today all started with Donald Trump.”

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